[OS X TeX] using variables in text via references or labels

Gert van Oss gertmt at mac.com
Mon Mar 30 17:35:53 EDT 2009

Thank you both! It took me some minutes to find out how to install  
some missing parts of Latex: datatool, xfor.

And then I got the example to work, this is exactly what works for me!  
I didn't know how to look for this solution as I didn't know something  
like this existed.

I'm using very large tables in my documents but I'll just create a  
summary-table with the specific numbers that I'll want to mention in  
my text so efficiency is not a problem. It will anyhow always be  
better then scanning my screen for a number I might have forgotten to  

Thanks again,

On 30 mrt 2009, at 23:08, Alan Munn wrote:

> At 8:31 PM +0200 3/30/09, Gert van Oss wrote:
>> dear all,
>> I've had some problem making up a clear subject line and stil am in  
>> doubt whether I've succeded. What I'm trying to achieve is the  
>> following.
>> My documents have often various tables and charts embedded via the
>>   \input{table_file}
>> command.
>> While explaining my tables/charts I'm mentioning actual numbers (as  
>> listed in the tables) in my text. Is it somehow possible to create  
>> a list of numbers in my latex document and have them called via a  
>> reference in my text? This would enable me to run a somewhat  
>> related scenario in my numbers and udpate both my tables with  
>> numbers and have all numbers changed in the text as well.
>> I was thinking this should be possible while using \labels, \ref  
>> but for the moment can't stretch my mind to find a solution.
> As Ross mentioned, there's no good way to refer to the elements of a  
> table in LaTeX format. For tabular data from external sources I use  
> datatool.sty and keep the data in Excel or OpenOffice csv files.   
> The following is a small proof of concept that would allow you to  
> make reference to individual cells in a table stored in a csv file  
> and created using datatool.
> For figures, I don't see a solution, but if the figures have an  
> associated table, the same solution could be used (even if the table  
> for the figure isn't displayed in the document.)
> Alan
> ---cut here---
> % Proof of concept for arbitrary reference to table cells using  
> datatool.
> % This assumes that your table's first column contains row numbers  
> (used
> % for indexing the rows).  If tables are very large, this could get  
> quite
> % inefficient, since the \getrow command rereads the database each  
> time.
> % For the current example, the database t1.csv consists of the  
> following:
> % Cut and past this and save as t1.csv (without the % and leading  
> spaces).
> % ---t1.csv---
> % Index,A,B,C,D
> % 1,10,20,40,80
> % 2,8,16,32,64
> % 3,1,2,4,8
> %---t1.csv
> \documentclass{article}
> \usepackage{datatool}
> % Define a command which takes a database name and a rownumber as  
> arguments
> % and returns the elements of that row as separate commands. This is  
> to be
> % used for reference to particular cells.
> %
> \newcommand{\getrow}[2]{%
> \DTLforeach*[\DTLiseq{\myindex}{#2}]{#1}{%
> \myindex=Index,\myindex=Index,\tableA=A,\tableB=B,\tableC=C, 
> \tableD=D}}
> \begin{document}
> \begin{table}
> \DTLloaddb{t1}{t1.csv}
> \centering
> \begin{tabular}{llll}
> \DTLforeach{t1}{%
> \myindex=Index,\tableA=A,\tableB=B,\tableC=C,\tableD=D}{%
> \\
> \tableA & \tableB & \tableC & \tableD}
> \end{tabular}
> \caption{Some numbers}
> \end{table}
> As we can see from the table the element in row 1 column 4 is  
> \getrow{t1}{1}\tableD, is a small number.
> \end{document}
> -- 
> Alan Munn						amunn at msu.edu
> Department of Linguistics
> and Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages		Tel. 	517-355-7491
> Michigan State University, East Lansing MI 48824 USA	Fax	517-432-2736
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