Most of the following text you could probably skip. I just put it down there to show my effort.

What does it do? Pretty sure I understand this already...

In the LaTeX kernel, the generic heading code \@startsection eventually decides whether or not to typeset a number (aside from the asterisk character choice). A choice is made by comparing the value of the register/counter \c@secnumdepth to the value of the second parameter (#2). A number box is typeset if #2 is greater than the \c@secnumdepth (default 2).

\@svsec is the box that holds the formatted register value. I would expect it to have been named \@secnumbox or something more semantically associated to its purpose.

  • Why is this not the case?
  • What is/was the logic behind the name?

The thing either becomes

\let\@svsec\@empty % hide number


\protected@edef\@svsec{\@seccntformat{#1}\relax} % show number
  • 2
    "SaVe SECtion"?? Maybe because if you are deeper than the seccnum-depth, it doesn't save it. A pure SWAG disclaimer applies. Jun 6, 2018 at 9:58
  • 2
    I always assumed the v was for value and the sec was for section and the @ was for luck which just leaves the first s about which I haven't a clue. You could ask Leslie but I doubt he'll remember after all this time:-) Jun 6, 2018 at 13:05
  • 1
    @DavidCarlisle Haha. +1 @ for luck. Jun 6, 2018 at 13:09

1 Answer 1


For the time being and to get this question closed up, I'm gonna go with

Lucky Save Value Section

Leslie, please forgive me if I'm wrong.

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