# RMarkdown french accents/special characters

I want to use the LaTeX syntax for writing french accents/special characters in RMarkdown, but it doesn't work. \'{a} for instance doesn't compile but is literally printed in the pdf document. So far I didn't encounter any problems using arbitrary LaTeX code in my RMD documents. Are there some special compiling options I have to set maybe? I'm using RStudio to edit and compile the document.

Minimal example:

---
- \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}
- \usepackage[french]{babel}
- \usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
output:
pdf_document: default
html_document: default
---

r\^{o}les apr\{e}s cong\'{e}


Why this happens is because Rmarkdown pass to LaTeX unchanged only what is recognized as LaTeX code as:

\begin{whatever} ... whatever... \end{whatever}


or

\whatever{whatever}


or even

{\whatever whatever}


Where \whatever could be any name, even a single letter, but not a sign. So special characters with letters as \H{o} or \c{c} are recognized as commands, but not \={o} or \~{o}. I guess that this is because recognize signs as command names could complicate the recognition algorithm or produce undesired effects, o simply was an unexpected use case because:

• It is harder to write is this way.
• It is harder to read the source is this way.

Anyway, you can always include these specials characters in a recognizable latex environment:

\newcommand\latexcode[1]{#1}

\latexcode{r\^{o}les apr\{e}s cong\'{e}}


But the more important is that even if a special command as \^{o} can be passed unchanged to LaTeX, it must be completely ignored when exported to HTML or Word, while ô is perfectly exportable to the three formats.

So, keep it simple, and use the keyboard to make composed characters as far as possible:

---
lang: fr
output:
html_document: default
pdf_document: default
---

rôle après congé