Writing LaTeX from Julia

I’m trying to write LaTeX (which I’m sure most of you know involves a lot of backslashes, e.g. \dfrac{3}{5} to create a fraction with numerator 3 and denominator 5) to a text file. By a DuckDuckGo search I found that sed isn’t very LaTeX friendly in itself, so to insert that example piece of LaTeX to say line 19 I’d need to run:

sed -i "19i\\\dfrac{3}{5}" file.tex

I’ve tried using run to run this command in Julia (i.e. I’ve run:

run(`sed -i "19i\\\dfrac{3}{5}" file.tex`)

, and what I get is: dfrac{3}{5} being added to line 19 of file.tex. I’ve tried with fewer backslashes (1 backslash and 2 backslashes have been tried) and it doesn’t fix this error.

Is there a way around this issue?

There’s a package called latexstrings.jl that help you with this.


My best guess would be that for sed to output a \, the slash needs to be escaped, with an extra ‘’, but you need to escape each of those \s in your julia string, for a total of 4.

I’ve looked at the usage info and I’m guessing using:

string = L"\\dfrac{3}{2}"
run(`sed -i "19i $string" file.tex`)

is what you had in mind. While for this case, this works as this is meant to be in an equation and doing this causes $\dfrac{3}{2}$ to be added to file.tex, but not all the LaTeX I want to add will be inline equations, so it doesn’t seem like this is a general solution unless I’m wrong in my usage of it.

Tried four backslashes before dfrac and I get the same result.

@simeonschaub provided me with a general solution to this problem at Write to a particular line in a file. Here’s the function I’m going to use to edit my LaTeX file and insert my LaTeX code (contained within string):

function skiplines(io::IO, n)
    i = 1
    while i <= n
       eof(io) && error("File contains less than $n lines")
       i += read(io, Char) === '\n'

function insertLine(file::String, string::String, lineNr::Integer)
    f = open(file, "r+");
    skiplines(f, lineNr);
    skip(f, -1)
    buf = IOBuffer()
    write(buf, f)
    print(f, string);
    write(f, buf)

For the aforementioned example I’d use the code:

insertLine("file.tex", "\\dfrac{3}{2}", 19)

to call this function.

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Perhaps if you provided some context, you could get a more general solution.

Usually, LaTeX and similar output is easiest to generate from Julia, instead of replacing strings in existing files. You can use a some kind of template for this, or alternatively just write out a tiny snippet like


into a file and \input it in your LaTeX source.