I am trying to create a LaTeX command that will allow me to insert pre-defined tables with a minimum of fuss. This will also allow me to change the overall format of tables (e.g. caption above or below) globally, without having to modify each instance.

Ideally, I am thinking something along the lines of \includetable{label}{caption}, where label corresponds to the float's label (for linking purposes), and caption corresponds to the caption displayed above (or below) the table. I would like to use label for the filename also, e.g. the table contents would be defined in label.tex.

The problem I have is that I use colons in my labels to distinguish tables, figures, and sections in a consistent manner. For example, a table relating to a structure's mass budget would have a label like t:structure:mass; in Windows, I cannot have colons in filenames, so I would like the function \includetable to replace colons with hyphens when calling \input.

The closest thing I've found on Stack Overflow is https://stackoverflow.com/questions/95824/replace-a-character-with-a-string-in-latex, but I can't get this to work with colons instead of commas. Suggestions?


2 Answers 2


Some variations are possible. One can think, for example, to a key-value syntax for deciding the position of the caption and for providing a short caption.

  • The package is named xstring without the s. Jun 27, 2012 at 13:00

To be compiled with luaTeX.


  10 & 20 \\
  20 & 40

        local s, _ = string.gsub("#1",":","-")


\includetable{t:mysection:mytable}{My table}


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