I've got:


in a class file to make setting the command cleaner in the document itself.

This all works if the document contains:

\test{some content}

and outputs 'some content' when \test is used in the document.

But when I try to set \test to a new value with

\test{some other content} 

later, it seems to just output the value of \test and then 'some other content'.

How do I stop LaTeX expanding the \test and actually calling the \renewcommand to update the value?

  • 2
    You are using \test in two separate ways. The first time it defines it for future use. Thereafter, it uses the future-use definition for output. It would make more sense to have two commands: \newcommand{\settest}[1]{\renewcommand{\test}{#1}} to define (and redefine) it and \test to use it. In this case, you would need an initial \def\test{} definition, so that the \renewcommand would not choke. – Steven B. Segletes Apr 26 '17 at 14:26

The first usage of \test will redefine \test to a command without argument, that just outputs the argument of the first call. So your suggestion will not work. You have to use something like:


Then you can use

\settest{some content}
\test, \test, \test% shows "some contents" three times
\settest{some other content}
\test, \test% shows "some other contents" two times

You could use an optional argument, e.g., using xparse to distinguish between storing an argument and output of an argument:



  Define: \test[some content]

  Show: \test, \test

  Define: \test[some other contents]

  Show: \test, \test.

But this would be against the principle that an optional argument should only modify the default behaviour of a command and not change it into a complete other command. So I would not recommend to do this.

  • The first use of \test{some content} will correctly set and keep the value for multiple further uses of \test, i.e. \newcommand{\test}[1]{\renewcommand{\test}{#1}} \test{test}\test\test\test will output testtesttest. It just doesn't redefine the value of \test when \test{new value} is used. – Otis Apr 26 '17 at 14:33
  • @Otis This is exactly what I said. – Schweinebacke Apr 26 '17 at 14:36
  • "The first usage of \test will redefine \test to a command without argument" doesn't this imply that a second use of just \test will no longer store the value? Sorry if I'm misunderstanding. – Otis Apr 26 '17 at 14:38

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