10

I am trying to define tabular rows using a macro which shall perform an conditional definition of the tabular row according to a given parameter. Please consider the following MWE:

\documentclass{article}

\newcommand{\test}[3]{
    \ifnum\numexpr#1\relax=0
        #2 & %#3
    \else
        #2 & #3
    \fi
}

\begin{document}

    \begin{tabular}{ll}
        \test{0}{col1-1}{col1-2} \\
        \test{1}{col2-1}{col2-2} \\
    \end{tabular}

\end{document}

Removing the comment in the fifth line (#2 & %#3#2 & #3) leads to the error message Incomplete \ifnum; all text was ignored after line 14. Even after hours of searching the web I am not able to solve this issue.

What am I doing wrong?

Edit

@David Carlisle, @egreg, and @Francis: Thank you all very much for your answers. I tried all of your examples, and they all solve my issue. Although I think that the solution of @egreg is the formally accurate way to go, I consider the solution of @David Carlisle to be more elegant for my use case just for the sake of simplicity and brevity, while considering the answer of @Francis as a workaround. So I decided to mark the answer of @David Carlisle as the accepted one, without wanting to neglect the other answers.

Thank you very much for your help!

3 Answers 3

11

You can skip & inside the conditional, you just have to hide it a bit.

enter image description here

\documentclass{article}

\newcommand{\test}[3]{%
    \ifnum\numexpr#1\relax=0
        AA#2 \uppercase{&} BB#3
    \else
        CC#2 \uppercase{&} DD#3
    \fi
}

\begin{document}

    \begin{tabular}{l|l}
        \test{0}{col1-1}{col1-2} \\
        \test{1}{col2-1}{col2-2} \\
    \end{tabular}

\end{document}
2
  • What about \cr (or \\)?
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 20:29
  • @egreg \cr you can use the same trick and \\ is Ok anyway as it's not magic Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 20:31
8

You can't start a conditional in a table cell and end it in another, because TeX inserts an inaccessible token that signals the end of a cell and which is not allowed in text skipped in a conditional.

The usual trick is to do all the conditional and then execute one of the two codes:

\documentclass{article}

\makeatletter
\newcommand{\test}[3]{%
  \ifnum\numexpr#1\relax=0
    \expandafter\@firstoftwo
  \else
    \expandafter\@secondoftwo
  \fi
  {#2 & }
  {#2 & #3}
}
\makeatother

\begin{document}

\begin{tabular}{ll}
  \test{0}{col1-1}{col1-2} \\
  \test{1}{col2-1}{col2-2} \\
\end{tabular}

\end{document}

See What do \@firstoftwo and \@secondoftwo do? for more information.

1
  • Are there more information about how this token works? Maybe in Tex by Topic?
    – Francis
    Commented Sep 2, 2013 at 20:19
4

In tabular environment & cannot be skipped, so when your condition is true LaTeX will do the following: it scans #2 & #3, then when it encounter \else the expansion stops, however, when the second & is met the tabular environment starts expansion again, so the output becomes #2 & #3 & #3. It can be fix by building new control sequence, for example:

\documentclass{article}
\newcommand{\testa}[2]{#1 & #2}
\newcommand{\testb}[2]{#1 & #2}
\newcommand{\test}[3]{
    \ifnum\numexpr#1\relax=0
        \testa{#2}{#3}
    \else
        \testb{#2}{#3}
    \fi
}

\begin{document}

    \begin{tabular}{ll}
        \test{0}{A}{B} \\
        \test{1}{B}{A} \\
    \end{tabular}

\end{document}

gives you:

enter image description here

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