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7.8.10.5 Information about Compositions

The functions in this section are actual functions; they compose their arguments according to the current language and other display modes, then return a certain measurement of the composition as an integer.

The cwidth function measures the width, in characters, of a composition. For example, ‘cwidth(a + b)’ is 5, and ‘cwidth(a / b)’ is 5 in Normal mode, 1 in Big mode, and 11 in TeX mode (for ‘{a \over b}’). The argument may involve the composition functions described in this section.

The cheight function measures the height of a composition. This is the total number of lines in the argument's printed form.

The functions cascent and cdescent measure the amount of the height that is above (and including) the baseline, or below the baseline, respectively. Thus ‘cascent(x) + cdescent(x)’ always equals ‘cheight(x)’. For a one-line formula like ‘a + b’, cascent returns 1 and cdescent returns 0. For ‘a / b’ in Big mode, cascent returns 2 and cdescent returns 1. The only formula for which cascent will return zero is ‘cvspace(0)’ or equivalents.