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titleps for fancyhdr users

Headers and footers in standard LaTeX are somewhat clumsy. For years, fancyhdr has been the most popular way to redefine them, and rightly so. If you know how to redefine pages styles with fancyhdr and now you want to learn how to use titleps, this little guide will help you.

Marking mechanism

Perhaps the biggest difference is that you must forget about \leftmark, \rightmark, \markboth and \markright, as well as redefining \sectionmark and the like.

Marks are handled by titleps behind the scenes, and instead of a single mark (either \leftmark or \rightmark) containing all the data partly formatted, you have access to separate ordinary commands like \thesection.

In other words, with titleps all the format is done in the page style, and not partly when the mark is emitted and partly when the mark is retrieved.

For example:

    \sethead[\colorbox{black}{\color{white}{\thepage}}]%  even-left
            [\chaptertitle]%                              even-center
            [\colorbox{CornflowerBlue}{\thesection}]%     even-right
            {\colorbox{CornflowerBlue}{\thesection}}%     odd-left
            {\sectiontitle}%                              odd-center
            {\colorbox{black}{\color{white}{\thepage}}}%  odd-right

This gives:

You can even write, for example, \thesection on the footer and \sectiontitle on the header.

Uppercased titles

Standard LaTeX classes uppercase the titles of table of contents, indexes, etc., when putting marks. If you do not want titles to be uppercased, fancyhdr provides \nouppercase, but this trick is not necessary with titlps, because the mark is taken directly from the argument of sectioning command without further processing. Unfortunately, sectioning commands have to be patched slightly, but it should work with any class keeping the original LaTeX syntax.

No default page style

The basic idea of fancyhdr is that there is a new page style named fancy, which can be customized. On the other hand, titleps provides a way for creating an arbitrary number of pages styles. Unlike fancyhdr, by default titleps page styles are empty and there is no need to clear them with \fancyhf{}.

Multiline headers

Multiline headers currently require a bit more work in titleps, because headers are horizontal boxes and line breaks are not allowed. However, it is pretty simple, and you have more control:


Note the extra {} in the 3rd optional argument (even-right), because tabular has in turn an optional argument.

Very likely you will see in the log warnings (one per page) similar to :

  Overfull \vbox (6.69997pt too high) has occurred while \output is active

All you need then is to set \headheight accordingly:


Extra marks

When fancyhdr was last released (2004), e-TeX and derivates (like pdftex) were not widely used yet. It uses a smart trick to provide a couple of extra marks, but little more. Instead, titleps takes full advantage of the multiple sets of marks provided by the e-TeX engine or compatible (pdftex, XeTeX, luatex), which is currently the default for LaTeX in most systems. Please, read the manual for further details.


Currently, titleps has nothing similar to \iffootnote. On the other hand, you can assign a page style to a specific float (perhaps a bleed), much like a \thispagestyle for floats.

A present?

The packages listed here are free – you don’t have to pay anything to use them. However, if you have found them useful enough as to give me a little present, I would be very grateful. Just go to the following wish list at Amazon.


You might consider supporting the development of these packages with a donation, too.

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Javier Bezos
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© 2000-2021 Javier Bezos