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Lists and Tables

Texinfo has several ways of making lists and tables. Lists can be bulleted or numbered; two-column tables can highlight the items in the first column; multi-column tables are also supported.

Texinfo automatically indents the text in lists or tables, and numbers an enumerated list. This last feature is useful if you modify the list, since you do not need to renumber it yourself.

Numbered lists and tables begin with the appropriate @-command at the beginning of a line, and end with the corresponding @end command on a line by itself. The table and itemized-list commands also require that you write formatting information on the same line as the beginning @-command.

Begin an enumerated list, for example, with an @enumerate command and end the list with an @end enumerate command. Begin an itemized list with an @itemize command, followed on the same line by a formatting command such as @bullet, and end the list with an @end itemize command.

Precede each element of a list with an @item or @itemx command.

Here is an itemized list of the different kinds of table and lists:

Here is an enumerated list with the same items:

  1. Itemized lists with and without bullets.
  2. Enumerated lists, using numbers or letters.
  3. Two-column tables with highlighting.

And here is a two-column table with the same items and their @-commands:

@itemize
Itemized lists with and without bullets.
@enumerate
Enumerated lists, using numbers or letters.
@table
@ftable
@vtable
Two-column tables, optionally with indexing.

@itemize: Making an Itemized List

The @itemize command produces sequences of indented paragraphs, with a bullet or other mark inside the left margin at the beginning of each paragraph for which such a mark is desired.

Begin an itemized list by writing @itemize at the beginning of a line. Follow the command, on the same line, with a character or a Texinfo command that generates a mark. Usually, you will write @bullet after @itemize, but you can use @minus, or any command or character that results in a single character in the Info file. If you don't want any mark at all, use @w. (When you write the mark command such as @bullet after an @itemize command, you may omit the `{}'.) If you don't specify a mark command, the default is @bullet.

Write the text of the indented paragraphs themselves after the @itemize, up to another line that says @end itemize.

Before each paragraph for which a mark in the margin is desired, write a line that says just @item. It is ok to have text following the @item.

Usually, you should put a blank line before an @item. This puts a blank line in the Info file. (TeX inserts the proper interline whitespace in either case.) Except when the entries are very brief, these blank lines make the list look better.

Here is an example of the use of @itemize, followed by the output it produces. @bullet produces an `*' in Info and a round dot in TeX.

@itemize @bullet
@item
Some text for foo.

@item
Some text
for bar.
@end itemize

This produces:

Itemized lists may be embedded within other itemized lists. Here is a list marked with dashes embedded in a list marked with bullets:

@itemize @bullet
@item
First item.

@itemize @minus
@item
Inner item.

@item
Second inner item.
@end itemize

@item
Second outer item.
@end itemize

This produces:

@enumerate: Making a Numbered or Lettered List

@enumerate is like @itemize (see section @itemize: Making an Itemized List), except that the labels on the items are successive integers or letters instead of bullets.

Write the @enumerate command at the beginning of a line. The command does not require an argument, but accepts either a number or a letter as an option. Without an argument, @enumerate starts the list with the number `1'. With a numeric argument, such as `3', the command starts the list with that number. With an upper or lower case letter, such as `a' or `A', the command starts the list with that letter.

Write the text of the enumerated list in the same way you write an itemized list: put @item on a line of its own before the start of each paragraph that you want enumerated. Do not write any other text on the line beginning with @item.

You should put a blank line between entries in the list. This generally makes it easier to read the Info file.

Here is an example of @enumerate without an argument:

@enumerate
@item
Underlying causes.

@item
Proximate causes.
@end enumerate

This produces:

  1. Underlying causes.
  2. Proximate causes.

Here is an example with an argument of 3:

@enumerate 3
@item
Predisposing causes.

@item
Precipitating causes.

@item
Perpetuating causes.
@end enumerate

This produces:

  1. Predisposing causes.
  2. Precipitating causes.
  3. Perpetuating causes.

Here is a brief summary of the alternatives. The summary is constructed using @enumerate with an argument of a.

  1. @enumerate Without an argument, produce a numbered list, starting with the number 1.
  2. @enumerate positive-integer With a (positive) numeric argument, start a numbered list with that number. You can use this to continue a list that you interrupted with other text.
  3. @enumerate upper-case-letter With an upper case letter as argument, start a list in which each item is marked by a letter, beginning with that upper case letter.
  4. @enumerate lower-case-letter With a lower case letter as argument, start a list in which each item is marked by a letter, beginning with that lower case letter.

You can also nest enumerated lists, as in an outline.

Making a Two-column Table

@table is similar to @itemize (see section @itemize: Making an Itemized List), but allows you to specify a name or heading line for each item. The @table command is used to produce two-column tables, and is especially useful for glossaries, explanatory exhibits, and command-line option summaries.

Write the @table command at the beginning of a line and follow it on the same line with an argument that is a Texinfo "indicating" command such as @code, @samp, @var, or @kbd (see section Indicating Definitions, Commands, etc.). Although these commands are usually followed by arguments in braces, in this case you use the command name without an argument because @item will supply the argument. This command will be applied to the text that goes into the first column of each item and determines how it will be highlighted. For example, @code will cause the text in the first column to be highlighted with an @code command. (We recommend @code for @table's of command-line options.)

You may also choose to use the @asis command as an argument to @table. @asis is a command that does nothing; if you use this command after @table, TeX and the Info formatting commands output the first column entries without added highlighting ("as is").

(The @table command may work with other commands besides those listed here. However, you can only use commands that normally take arguments in braces.)

Begin each table entry with an @item command at the beginning of a line. Write the first column text on the same line as the @item command. Write the second column text on the line following the @item line and on subsequent lines. (You do not need to type anything for an empty second column entry.) You may write as many lines of supporting text as you wish, even several paragraphs. But only text on the same line as the @item will be placed in the first column, including any footnote.

Normally, you should put a blank line before an @item line. This puts a blank like in the Info file. Except when the entries are very brief, a blank line looks better.

The following table, for example, highlights the text in the first column with an @samp command:

@table @samp
@item foo
This is the text for
@samp{foo}.

@item bar
Text for @samp{bar}.
@end table

This produces:

`foo'
This is the text for `foo'.
`bar'
Text for `bar'.

If you want to list two or more named items with a single block of text, use the @itemx command. (See section @itemx.)

@ftable and @vtable

The @ftable and @vtable commands are the same as the @table command except that @ftable automatically enters each of the items in the first column of the table into the index of functions and @vtable automatically enters each of the items in the first column of the table into the index of variables. This simplifies the task of creating indices. Only the items on the same line as the @item commands are indexed, and they are indexed in exactly the form that they appear on that line. See section Indices, for more information about indices.

Begin a two-column table using @ftable or @vtable by writing the @-command at the beginning of a line, followed on the same line by an argument that is a Texinfo command such as @code, exactly as you would for an @table command; and end the table with an @end ftable or @end vtable command on a line by itself.

See the example for @table in the previous section.

@itemx

Use the @itemx command inside a table when you have two or more first column entries for the same item, each of which should appear on a line of its own. Use @itemx for all but the first entry; @itemx should always follow an @item command. The @itemx command works exactly like @item except that it does not generate extra vertical space above the first column text.

For example,

@table @code
@item upcase
@itemx downcase
These two functions accept a character or a string as
argument, and return the corresponding upper case (lower
case) character or string.
@end table

This produces:

upcase
downcase
These two functions accept a character or a string as argument, and return the corresponding upper case (lower case) character or string.

(Note also that this example illustrates multi-line supporting text in a two-column table.)

Multi-column Tables

@multitable allows you to construct tables with any number of columns, with each column having any width you like.

You define the column widths on the @multitable line itself, and write each row of the actual table following an @item command, with columns separated by an @tab command. Finally, @end multitable completes the table. Details in the sections below.

Multitable Column Widths

You can define the column widths for a multitable in two ways: as fractions of the line length; or with a prototype row. Mixing the two methods is not supported. In either case, the widths are defined entirely on the same line as the @multitable command.

  1. To specify column widths as fractions of the line length, write @columnfractions and the decimal numbers (presumably less than 1) after the @multitable command, as in:
    @multitable @columnfractions .33 .33 .33
    
    The fractions need not add up exactly to 1.0, as these do not. This allows you to produce tables that do not need the full line length. You can use a leading zero if you wish.
  2. To specify a prototype row, write the longest entry for each column enclosed in braces after the @multitable command. For example:
    @multitable {some text for column one} {for column two}
    
    The first column will then have the width of the typeset `some text for column one', and the second column the width of `for column two'. The prototype entries need not appear in the table itself. Although we used simple text in this example, the prototype entries can contain Texinfo commands; markup commands such as @code are particularly likely to be useful.

Multitable Rows

After the @multitable command defining the column widths (see the previous section), you begin each row in the body of a multitable with @item, and separate the column entries with @tab. Line breaks are not special within the table body, and you may break input lines in your source file as necessary.

Here is a complete example of a multi-column table (the text is from The GNU Emacs Manual, see section `Splitting Windows' in The GNU Emacs Manual):

@multitable @columnfractions .15 .45 .4
@item Key @tab Command @tab Description
@item C-x 2
@tab @code{split-window-vertically}
@tab Split the selected window into two windows,
with one above the other.
@item C-x 3
@tab @code{split-window-horizontally}
@tab Split the selected window into two windows
positioned side by side.
@item C-Mouse-2
@tab
@tab In the mode line or scroll bar of a window,
split that window.
@end multitable

produces:

Key C-x 2 C-x 3 C-Mouse-2
Command Description
split-window-vertically Split the selected window into two windows, with one above the other.
split-window-horizontally Split the selected window into two windows positioned side by side.
In the mode line or scroll bar of a window, split that window.


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