[luatex] Hash tokens meaning

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Mon May 27 15:31:10 CEST 2013

Sensei <senseiwa at gmail.com> wrote:

> I am trying to grasp the meaning of the hash tokens I find in a latex
> document. I am a novice TeX user, so please bear with my (almost
> surely) stupid questions: I've only used LaTeX, and never looked into
> the pit :)
> - First of all, I find many tokens that contain @ or ! or ^, for
> example "tagsleft at false", "ps at headings", "\T1\^-\i", or "!!stringa":
> do these characters have a special meaning?

did you ever learn to swim?  did they teach you by throwing you in the
deep end of the pool, and telling you to read the instructions on the

i ask, because that's what you seem to be doing here.  if you want to
get a feel for tex, read "tex for the impatient
(mirror.ctan.org:/info/impatient/book.pdf -- also available in french)

if (as it seems) you want to learn latex, don't start with the latex
kernel (which is poorly commented in many places), start from the users'
point of view, with something like "short introduction to latex"
(mirror.ctan.org:/info/lshort/english/lshort.pdf -- also available in
several other languages)

most people take some time to progress from user-level stuff to reading
the kernel's code.  (fwiw, my head often swims when reading latex
internals, and i've been reading it(them) on and off since the 1980s,
before the current latex 2e was released.)


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