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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 particular variables in programming languages. These are specific names from a program, so @code is correct for them. For example, the Lisp variable texinfo-tex-command is not a metasyntactic variable; it is properly formatted using @code.

The effect of @var in the Info file is to change the case of the argument to all upper case; in the printed manual, to italicize it.

For example,

To delete file @var{filename}, 
type @code{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 lower case 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. (You can, of course, modify the sources to TeX and the Info formatting commands to output the <...> format if you wish.)

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