Frequently Asked Question List for TeX

# LaTeX internal “abbreviations”, etc.

In the deeps of time, when TeX first happened, computers had extremely limited memory, and were (by today’s standards) painfully slow. When LaTeX came along, things weren’t much better, and even when LaTeX2e appeared, there was a strong imperative to save memory space (and to a lesser extent) CPU time.

From the very earliest days, Knuth used shortcut macros to speed things up. LaTeX, over the years, has extended Knuth’s list by a substantial amount. An interesting feature of the “abbreviations” is that on paper, they may look longer than the thing they stand for; however, to (La)TeX they feel smaller…

The table at the end of this answer lists the commonest of these “abbreviations”. It is not complete; as always, if the table doesn’t help, try the LaTeX source. The table lists each abbreviation’s name and its value, which provide most of what a user needs to know. The table also lists the abbreviation’s type, which is a trickier concept: if you need to know, the only real confusion is that the abbreviations labelled “defn” are defined using an `_xxxx_def` command.

Name Type Value
`\m@ne` count -1
`\p@` dimen 1pt
`\z@` dimen 0pt
`\z@skip` skip 0pt plus 0pt minus 0pt
`\@ne` defn 1
`\tw@` defn 2
`\thr@@` defn 3
`\sixt@@n` defn 16
`\@cclv` defn 255
`\@cclvi` defn 256
`\@m` defn 1000
`\@M` defn 10000
`\@MM` defn 20000
`\@vpt` macro 5
`\@vipt` macro 6
`\@viipt` macro 7
`\@viiipt` macro 8
`\@ixpt` macro 9
`\@xpt` macro 10
`\@xipt` macro 10.95
`\@xiipt` macro 12
`\@xivpt` macro 14.4
`\@xviipt` macro 17.28
`\@xxpt` macro 20.74
`\@xxvpt` macro 24.88
`\@plus` macro `plus`
`\@minus` macro `minus`

FAQ ID: Q-ltxabbrv
Tags: latexmacros