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9.1.7 @var{metasyntactic-variable}

Use the @var command to indicate metasyntactic variables. A metasyntactic variable is something that stands for another piece of text. For example, you should use a metasyntactic variable in the documentation of a function to describe the arguments that are passed to that function.

Do not use @var for the names of normal variables in computer programs. These are specific names, so @code is correct for them (@code). For example, the Emacs Lisp variable texinfo-tex-command is not a metasyntactic variable; it is properly formatted using @code.

Do not use @var for environment variables either; @env is correct for them (see the next section).

The effect of @var in the Info file is to change the case of the argument to all uppercase. In the printed manual and HTML output, the argument is output in slanted type.

For example,

To delete file @var{filename},
type @samp{rm @var{filename}}.


To delete file filename, type ‘rm filename’.

(Note that @var may appear inside @code, @samp, @file, etc.)

Write a metasyntactic variable all in lowercase without spaces, and use hyphens to make it more readable. Thus, the Texinfo source for the illustration of how to begin a Texinfo manual looks like this:

\input texinfo
@@setfilename @var{info-file-name}
@@settitle @var{name-of-manual}

This produces:

\input texinfo
@setfilename info-file-name
@settitle name-of-manual

In some documentation styles, metasyntactic variables are shown with angle brackets, for example:

…, type rm <filename>

However, that is not the style that Texinfo uses.

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