Several questions I’ve asked on TeX.SE have been related to LaTeX3 and Expl3, and I’ve found myself using both and . This is probably redundant.

When should a question be tagged and when ?

Should the tags be merged?

2 Answers 2


LaTeX3 is much more than expl3.

  • LaTeX3 is about the LaTeX3 project, it is about the successor of LaTeX 2e, i.e. the format LaTeX3, it is about all the different concepts like coffins or the idea of xtemplate...
  • expl3 however is the programming layer of LaTeX3, i.e., one part of many.

I'd tag a question {expl3} (in addition to the {latex3} tag) when the question is about the programming language and its usage, i.e., about all the stuff in interface3 like for example What is the difference between \cs_if_exist:NTF and \cs_if_free:NTF?, and {latex3} in all cases where the question goes beyond, like your xtemplate question or What can *I* do to help the LaTeX3 Project.

I've noticed, however, that many people don't seem to make a distinction between LaTeX3 and expl3 and also the current tagging doesn't seem to be consistent.

  • 1
    I don't think the tags should be 'either/or'. The LaTeX3 tag should be added to any question that deals with LaTeX3 (including questions that are tagged expl3).
    – Alan Munn
    Jun 20, 2013 at 11:36
  • @Alan: you misunderstood me: when I said that expl3 is part of LaTeX3 I thought it implicitly stated that a question about expl3 is also about LaTeX3 but not the other way around :) Maybe I wasn't clear on that...
    – cgnieder
    Jun 20, 2013 at 14:43
  • So pretty much everything tagged expl3, xtemplate, etc., etc., should also be tagged latex3? (Though probably not everything tagged xparse, since that’s being used without thinking about LaTeX3.) Jun 20, 2013 at 15:11
  • 1
    @J.C.Salomon in my opinion: yes
    – cgnieder
    Jun 20, 2013 at 15:22

expl3 is a package that is part of the LaTeX3 project. There are other packages that are also part of LaTeX3 (e.g. the xparse and xcoffins packages, etc.). So the tags (should) serve different purposes: the tag deals with any aspect of LaTeX3, while the tag deals specifically with the functionality that expl3 provides. So I don't think the tags should be merged, and your use of both tags is entirely appropriate.

  • So when is latex3 ever needed; shouldn’t expl3 or xwhatever usually be sufficient? Jun 20, 2013 at 4:30
  • 3
    No, there's an advantage to having more general tags as well as more specific tags. For example, I can 'follow' the latex3 tag without having to worry about following each of the individual package tags.
    – Alan Munn
    Jun 20, 2013 at 11:32
  • @J.C.Salomon Also, I suppose one might ask a question on general latex3 plans or philosophy. Jun 27, 2013 at 10:34

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