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Special Insertions

Texinfo provides several commands for formatting dimensions, for inserting single characters that have special meaning in Texinfo, such as braces, and for inserting special graphic symbols that do not correspond to characters, such as dots and bullets.

These are:

Inserting @ and Braces

`@' and curly braces are special characters in Texinfo. To insert these characters so they appear in text, you must put an `@' in front of these characters to prevent Texinfo from misinterpreting them.

Do not put braces after any of these commands; they are not necessary.

Inserting `@' with @@

@@ stands for a single `@' in either printed or Info output.

Do not put braces after an @@ command.

Inserting `{' and `}'with @{ and @}

@{ stands for a single `{' in either printed or Info output.

@} stands for a single `}' in either printed or Info output.

Do not put braces after either an @{ or an @} command.

Inserting Space

The following sections describe commands that control spacing of various kinds within and after sentences.

Not Ending a Sentence

Depending on whether a period or exclamation point or question mark is inside or at the end of a sentence, less or more space is inserted after a period in a typeset manual. Since it is not always possible for Texinfo to determine when a period ends a sentence and when it is used in an abbreviation, special commands are needed in some circumstances. (Usually, Texinfo can guess how to handle periods, so you do not need to use the special commands; you just enter a period as you would if you were using a typewriter, which means you put two spaces after the period, question mark, or exclamation mark that ends a sentence.)

Use the @: command after a period, question mark, exclamation mark, or colon that should not be followed by extra space. For example, use @: after periods that end abbreviations which are not at the ends of sentences. @: has no effect on the Info file output.

For example,

The [email protected]: has three parts ...
The s.o.p. has three parts ...

produces the following. If you look carefully at this printed output, you will see a little more whitespace after `s.o.p.' in the second line.

The s.o.p. has three parts ...
The s.o.p. has three parts ...

@: has no effect on the Info output. (`s.o.p.' is an abbreviation for "Standard Operating Procedure".)

Do not put braces after @:.

Ending a Sentence

Use @. instead of a period, @! instead of an exclamation point, and @? instead of a question mark at the end of a sentence that ends with a single capital letter. Otherwise, TeX will think the letter is an abbreviation and will not insert the correct end-of-sentence spacing. Here is an example:

Give it to M.I.B. and to [email protected]  Also, give it to [email protected]
Give it to M.I.B. and to M.E.W.  Also, give it to R.J.C.

produces the following. If you look carefully at this printed output, you will see a little more whitespace after the `W' in the first line.

Give it to M.I.B. and to M.E.W. Also, give it to R.J.C.
Give it to M.I.B. and to M.E.W. Also, give it to R.J.C.

In the Info file output, @. is equivalent to a simple `.'; likewise for @! and @?.

The meanings of @: and @. in Texinfo are designed to work well with the Emacs sentence motion commands (see section `Sentences' in GNU Emacs). This made it necessary for them to be incompatible with some other formatting systems that use @-commands.

Do not put braces after any of these commands.

Multiple Spaces

Ordinarily, TeX collapses multiple whitespace characters (space, tab, and newline) into a single space. (Info output, on the other hand, preserves whitespace as you type it, except for changing a newline into a space; this is why it is important to put two spaces at the end of sentences in Texinfo documents.)

Occasionally, you may want to actually insert several consecutive spaces, either for purposes of example (what your program does with multiple spaces as input), or merely for purposes of appearance in headings or lists. Texinfo supports three commands: @ , @TAB, and @NL, all of which insert a single space into the output. (Here, TAB and NL represent the tab character and end-of-line, i.e., when `@' is the last character on a line.)

For example,

[email protected] @ @ @
example.

produces

Spacey   
example.

Other possible uses of @ have been subsumed by @multitable (see section Multi-column Tables).

Do not follow any of these commands with braces.

@dmn{dimension}: Format a Dimension

At times, you may want to write `12pt' or `8.5in' with little or no space between the number and the abbreviation for the dimension. You can use the @dmn command to do this. On seeing the command, TeX inserts just enough space for proper typesetting; the Info formatting commands insert no space at all, since the Info file does not require it.

To use the @dmn command, write the number and then follow it immediately, with no intervening space, by @dmn, and then by the dimension within braces.

For example,

A4 paper is [email protected]{in} wide.

produces

A4 paper is 8.27in wide.

Not everyone uses this style. Instead of writing `[email protected]{in}' in the Texinfo file, you may write `8.27 in.' or `8.27 inches'. (In these cases, the formatters may insert a line break between the number and the dimension. Also, if you write a period after an abbreviation within a sentence, you should write `@:' after the period to prevent TeX from inserting extra whitespace. See section Inserting Space.

Inserting Accents

Here is a table with the commands Texinfo provides for inserting floating accents. The commands with non-alphabetic names do not take braces around their argument (which is taken to be the next character). (Exception: @, does take braces around its argument.) This is so as to make the source as convenient to type and read as possible, since accented characters are very common in some languages.

  • Command @tab Output @tab What
  • @"o @tab @"o @tab umlaut accent
  • @'o @tab 'o @tab acute accent
  • @,{c} @tab @,{c} @tab cedilla accent
  • @=o @tab @=o @tab macron/overbar accent
  • @^o @tab @^o @tab circumflex accent
  • @`o @tab `o @tab grave accent
  • @~o @tab @~o @tab tilde accent
  • @dotaccent{o} @tab @dotaccent{o} @tab overdot accent
  • @H{o} @tab @H{o} @tab long Hungarian umlaut
  • @ringaccent{o} @tab @ringaccent{o} @tab ring accent
  • @tieaccent{oo} @tab @tieaccent{oo} @tab tie-after accent
  • @u{o} @tab @u{o} @tab breve accent
  • @ubaraccent{o} @tab @ubaraccent{o} @tab underbar accent
  • @udotaccent{o} @tab @udotaccent{o} @tab underdot accent
  • @v{o} @tab @v{o} @tab hacek or check accent This table lists the Texinfo commands for inserting other characters commonly used in languages other than English.
  • @exclamdown{} @tab @exclamdown{} @tab upside-down !
  • @questiondown{} @tab @questiondown{} @tab upside-down ?
  • @aa{},@AA{} @tab @aa{},@AA{} @tab A,a with circle
  • @ae{},@AE{} @tab @ae{},@AE{} @tab ae,AE ligatures
  • @dotless{i} @tab @dotless{i} @tab dotless i
  • @dotless{j} @tab @dotless{j} @tab dotless j
  • @l{},@L{} @tab @l{},@L{} @tab suppressed-L,l
  • @o{},@O{} @tab @o{},@O{} @tab O,o with slash
  • @oe{},@OE{} @tab @oe{},@OE{} @tab OE,oe ligatures
  • @ss{} @tab @ss{} @tab es-zet or sharp S

    Inserting Ellipsis, Dots, and Bullets

    An ellipsis (a line of dots) is not typeset as a string of periods, so a special command is used for ellipsis in Texinfo. The @bullet command is special, too. Each of these commands is followed by a pair of braces, `{}', without any whitespace between the name of the command and the braces. (You need to use braces with these commands because you can use them next to other text; without the braces, the formatters would be confused. See section @-Command Syntax, for further information.)

    @dots{}

    Use the @dots{} command to generate an ellipsis, which is three dots in a row, appropriately spaced, like this: `...'. Do not simply write three periods in the input file; that would work for the Info file output, but would produce the wrong amount of space between the periods in the printed manual.

    Similarly, the @enddots{} command generates an end-of-sentence ellipsis (four dots) @enddots{}

    Here is an ellipsis: ... Here are three periods in a row: ...

    In printed output, the three periods in a row are closer together than the dots in the ellipsis.

    @bullet{}

    Use the @bullet{} command to generate a large round dot, or the closest possible thing to one. In Info, an asterisk is used.

    Here is a bullet: *

    When you use @bullet in @itemize, you do not need to type the braces, because @itemize supplies them. (See section Making an Itemized List.)

    Inserting TeX and the Copyright Symbol

    The logo `TeX' is typeset in a special fashion and it needs an @-command. The copyright symbol, `(C)', is also special. Each of these commands is followed by a pair of braces, `{}', without any whitespace between the name of the command and the braces.

    @TeX{}

    Use the @TeX{} command to generate `TeX'. In a printed manual, this is a special logo that is different from three ordinary letters. In Info, it just looks like `TeX'. The @TeX{} command is unique among Texinfo commands in that the T and the X are in upper case.

    @copyright{}

    Use the @copyright{} command to generate `(C)'. In a printed manual, this is a `c' inside a circle, and in Info, this is `(C)'.

    @pounds{}

    Use the @pounds{} command to generate `@pounds{}'. In a printed manual, this is the symbol for the currency pounds sterling. In Info, it is a `#'. Other currency symbols are unfortunately not available.

    @minus{}: Inserting a Minus Sign

    Use the @minus{} command to generate a minus sign. In a fixed-width font, this is a single hyphen, but in a proportional font, the symbol is the customary length for a minus sign--a little longer than a hyphen.

    You can compare the two forms:

    `-' is a minus sign generated with `@minus{}',
    
    `-' is a hyphen generated with the character `-'.
    

    In the fixed-width font used by Info, @minus{} is the same as a hyphen.

    You should not use @minus{} inside @code or @example because the width distinction is not made in the fixed-width font they use.

    When you use @minus to specify the mark beginning each entry in an itemized list, you do not need to type the braces (see section Making an Itemized List.)

    @math: Inserting Mathematical Expressions

    You can write a short mathematical expression with the @math command. Write the mathematical expression between braces, like this:

    @math{(a + b)(a + b) = a^2 + 2ab + b^2}
    

    This produces the following in TeX:

    (a + b)(a + b) = a^2 + 2ab + b^2
    

    and the following in Info:

    (a + b)(a + b) = a^2 + 2ab + b^2
    

    The @math command has no effect on the Info output. Currently, it has limited effect on typeset output. However, this may change since TeX itself is designed for mathematical typesetting and does a splendid job.

    Certainly, for complex mathematical expressions, you could use TeX directly. See section Using Ordinary TeX Commands. When you use TeX directly, remember to write the mathematical expression between one or two `$' (dollar-signs) as appropriate.


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