I would like to define a command that has a starred version and pass it to \fp_eval:n for some calculations. However, regardless of whether I use the starred or the regular version, I get the error when using the command inside \fp_eval:n:

! You can't use `\edef' after \the.
<argument> \cs_set_nopar:Npx 

Full example:

  \cs_new_eq:NN \fpeval \fp_eval:n


\fpeval{\nostar} % works fine

\fpeval{\withstar} % does not work
\fpeval{\withstar*} % does not work either


Because \fp_eval:n is from LaTeX3, I assumed that the best way to define the command is with \NewDocumentCommand from xparse. It also attempted to use \WithSuffix or \@ifstar, but no success.

It seems the same problem occurs if I let the command have an optional argument. Mandatory arguments work fine.

  • The s argument type prevents expansion as would [] do as well. Both are optional argument types. Neither \NewExpandableDocumentCommand nor \DeclareExpandableDocumentCommand won't work here as well, since it ends with an optional argument, which is not allowed for that type of macros – user31729 May 15 '17 at 8:43
  • By there way, there is xfp package, which does \fpeval for you ;-). I think, the only way to make this working, is to shift the \fpeval into \withstar, after the \IfBoolean test – user31729 May 15 '17 at 8:47
  • @ChristianHupfer Thanks for your reply. I declare commands for constants and want to use them in different calculations, so putting \fpeval into \withstar is not possible for me. I am surprised that this does not work, because so far I never experienced restrictions on where commands with optional arguments or stars can be used. Does this mean there is no chance to do what I would like, even when using a different way than \NewDocumentCommand to declare my command? Or somehow forcing expansion of the arguments? If there is no way, maybe this should be an answer? – Philipp Wendler May 15 '17 at 8:55
  • I know of now way, but this does not mean that there's none! Perhaps you have to use another approach instead of using * - commands – user31729 May 15 '17 at 9:01
  • You can make a command with a *-variant expandable only if it also has a trailing mandatory argument: \NewExpandableDocumentCommand{\withstar}{sm}{\IfBooleanTF{#1}{2}{3}} and call it as \fpeval{\withstar{}} or \fpeval{\withstar*{}}. Just the * cannot work, because in this case LaTeX has to perform assignments in order to peek at the next token. – egreg May 15 '17 at 9:38

Commands with a *-variant cannot, in general, work in an expansion context, which is required by \fp_eval:n.

The problem is that the macro has to look forward in order to see if a * follows and the only safe way is to do a peek with \futurelet which then makes the construction not fully expandable. This affects \@ifstar, \WithSuffix and \NewDocumentCommand.

There is a workaround with xparse, but it requires the macro have a trailing mandatory argument. After


you can call


Complete example; note that xfp takes care of defining \fpeval.





\fpeval{\nostar{}} % works fine

\fpeval{\withstar{}} % works fine

\fpeval{\withstar*{}} % works fine


enter image description here

I also defined \star with a mandatory argument for uniformity. Think to it as C.

  • It seems etextools manages to do it, somehow (with \FE@ifstar)? (Sadly, the package seems to be incompatible with (e.g.) BibLaTeX…) – Magnus Lie Hetland Apr 17 '19 at 19:07
  • @MagnusLieHetland etextools is not only incompatible with biblatex. – egreg Apr 17 '19 at 19:48

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