Questions tagged [plain-tex]

Plain TeX is Knuth's original default format for TeX documents.

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41 votes
2 answers
11k views

The mysteries of \mathpalette

I would like to make a macro, \vfrac, which output would look like: $$\displaylines{ \displaystyle\raise.25ex\hbox{$\displaystyle1$}\!/\!\lower.5ex\hbox{$\displaystyle2$} \cr \textstyle\raise....
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19 votes
4 answers
8k views

Inserting an image in plain TeX

I used the OzTeX implementation of TeX, also I used to typeset my docs in plain TeX, not LaTeX for me, so I had no problem to insert an image using the OzTeX, now I'm back to TeX docs, am using the ...
75 votes
8 answers
13k views

Reasons to use plain TeX

Given the active development in LaTeX and ConTeXt, and how LaTeX insulates the writer from typographical details and ConTeXt gives the user extensive control over formatting thus taking useful ...
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21 votes
2 answers
1k views

Using end-of-line delimiter in plain Tex macro

How is it possible to use the end-of-line character as a macro parameter ? I would like something along the lines of : \def\mymacro#1\endlinechar{Content:#1} \mymacro First content \mymacro Second ...
67 votes
1 answer
19k views

\setbox vs. \sbox and \savebox - What are the differences I need to know about?

What's the difference between using TeX's \setbox and LaTeX's \sbox and \savebox?
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23 votes
5 answers
3k views

How to make continuous (but breakable) vertical rule along left side of paragraph?

I'm looking for a way in Plain TeX to make a continuous vertical rule along the left side of a paragraph (or arbitrary block of text), such that it observes normal page-break rules. I started with the ...
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16 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there any software that converts latex file to tex file?

I was asked to convert a file from LaTeX format to TeX format, so it could be compiled by TeX. I use LaTeX a lot, but I'm quite unfamiliar with TeX. And the file is pretty long. So I was wondering if ...
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19 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to input accents in PlainTeX with UTF-8 encoding?

I'm using TeX with the plain format. On my keyboard there is the 'è' character (as well as é, ò, à, ù, ì). I'd like to make it work so that, when put è in the input file, TeX transforms it into \`e, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
850 views

Cyrillic letters and Russian hyphenation in Plain XeTeX

What is the simplest method to tell XeTeX (not XeLaTeX) to use a font with Cyrillic letters and to apply Russian hyphenation rules? Ideally i would like to not have to specify anything in the source ...
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26 votes
8 answers
9k views

Can I see a plain TeX source file please?

all the LaTeX-tutorials tell me how LaTeX is an extention simplifying the building of TeX documents. Understandably, no one uses plain TeX anymore, right? But I seem to learn better when I grasp the ...
19 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to use OpenType fonts with plain-LuaTeX?

Is it possible to have OpenType fonts with LuaTeX using the plain format? I have tried: \font\test="texgyrepagellaregular"\test test\bye but I get ! Font \test=texgyrepagellaregular not loadable: ...
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60 votes
3 answers
8k views

Electronic version of Knuth's "TeXbook"?

I have a printed copy of the TeXbook (from D.E. Knuth) at home. Now that I travel a lot, I don't want to take my library with me every time. Question: Is there a legal way to obtain (=purchase) a PDF ...
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20 votes
3 answers
759 views

Strange behaviour with PGF/TikZ and Plain TeX output routine

I noticed a strange behavior when running PGF/tikZ with pdfTeX on my Debian box : a simple session without tikz: pdftex **\relax *Hello World *\bye do output the page number on the page footer. On ...
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14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Background baseline grid with output routine

I am trying to get a baseline grid in the background of every page. I am using the plain format with XeTeX. This is what I have tried: \baselineskip=13pt \topskip=0pt \parskip=0pt \newbox\gridbox \...
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7 votes
1 answer
543 views

Using \show in nonstopmode causes TeXmaker to raise false alarms. Any fix?

I'm currently reading the TeXbook, and I use \show a lot to see how Knuth defined plain-TeX macros in terms of TeX primitives. For instance, to have access to the definition of \centerline, I would ...
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5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Left margin wider than right one

Why is the left margin wider than the right one? Each of them should be 1 inch wide: If you run TEX without modifying the plain TEX format, you get pages that are numbered at the bottom; and each ...
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31 votes
1 answer
2k views

Use of \relax after \ifnum ... \fi construction

I'm reading Malcolm Clark's A Plain TeX Primer. On page 111 there's an exercise to define a macro that prints the current time. I've reproduced Clark's answer below: \newcount\minleft \newcount\...
30 votes
3 answers
20k views

\string command behavior - Plain TeX

I would like to learn Plain TeX and I'm reading Knuth's "The TeXBook". At Chapter 7, Knuth talks about the \string command and how it converts control sequences into lists of characters tokens. Why ...
29 votes
5 answers
2k views

What are good resources for a beginner, non-computer genius type of person, to learn Plain TeX?

I noticed that there are a lot of "beginner" resources for LaTeX, lots of novice friendly tutorials etc. Are there similar resources available for Plain TeX that are geared towards beginners? ...
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20 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there a printable version of a reference manual for all TeX primitives?

Everywhere in the TeX community, I see suggestions like \parskip, \obeylines, \parindent, etc. I'd be surprised not to find them even in the most basic LaTeX packages. So I figured they must be deeper ...
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15 votes
3 answers
3k views

Partially transparent gray chronoevents in my chronosys timeline? Or using any other Plain-TeX, LaTeX, LuaLaTeX, or even a XeLaTex package or method?

While putting together a "traditional" timeline, I kludged together a means of coloring my boxes in chronosys, but I would like the event boxes to be partially transparent. This would allow better ...
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14 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is there a counterpart/antidote for \obeylines?

The \obeylines command tells TeX to preserve line endings, which is useful for poetry and various other things. I can limit the effect of \obeylines by wrapping it in a scope, like so: {\obeylines ...
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14 votes
1 answer
606 views

How to get the natural width of the last box in a paragraph?

I want to get the natural width of the last line in a paragraph. For example, the last line of the following paragraph Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (September 17, 1826 – July 20, 1866) was an ...
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14 votes
4 answers
5k views

Conversion pt to mm or cm

Is there any way how to convert pt to mm or cm in plain TeX?
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9 votes
3 answers
922 views

Macro like `\ignorespaces` for ignoring `\par`s

I would like to have a macro \ignorepars that removes all \pars following it. I wrote the following code: \def\eat{} \def\ignorepars{\futurelet\next\ignoreparsA} \def\ignoreparsA{\ifx\next\par\...
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Create my own mapping for XeTeX fonts

I'm trying to create mapping files, to make use of Cambria Math italic calligraphic and double stroke letters in Plain XeTeX. However, I'm unable to do so. This is what I tried to create for the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
4k views

Make an invisible vbox

I'm placing a PDF meta information in a \vbox in a plain XeTeX document, and I would like it to behave as if there were no box at all (so any additional \vskip after the \vbox will appear). Right now, ...
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Easy method to activate cyrplain package (CyrTeX)

I would like to have a Cyrillic version of TeX/AMSTeX. I have installed the cyrplain package, but further instructions are too long and technical for me, sometimes referring to README of other ...
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30 votes
3 answers
9k views

What is "plain TeX"?

I occasionally see a statement that plain TeX is not the same as TeX, because plain TeX is already a format. What is plain TeX, and what is the difference to TeX proper? Some answers are here (The ...
23 votes
1 answer
709 views

Plain TeX online documentation/references?

I am a non-beginner plain TeX user, mostly typesetting cheat sheets for computer science. I own The TeXbook and have seen some TeX manuals for the compilers, such as pdfTeX manuals and so forth. My ...
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22 votes
2 answers
2k views

Transition from LaTeX to Plain TeX

For several reasons I need to typeset in Plain TeX, however I have always worked with LaTeX. So how hard will this be? I basically need something like the book or report documentclass (with toc, ...
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15 votes
4 answers
2k views

Position margin notes relative to left margin in plain TeX

I want to add margin notes in the Tufte style to my Plain TeX document. (I'm using eplain, if that matters.) I know that if I were using LaTeX I could just use tufte-latex, but as a thorough ...
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

How can I achieve having logical page numbers shown in acrobat reader?

I am using (plain) TeX (not LaTeX or any other ...TeX). I want a pdf file made from my TeX-source/output that is able to have acrobat reader shown logical page numbers. My document’s preface page ...
13 votes
1 answer
4k views

Page Layout in plain tex

I'm trying to start using plain tex (in fact, the pdftex that comes with texlive2010) to write a document but I'm having some trouble with the page layout. My question is at which point is it decided ...
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10 votes
2 answers
503 views

Why to store a number via chardef?

For example, in plain.tex and in hyrules.tex (package hyplain) we find such code: \chardef\active=13 \catcode`\~=\active \chardef\myh@us@catcode=\the\catcode`\_ ... \catcode`\_=\myh@us@catcode Are ...
5 votes
2 answers
8k views

Template for cheat sheet

I have been working with LaTeX for a couple of years but I don't know anything about pure TeX. I find this LaTeX cheat sheet useful to remember some commands. So I'd like to have a LaTeX template for ...
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can I write blackboard bold Latin capital letters in Plain TeX?

In LaTeX, you can use commands like \mathbb{C} (in amsfonts) or \mathds{C} (in mathds) to get blackboard bold letters. But how would I get them in plain TeX? I tried {\ds C} and it didn't work.
4 votes
1 answer
288 views

Problem with \pspicture in a simple plain TeX code

Just writing the following very simple program I had some problems. I use to write in plain TeX and in this case I tried to make a picture with PSTricks and first of all sized it with \pspicture. The ...
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168 votes
5 answers
862k views

Real number symbol (UTF-8: ℝ) in XeTeX

How can I get the 'real number' sign (something like \mathbb{R} with the amssymb package in LaTeX) in XeTeX?
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46 votes
6 answers
17k views

How to compile the source code of TeX

I am more and more interested in the system TeX (and LaTeX) and I want to study it more deeply. I am not telling that I want to learn how to use it, but I want to understand its mechanism now. The ...
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44 votes
5 answers
28k views

How to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in plain TeX?

I find many cases where I need to calculate many numbers, using adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, but it would save much time if TeX could simply compute these for me. This is a sample ...
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28 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is it actually illegal to TeX `texbook.tex`? [closed]

At the top of texbook.tex, it is written: % This manual is copyright (C) 1984 by the American Mathematical Society. % All rights are reserved! % The file is distributed only for people to see its ...
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28 votes
2 answers
1k views

plain TeX theory, \afterassignment

Is there a real difference between \newcount\acounter \def\dosomething{\afterassignment\dosomesecret\acounter=} \def\dosomesecret{I do something with \the\acounter} and \newcount\acounter \def\...
28 votes
1 answer
560 views

Why are \new... defined as \outer in the plain TeX format?

In plain.tex, D.E.Knuth decided to define as \outer all the macros which allocate registers: \newcount, \newdimen, \newskip, \newread, \newwrite. This forbids them from entering the argument of macros,...
21 votes
4 answers
3k views

Now that I can run TeX on my iPad, what shall I TeX?

I have just learnt that there is a TeX implementation now on the iPad (original source this answer to Is there a (La)TeX distribution running on iPad?). As the author of the blog post I TeX therefore ...
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

A center environment for plain TeX

In TeX, one can center a single line of text with \centerline. How would one implement a center justification environment for a single long line of text in plain TeX without the addition of any ...
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18 votes
1 answer
439 views

What does `\ ` exactly do?

In the The Not So Short Introduction to LATEX2e - Version 5.01, April 06, 2011 it is suggested that: A backslash in front of a space generates a space that will not be enlarged. (page 39) It turns ...
18 votes
2 answers
804 views

\expandafter with \uppercase ordering

As I understand it, the behavior of \expandafter is such that if \a and \b are macros, then \expandafter\a\b will first expand \b then \a. But my understanding must be wrong, because I don't ...
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18 votes
3 answers
4k views

Examples of list macros in plain TeX

I'm writing macros to typeset lists in plain TeX. Please can you suggest some examples of macros for numbered lists? I'd prefer examples from "living code", from CTAN packages and so on. But any kind ...
14 votes
2 answers
280 views

Access to the parts of glue registry

This might be a silly question, but I can't seem to be able to find the answer anywhere: suppose I have this simple plain TeX code: \newskip\myskip \myskip = 10pt plus 4pt minus 2pt Now, how can I ...
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