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Chapter 4. The Layout of the Page > 4.3. Dynamic page data: page numbers and ma...

4.3. Dynamic page data: page numbers and marks

LaTeX’s output routine, which produces the typeset pages, works asynchronously. That is, LaTeX assembles and prepares enough material to be sure that a page can be filled and then builds that page, usually leaving some residual material behind to be used on the next page(s). Thus, while preparing headings, paragraphs, and other page elements, it is usually not known on which page this material will eventually be placed because LaTeX might eventually decide that this material will not fit on the current page. (We have already discussed this problem in the section about page-wise footnote numbering.)

When the final page is typeset, we might want to repeat some information from its contents in the running header or footer (e.g., the current section head), to give the reader extra guidance. You cannot save this information in commands when the material is collected; during this phase LaTeX often reads too far ahead and your command would then contain data not appearing on the final page. LaTeX solves this problem by providing a mark mechanism through which you can identify data as being of interest for the assembled page. In the output routine all marks from the page are collected and the first and the last mark are made available. The detailed mechanism is explained in this section together with some useful extension packages.


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