As mentioned in Which symbols need to be escaped in ConTeXt?, one can type commands, such as \textdollar to display symbols in a document. In some situations, using such commands seems advantageous, for instance, in allowing one to distinguishing content from code and for allowing one to make consistent, document-wide changes to symbols which should appear as text, but not to those symbols being used in ConTeXt and Lua code. Where can I find a comprehensive list of text commands which display symbols in Unicode using the currently selected font?

1 Answer 1


The definitive guide is char-def.lua file in the distribution. It contains a table of all(?) unicode symbols and the ConTeXt macro for them (grep for contextname). It also contains the math macro name and the math class for symbols, where relevant.

Just find the unicode slot for the symbol you are looking for and search for it in char-def.lua. If you find a symbol name is missing (the table is not complete yet), write to the mailing list and it will be added in the list.

  • What happens if the symbols is listed, but there is no line for contextname? Are there alternative ways to type the character, such as typing 0x005D?
    – Village
    Apr 17, 2012 at 5:01
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    In that case, there is no ConTeXt macro for them. For a few symbols, additional \letter.... mappings are defined in catc-sys.mkiv. For Lua, few additional lualetter... mappings are defined in luat-ini.mkiv. In the worst case, you can always define your own mappings: \xdef\letterlbrace{[}, etc.
    – Aditya
    Apr 17, 2012 at 5:22
  • If you think that there should be a macro corresponding to a certain symbol because that macro exists in LaTeX/AMS/etc, write to the context mailing list.
    – Aditya
    Apr 17, 2012 at 5:23
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    Assuming that you use an unicode encoded open type font you should be able to insert a char with ` ^^^^005d ` Apr 17, 2012 at 7:36
  • If I define my own mappings, e.g. with \xdef\letterlbrace{[} will the same spacing rules which are given to that symbol be applied?
    – Village
    Apr 20, 2012 at 23:46

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