I'm sure this is very easy, but searching the internet I came up with nothing, and reading the TeXbook, I learned so much other stuff that I forgot what I was originally looking for ;-)

So, I just want to set the value of a counter to the difference of the values of two other counters in plain TeX, like this:


Only, this doesn't work, ending up with "missing number, treated as zero"...


4 Answers 4

  • That was extremely fast!! I knew it was easy... Thanks! Sorry, can't upvote due to low reputation.
    – Duke
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 11:59

That would be

  • I'll accept David Carlisle's answer as it was a little faster, but thanks anyway!
    – Duke
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 12:00

For the case that e-TeX is available (\numexpr):


Since the examples given here are no MWE, I wasn't really able to test them. So, here is another code (but a MWE) that works as well:





\noindent %just for a nicer output...
1st Counter: \theFirstCounter\\
2nd Counter: \theSecondCounter\\
1st minus 2nd: \theFirstMinusSecondCounter


(based upon an answer to this related question about adding numbers)

  • 1
    The question was about plain TeX, not LaTeX. Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 23:05
  • O, yeah, now that you mention it... I guess I didn't realize this since I was focusing too much on solving my problem (with LaTeX)...
    – Prof.Chaos
    Commented Jan 26, 2019 at 23:28

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