I'm typesetting a list of conditions for a certain mathematical object. There are three conditions. Later on I wish to provide an equivalent condition for the third. Therefore, it would be nice to have this kind of numbering:

c) condition 1

b) condition 2

c) condition 3

while later on there would be

c') condition 3 (alternative)

My idea was to use a \label{c} for the original condition and write

\item[\ref{c}]\label{c-prime} ...

and it hoping it would be able to refer to c') this way. But \ref{c-prime} results in the number of the definition, not in the enumerate counter.


I've got a solution, based on a hard-coded starting point for the counter and fixed layout. Using enumitem I can write


and everything works smoothly


There are some drawbacks:

  • I have to hand pick the starting point for the counter, rendering it impossible to automatically change the ordering;
  • the formatting for labels and references is hard-coded, if I change the global format I still have to adapt it locally.

What can I do to make this more flexible?

I am aware this is a rather academic question as it already works, but I'm curious

  • 2
    A "costumized" counter is one with a costume on? – Will Robertson Dec 2 '10 at 6:33
  • 2
    No, it's one who has according to Oxford dictionary been "modified to suit a particular individual or task." – Pieter Dec 2 '10 at 6:49
  • I tried to generalize this to having altconditions in two different places within my LaTeX document, but am having problems getting it to work: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/221020/… – Mathemanic Jan 7 '15 at 1:02

The enumitem package gives you lots more—you can create enumerate-like list environments and set their format globally. Then you can use a counter to save the value of the current item to feed to start later on.

\usepackage{lipsum}% just for blind text


\item condition 1
\item condition 2
\item condition 3\label{c}\setcounter{favoritecondition}{\value{conditionsi}}
\item condition 4


An alternative to condition \ref{c} is

\item\label{c-prime} condition 3 alternative 

We leave as an exercise to the reader that \ref{c} and \ref{c-prime} are equivalent.
  • Good answer; the key is the line \setcounter{favoritecondition}{\arabic{conditionsi} although I think \value would strictly be better than \arabic here (even though both work). – Will Robertson Dec 2 '10 at 6:35
  • @Will Robertson: I agree with your opinion but I couldn't get \value to work for me. But I just made the change in my copy and it worked fine, so I must have been doing something else wrong. I'll edit. – Matthew Leingang Dec 2 '10 at 10:40
  • Thanks for the great answer! If you can help, I tried modifying this code to allow for altconditions in two different places within the document, and I can't quite get it to work: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/221020/… – Mathemanic Jan 6 '15 at 23:49

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