# [OS X TeX] Invisible character

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at gmail.com
Thu Jun 22 10:54:27 EDT 2006

Jonathan Kew wrote:

> So you want a "placeholder" in the source that the TeXShop macro
> inserts, and you want it to be visible in the source text, but to
> produce nothing in the output if you leave it as-is.

Precisely. (For someone who prides himself for formulating things
precisely, I see I still have a lot to learn.)

> Using a character such as ð or  or any other is risky, as whether
> it'll be visible depends on the encoding and font you happen to be
> using.

As I found out. And it is only now that I begin to understand why.

> How about simply using {} as the placeholder text? That's an empty
> group, and produces no output.

I had noticed but it hadn't occurred to me to try it even though it does
exactly what I wanted. (Sigh.)

However:

1) It is a bit dangerous: if I fail to replace both brackets …
2) I seem to recall that, on occasion something unpleasant happens with
empty brackets.

I will try it though.

But it is becomming obvious that I am not going to get the perfect
invisible place-holder.

Grateful regards.
--schremmer

P.S. to Shen and Lelièvre: As Kew put it, I was looking for a
place-holder. In /that/ respect, \phantom{} and \strut are a bit
cumbersome. But I am intrigued: What is it these commands do that (the
equally cumbersome} \hspace{0mm} doesn't?

P.P.S. In fact, I just realized that if clicking on \phantom{} selects
\phantom but leaves {} unselected, clicking on \strut selects all of it.
So, even though it looks a bit funny, I think it looks like a good
solution. I will try it.

P.S. to Schulz:
1) Robertson's macros do use the bullet as place-holder. But,
occasionally, I use "sparse" tables in which I "leave [many
place-holders] as-is" hence my quest for an invisible place-holder.

2) The encoding I am using is Iso Latin 1 but if you ask me why I will
have to answer that, as of a minute ago, I didn't even know I did, let
alone why. Is it the way TeXShop comes out of the box?

Grateful regards to all
--schremmer
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