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Issues: 00121

Lettered lists longer than alphabet (>26 items) don’t compile
Raised by
Date opened
Sunday, 16 December 2007
The compactenum latex used to compile lettered lists is great but has an unfortunate limitation: it crashes if the number of items exceeds length of alphabet (26 items). This contrasts with web browser behavior which renders the list as A…Z, AA, AB, AC. I filed a request to extend this feature with the LATEX team (latex/3993), and they pointed out that this is a well-documented limitation though it’s probably ripe for reconsideration. No solution is planned in LATEX at this time. Also if a solution were planned, sounds like it could just as easily be A…Z, AA, BB, CC… though I like the first convention more.
Proposed solution
LATEX folks recommended adding a variation of the following above \begin{document}:
\def\@alph#1{\ifcase#1\or a\or b\or c\or d\or e\or f\or g\or h\or i\or
  j\or k\or l\or m\or n\or o\or p\or q\or r\or s\or t\or u\or v\or
  w\or x\or y\or z\or aa\or ab\or ac\or ad\or ae\or af\or ag\or ah\or
  ai\or aj\or ak\or al\or am\or an\or ao\or ap\or aq\or ar\or as\or
  at\or au\or av\or aw\or ax\or ay\or az\else\@ctrerr\fi}
\def\@Alph#1{\ifcase#1\or A\or B\or C\or D\or E\or F\or G\or H\or I\or
  J\or K\or L\or M\or N\or O\or P\or Q\or R\or S\or T\or U\or V\or
  W\or X\or Y\or Z\or AA\or AB\or AC\or AD\or AE\or AF\or AG\or AH\or
  AI\or AJ\or AK\or AL\or AM\or AN\or AO\or AP\or AQ\or AR\or AS\or
  AT\or AU\or AV\or AW\or AX\or AY\or AZ\else\@ctrerr\fi}

Don’t know how far list counter should go (but think it should go at least to 52 items).

The HTML specification states [1]: “This specification does not define how alphabetic systems wrap at the end of the alphabet. For instance, after 26 list items, ‘lower-latin’ rendering is undefined. Therefore, for long lists, we recommend that authors specify true numbers.”

A demonstration is available on Examples.Numbered List Styles. More investigation is needed to choose a preferred numbering scheme for items above 26. The most common practice (at least in UK English print documents) is to use aa, bb, cc, … This feature is included in server version 0.9.7e — see Tuesday, 29 January 2008.

Date closed
Tuesday, 29 January 2008

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