I have defined a macro that I would like to be used exclusively in math mode. In order to enforce this, I would like the macro to throw an error message whenever it is used outside of math mode. What is the easiest way of making a macro math-mode-only?


You can use \ifmmode to check if you are in math mode, and trigger an error if not. An attempt to use it outside of math mode yields:

Attempt to use \MyMathModeMacro outside of math mode.

See my preamble documentation for explanation.

Type H for immediate help.

l.16 \MyMathModeMacro % <--- This will produce an error ?



         E = m c^2
            {Attempt to use \@backslashchar MyMathModeMacro outside of math mode}
            {See my preamble documentation for explanation.}
            {Need to use either use inline or display math.}%


\MyMathModeMacro% <--- This will produce an error
  • @Qrrbrbirlbel: I think you are right (have corrected), but surprisingly PackageError does not issue a PackageError if it does not get 3 parameters?? – Peter Grill Nov 7 '12 at 1:51
  • @PeterGrill That was fast! I am wondering, is there a way of throwing an error in a way that doesn't make it look package-specific? (I might simply have defined this macro in my preamble.) – Lover of Structure Nov 7 '12 at 1:55
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    I normally just use \typeout{message}\QUITHERE, where \QUITHERE is not defined, but thought I would use the official way of reporting errors. Alternatively, you could use my preamble, or some other relevant text as the first parameter to \PackageError. – Peter Grill Nov 7 '12 at 1:58
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    @PeterGrill you can use \GenericError (four arguments). – Gonzalo Medina Nov 7 '12 at 2:01
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    You'll need to use \DeclareRobustCommand not \newcommand or you will get the wrong answer at the start of array cells. – David Carlisle Nov 7 '12 at 2:05

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