Many symbols of the ASCII character set are assigned some special role in TeX (e.g. &, %, …). And many are also assigned a single-symbol macro (e.g. \%, \,, …). I was wondering whether a list of those non-letter and non-digit ASCII symbols exists, for which a macro exists.

Naturally, I could type them all out in a document, but something tells me that that will turn into more work than expected because it could generate a large number of errors (undefined control sequence). I was also unable to find such a list either here on TeX.SE or elsewhere.

Bonus points for including those symbols from the Latin-1 extension (excluding all diacritic-modified letters).

Because I realise that packages can (and will) define practically everything, there is no need to consider any when putting together this list. If you want to add what a few common packages do with certain symbols, feel free.


2 Answers 2


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0: \string\^^@=\meaning\^^@\par
\ifcsname a\endcsname
\expandafter\string\csname a\endcsname=%
\expandafter\meaning\csname a\endcsname\par
\advance\count0 1

  • 1
    +1 for the generated list. Also it was new to me, that the uppercase Greek letter psi is an ASCII letter at position 9 ;-) Nov 11, 2016 at 17:58
  • @HeikoOberdiek yes all the uppercase greek is squeezed into the control character range in OT1 (Gamma at position 0 used to break some pdf readers:-) Nov 11, 2016 at 18:00

Translation of David's list:

  • 9/\^^I (horizontal tabulator): explicit space as \␣
  • 13/\^^M (carriage return): explicit space as \␣
  • 32/\␣ (backslash, space): set an explicit space
  • 33/\!: a negative thin space in math mode
  • 34/\": diaeresis accent in text mode
  • 35/\#: hash sign in text mode
  • 36/\$: dollar in text or math mode
  • 37/\%: percent sign in text mode
  • 38/\&: ampersand in text mode
  • 39/\': acute accent in text mode
  • 40/\(: begin inline math
  • 41/\): end inline math
  • 42/\*: a line break point between factors of a product; if there is a line break, then the previous line ends with a thin space followed by a multiplication sign (×).
  • 44/\,: thin space in math mode
  • 45/\-: explicit hyphenation point with hyphen if hyphenated and without otherwise
  • 46/\.: dot accent in text mode
  • 47/\/: space for italic correction
  • 58/\:: medium space in math mode
  • 59/\;: thick space in math mode
  • 61/\=: macron accent in text mode, or in environment tabbing: set tabulator
  • 62/\>: medium space in math, or in environment tabbing: advance to next tabulator stop
  • 64/\@: sets the space factor to 1000, typical usage is after abbreviation periods following lowercase letters, e.g.: Mr.\@ John Doe
  • 91/\[: begin unnumbered display math
  • 92/\\: line end/new line
  • 93/\]: end unnumbered display math
  • 94/\^: circumflex accent in text mode
  • 95/\_: underscore in math and text mode
  • 96/\`: grave accent in text mode
  • 123/\{: left curly brace in math mode
  • 124/\|: vertical line as delimiter in math mode
  • 125/\}: right curly brace in math mode
  • 126/\~: tilde accent in text mode

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