I am creating a CV under Latex (based on the altacv template but it does not have such importance) and in the preamble of my .tex document, I am trying to find a solution to be able to quickly test a configuration of color shades.

Since I discovered the LaTeX3 interface and its functions, I tried to used the \str_case:nn function to realize a kind of switch case.

But I am not getting the desired result and after compilation, the default colors from the class are used and not the new ones I wished from my configuration in the .tex document.

I fear that it is because I'm trying to use it in the preamble without really "calling it" and not after my \begin{document}, am I right ? But I don't really see how to realize such call.

Here, is my code. As you can see, I made some variables in order to test if a case was really considered during compilation. Also, I am not sure if the commands used for my grey hue color selection are correct. I am using the xcolor package.

% Available options
    \str_const:Nn \l_greyColorHue_str {greyHue}
    \str_const:Nn \l_blueColorHue_str {blueHue}
    % To modify to choose the switch-case option
    \str_set_eq:NN \l_colorHueSelection_str \l_greyColorHue_str
    % String to verify if the switch case worked
    \str_new:N \l_effectiveColorHue_str
    %% Color fields definition
    \str_case:nn {\l_colorHueSelection_str}
        {\l_greyColorHue_str} {
            \colorlet{name}{\color[Gray]{15}} % Used for : \name
            \colorlet{tagline}{\color[Gray]{13}} % Used for : \tagline
            \colorlet{heading}{\color[Gray]{13}} % Used for : \cvsection
            \colorlet{headingrule}{\color[Gray]{15}} % Used for : \rule
            \colorlet{subheading}{\color[Gray]{13}} % Used for : \cvsubsection, \cvsubsubsection
            \colorlet{accent}{\color[Gray]{10}} % Used for : \cvref(#1), \cvskill(#1), \skillfive, \cvachievment(#1), \cvevent(#1), \quote, \printinfo(#1)
            \colorlet{emphasis}{\color[Gray]{9}} % Used for : \cvref(#1), \cvskill(#1) \cvachievment(#2), \cvevent(#1)
            \colorlet{body}{\color[Gray]{15}} % Used for : all text color
            \str_set_eq:NN \l_effectiveColorHue_str \l_greyColorHue_str
        {\l_blueColorHue_str} {
            \colorlet{name}{black} % Used for : \name
            \colorlet{tagline}{RoyalBlue} % Used for : \tagline
            \colorlet{heading}{RoyalBlue} % Used for : \cvsection
            \colorlet{headingrule}{black} % Used for : \rule
            \colorlet{subheading}{Navy} % Used for : \cvsubsection, \cvsubsubsection
            \colorlet{accent}{MediumBlue} % Used for : \cvref(#2), \cvskill(#2), \skillfive, \cvachievment(#1), \cvevent(#2), \quote, \printinfo(#1)
            \colorlet{emphasis}{MidnightBlue} % Used for : \cvref(#1), \cvskill(#1) \cvachievment(#2), \cvevent(#1)
            \colorlet{body}{black} % Used for : all text color

            \str_set_eq:NN \l_effectiveColorHue_str \l_blueColorHue_str

Then, I begin my document and return my variable \l_effectiveColorHue_str to see its content in the generated document.




    Selected~coloration~: \\
    (~ \str_use:N \l_effectiveColorHue_str ~)

Do you have any idea to make this work or even another solution with "classic" Latex code in order that I can easily switch between different shades of colors for test without overwritting my commands or commenting/Uncommenting my colorlet selections ?

  • 1
    Try \str_case_e:nn instead. As it is, it compares the string \l_colorHueSelection_str with \l_greyColorHue_str, rather than the value of these variables Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 19:05
  • Oh godness, it works ! I am so ashamed I didn't read just a little further in the interface3 documentation to see it... Thank you so much ! Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 19:18
  • No reason to be ashamed at all! We're all here to learn. (also interface3 is huge :) I will write an answer with a bit more detail for you Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 20:09

1 Answer 1


Functions in the str module take their arguments as strings always, so

\str_case:nn { \l_colorHueSelection_str }
    { \l_greyColorHue_str } { ... }
    { \l_blueColorHue_str } { ... }

compares the strings \ l _ c o l o r H u e S e l e c t i o n _ s t r (24 characters) and \ l _ g r e y C o l o r H u e _ s t r (19 characters) rather than the contents of the str variables \l_colorHueSelection_str and \l_greyColorHue_str. The strings are obviously different, but their contents might not be, which is what you want to compare.

To compare the contents, you can use \str_case_e:nn. The e stands for expanded, which means it will first expand the strings being compared, and then compare them.

A few nitpicks on your coding style:

  • You do \str_const:Nn \l_greyColorHue_str {greyHue}, but the name \l_greyColorHue_str indicates a local variable. Constants should be named \c_....

  • More generally, variables in expl3 should be named \<scope>_<module>_<name>_<type>, where:

    • <scope> is either local, global or constant;
    • <module> is like a name space (for example the name of your package);
    • <name> describes the variable. This part may contain one or more _ for clarity;
    • <type> is the type of variable, for example tl or str or int...

    so your variable names would be better as \c_impish_grey_color_hue_str and so on.

  • Thanks for the tips & tricks !
    – 3isenHeim
    Commented Nov 4, 2021 at 8:24

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