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I've got a document that needs diacritics in a tabbing environment, so I used the Tabbing (with a capital T) package because that's what it's for. However, when I include the babel package option 'spanish', I get an error:

! Package Tabbing Error: Bad argument > for Tabbing specification.

This is unfortunate, because including Spanish in tabbing environments is one of the reasons I need to use the Tabbing package. The Tabbing package documentation offers no guidance.

Here's a minimal working example:

% MWE

\documentclass{article}

% The order of the \usepackage commands makes no difference.
\usepackage{Tabbing}
\usepackage[%
  % spanish,% Uncomment this line to reproduce the error.
  UKenglish,
]{babel}

\begin{document}
  \begin{Tabbing}
    fillerfillerfillerfill \TAB= fillerfillerfillerfill \TAB= fillerfillerfillerfill \kill
    row 1, col 1 \TAB> row 1, col 2 \TAB> row 1, col 3 \\
    row 2, col 1 \TAB> row 2, col 2 \TAB> row 2, col 3 \\
  \end{Tabbing}
\end{document}

I managed to work around this by creating a local copy of Tabbing.sty and adding an alternative to \TAB>, \TAB~, which does work:

% Tabbing.sty
…
\def\TAB##1{
        \ifx ##1~\@rtab\else% I added this line to mimic the next line
        \ifx ##1>\@rtab\else
        \ifx ##1<\@ltab\else
        \ifx ##1=\@settab\else
        \ifx ##1+\@tabplus\else
        \ifx ##1-\@tabminus\else
        \ifx ##1`\@tabrj\else
        \ifx ##1'\@tablab\else
                     \PackageError{Tabbing}%
                     {Bad argument ##1 for Tabbing specification}% This is the source of the error I get.
        \fi\fi\fi\fi\fi\fi\fi}
…

Obviously, this isn't ideal. Has anyone seen this before? Is there a better workaround – or even a fix – than the one I have in place?


I tried to use 'Tabbing' as a tag, but it was changed to 'tabbing', which is as relevant as I can make it: I don't have enough reputation points to create a new 'tabbing-with-a-capital-T'-type tag.

  • Do you really need that package? It is from 1999 and tries to solve a problem of that time. I haven't use the accent commands for years, I would simply write è and é and ü. – Ulrike Fischer Feb 27 at 16:56
  • as Ulrike says you can simply use é if you really want to use an accent command, the standard latex syntax is \a'{e} you do not need a package. – David Carlisle Feb 27 at 17:08
  • Thank you, both. I have always used commands for diacritics, although I used \'{e}, not \a'{e}. I wrote the document is question well over a decade ago, which is probably why it's so out of date (don't ask me why I'm playing about with it again!).@david-carlisle, could you post your comment as the answer, please, so I can mark it as accepted. I choose this over Ulrike's because it's easier for me to search and replace the commands than it is the letters themselves. – pandammonium Feb 27 at 17:59
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You can simply use é. If you really want to use an accent command, the standard latex syntax for accents in tabbing is \a'{e} . You do not need a package.

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