I have a .csv-file, which I want to make into a table using the datatool-package. The .csv-file ist structured like


where several lines are grouped together and only the first in each group contains entries for foo and bar, the rest only for foobar. The entries may contain math.

I tried to check for the first line in a group with \ifdefempty from etoolbox-package and printing out \hline, if the entry for bar isn't empty, but this yields an error message.




%   \ifdefempty{\bar}{}{\hline}%



The testbase.csv looks like this

17,barbar,bar 1
,,bar 234
23,ba ba ba,\(a^2+b^2=c^2\)

If I compile like this, I get no errors, but if I uncomment the commented line, I get misplaced \noalin and misplaced \omit errors.

If I replace longtabu by tabu (and remove the then undefined \endhead), I get even more errors.

How can I make this work the way I want?

  • Have you tried changing the order (hline after linebreak)?
    – TeXnician
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 15:05
  • There is no \linebreak in the code. Only `\` and this ends previous lines of the table.
    – Toscho
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 15:07
  • Yeah, and in a table hline as to be after \\.
    – TeXnician
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 15:08
  • So I asked, how to determine, if the previous line has ended over here ( tex.stackexchange.com/questions/378349/… ) and got the command \crcr as a result, that behaves like \cr except if there was \cr before, in which case, it does nothing. But this doesn't work here, as expected: If added before the \hline in the commented line, it adds an empty line. So the \ifdefempty seems to add something, so that \hline breaks, because it's not directly after newline and \crcr is like \cr, because it's not directly after \cr.
    – Toscho
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 18:04
  • @Toscho: Is this the output you're after - image? A horizontal line \hline to separate every \bar case - code. Note the use of \DTLiffirstrow.
    – Werner
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 18:14

1 Answer 1


Your error is pretty simple. You try to place a \hline without having the previous line ended. That won't work (with or without loop). Try


and you'll see that it compiles to


Probably you'll say that this is not what you want. I know, but your check does not work for outputting a hline before. You would have to ensure that the previous line ends with something like \\.

  • But with my code, I'm sure, that there is a \\ before that line: The head ends with such a \\ , and every line in the loop ends with such a \\ .
    – Toscho
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 17:28

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