Q: How can I best search the web for exact LaTeX commands (e.g., \show as opposed to show)?

It appears that Google will not allow us to escape the \ character. So, searches for \show are interpreted as show. Needless to say, results would be tremendously more helpful if the search were interpreted as the former. (note: "\show" doesn't help either)

Q: Has anyone had success searching LaTeX commands using other search engine? More generally, does anyone know of search engines that are particularly well-suited for searching non-standard characters?

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    Related are this question, this question, this question. – Lev Bishop Feb 24 '11 at 1:21
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    @Lev: Thanks for providing those links. It would be even more helpful if you would put the question titles in the links. That way readers will know what the links are about. – Matthew Leingang Feb 24 '11 at 2:03
  • @Matthew: It's too late to edit the comment now, but you can see the titles in the "Linked" section on the right :) – Lev Bishop Feb 24 '11 at 4:31
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    Note that \show is a TeX primitive defined by the underlying TeX engine itself and not by any package (or LaTeX for that matter). So it is not a good example for search LaTeX commands. – Martin Scharrer Feb 24 '11 at 7:42
  • You can download a bunch of LaTeX files and search them yourself, like in github.com/amacfie/mathtext – Andrew Sep 2 '20 at 15:54

Google code search will let you search by regular expression and, if you like, restrict your search to TeX/LaTeX source files only.

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    this is very useful. I never knew it existed. In my case, \\show\\ did the trick. The problem that remains: Google Code Search searches code and not general websites. The purpose of my search is to find help on the command \show. The discussions from general websites are more likely to provide this than code in which I find occurrences of \show. – lowndrul Feb 24 '11 at 2:12
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    People are probably already aware of this by now, but just for completeness: google.com/codesearch, for some time now, shows "Sadly, this service has been shut down." – sdaau Jun 20 '12 at 1:33

Regarding your question about searching LaTeX using other search engines: the LaTeX search engine of Springer lets you search for commands and even complex expressions within archived LaTeX source code. For example, it has been useful to find out where the symbol \between has been used.

  • Bookmarked! That is so cool and useful. – lowndrul Feb 24 '11 at 16:49
  • Well, useful for finding instances of a particular macro being used. Not so useful for finding correct uses of that macro. It is truly a great source of examples of how NOT to do stuff in (La)TeX. IMHO, that site really needs a gigantic disclaimer saying "Don't do this to your own documents". If the snippets were only wrong in the "not optimal" sense, it might be useful, but sadly, that is not the case. – Villemoes Feb 24 '11 at 22:49

My standard search phrase is "tex latex <cmd>." For instance, googling "tex latex show" leads me to a the "ltxcmds" page from the UK TeX FAQ.

  • latex show macro also seems to find good results – Mortimer Feb 24 '11 at 9:04

You can use this site: http://detexify.kirelabs.org/classify.html

This site is really handy as you can just draw the symbol and it guesses perfectly.

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    Welcome, doesn't really answer the question of how to find information on \show and other commands. – Johannes_B Dec 4 '15 at 8:35
  • It answers the later part of the question. – Stefan Kottwitz Dec 4 '15 at 9:11
  • @StefanKottwitz No it doesn't, because that part asks for how to search for non-standard characters, not how to draw them. – Sverre Dec 4 '15 at 11:02
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    @Sverre: Not how to draw them. But it answers "searching LaTeX commands ... for ... non-standard characters", because in DeTeXify you paint something to search for a command and DeTeXify outputs the LaTeX command for the symbol / character. It's a different approach to text search, but nevertheless a search engine for LaTeX commands. – Stefan Kottwitz Dec 4 '15 at 16:08

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