Is there any way I can define a variable in LaTeX?

0 votes
asked Jul 31, 2009 by andrea

In LaTeX, how can I define a string variable whose content is used instead of the variable in the compiled PDF?

Let's say I'm writing a tech doc on a software and I want to define the package name in the preamble or somewhere so that if its name changes, I don't have to replace it in a lot of places but only in one place.

4 Answers

0 votes
answered Jul 1, 2009 by dmckee

For variables describing distances, you would use \newlength (and manipulate the values with \setlength, \addlength, \settoheight, \settolength and \settodepth).

Similarly you have access to \newcounter for things like section and figure numbers which should increment throughout the document. I've used this one in the past to provide code samples that were numbered separatly of other figures...

Also of note is \makebox which allows you to store a bit of laid-out document for later re-use (and for use with \settolength...).

0 votes
answered Jul 31, 2009 by second

add the following to you preamble:

\newcommand{\newCommandName}{text to insert}

Then you can just use \newCommandName{} in the text

For more info on \newcommand, see e.g. wikibooks

0 votes
answered Jul 6, 2010 by plaes

Use \def command:

\def \variable {Something that's better to use as a variable}

Be aware that \def overrides preexisting macros without any warnings and therefore can cause various subtle errors. To overcome this either use namespaced variables like my_var or fall back to \newcommand, \renewcommand commands instead.

0 votes
answered Jul 30, 2012 by user1125069

If you want to use \newcommand, you can also include \usepackage{xspace} and define command by \newcommand{\newCommandName}{text to insert\xspace}. This can allow you to just use \newCommandName rather than \newCommandName{}.

For more detail, http://www.math.tamu.edu/~harold.boas/courses/math696/why-macros.html

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