I'm fairly new to LaTeX and I'm struggling with something apparently simple, but for which I can't find a fair solution. The problem (simplified) is as follows (please take care terms used may not have the traditional meaning in LaTeX):

I need to references to files (many) throughout a text. As example, the files: "C:/Work/this_file1.c", "C:/MoreWork/this_file1.c" and "D:/MoreWork/another_file2.h".

So, now I would like to create an "alias" to each directory and each name file so I can reference them. A "pseudocode" could be:

% Definition
\alias \c_dir = C:/Work/
\alias \d_dir = D:/MoreWork/
\alias \file1 = this_file1.c
\alias \file2 = another_file2.h

% Reference in text
\c_dir\file1    % For referencing C:/Work/this_file1.c
\d_dir\file1    % For referencing D:/MoreWork/this_file1.c
\c_dir\file2    % For referencing C:/Work/another_file2.h

My first approach was using \newcommand, but that caused numerous problems due to naming limitations. (I also tried other methods like pgfkeys, but it always gets stuck somewhere!)

Can you suggest a method?

  • just use \newcommand while just using letters for the name. – David Carlisle Nov 15 '16 at 14:13
  • Welcome to TeX.SX. Dont forget to mark a solution. Very good first question by the way. Very easy to understand, clear expectation. – MaestroGlanz Nov 15 '16 at 14:46

For more flexible alias names, you can do it like this. In the examples I removed the underscore; depending on the intended usage you may want to escape them (\_) or not (_).

\newcommand\alias[2]{\expandafter\def\csname alias:#1\endcsname{#2}}
\newcommand\A[1]{\csname alias:#1\endcsname}





As suggested by @MaestroGlanz, the commands \alias and \A can be defined more compactly using the package etoolbox:


Because mentioned in the original question, here a pgfkeys solution (though I'm not aware of any advantage):


The result of the sample document in all versions:

enter image description here

  • You should add a version with \csdef from the etoolbox. This is more understandable for a rookie. – MaestroGlanz Nov 15 '16 at 14:45
  • @MaestroGlanz Thanks for the suggestion, added. – gernot Nov 15 '16 at 14:56

You can just use \newcommand, so long as the command names obey tex rules (consist of letters, essentially).

% Definition

% Reference in text
\cdir\fileA    % For referencing C:/Work/this_file1.c
\ddir\fileA    % For referencing D:/MoreWork/this_file1.c
\cdir\fileB    % For referencing C:/Work/another_file2.h

Thank for your replies... that were quite useful... and made me go a little further.

First, the initial question is not as clear as should be, so a more 'real' example should do the trick:

In the LaTeX document I need to "include" parts of external files (typically software source code). The source files need to be copied to a temporary location and (Important) get a temporary name (something like temp1.tmp, temp2.tmp... and so on). [Note: how the copy is made is of no concern... just that the paths and filenames must be tracked.]

So, below I have the solution that I'm using. Just sharing...


    % In here I pass the source and destination file parameters
    srcDir: #1; srcFile: #2; dstDir: #3; dstFile: #4    

    %I Now use the parameters to create a string to store in a just-defined key


    % This should "account" as the first file copied... to temp0.tmp    

    % This should "account" as the SECOND file copied... to temp1.tmp   

    % Now I have access to the full string... and may use string manipulation


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