Finding the meaning of a command

Posted on June 16, 2020

ConTeXt has a nice command to find a meaning of a command. Sometimes the easiest way to find the meaning of a macro is to simply use


In LMTX, context defaults to running with --batchmode, which means that you then have to hunt for the output of \show in the console output.

ConTeXt comes with a nice script to simply get the meaning of a macro on console.

$ mtxrun --script interface --meaning <macroname>

For example:

$ mtxrun --script interface --meaning dotfill

meaning         > dotfill

protected macro:->\cleaders \hbox {\normalstartimath \mathsurround \zeropoint \mkern 1.5mu.\mkern 1.5mu\normalstopimath }\hfill 

Behind the scenes this runs

mtxrun --silent --script context --extra=meaning --once --noconsole --nostatistics <macroname>

A side effect of this is that a file context-extra.pdf is generated in the current directory. I usually run this command in /tmp. so I don’t mind the extra file.

This entry was posted in CLI and tagged \show.