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11.5 Translating characters

Character translation is done with `translit':

 -- Builtin: translit (STRING, CHARS, [REPLACEMENT])
     Expands to STRING, with each character that occurs in CHARS
     translated into the character from REPLACEMENT with the same index.

     If REPLACEMENT is shorter than CHARS, the excess characters of
     CHARS are deleted from the expansion; if CHARS is shorter, the
     excess characters in REPLACEMENT are silently ignored.  If
     REPLACEMENT is omitted, all characters in STRING that are present
     in CHARS are deleted from the expansion.  If a character appears
     more than once in CHARS, only the first instance is used in making
     the translation.  Only a single translation pass is made, even if
     characters in REPLACEMENT also appear in CHARS.

     As a GNU extension, both CHARS and REPLACEMENT can contain
     character-ranges, e.g., `a-z' (meaning all lowercase letters) or
     `0-9' (meaning all digits).  To include a dash `-' in CHARS or
     REPLACEMENT, place it first or last in the entire string, or as
     the last character of a range.  Back-to-back ranges can share a
     common endpoint.  It is not an error for the last character in the
     range to be `larger' than the first.  In that case, the range runs
     backwards, i.e., `9-0' means the string `9876543210'.  The
     expansion of a range is dependent on the underlying encoding of
     characters, so using ranges is not always portable between

     The macro `translit' is recognized only with parameters.

     translit(`GNUs not Unix', `A-Z')
     =>s not nix
     translit(`GNUs not Unix', `a-z', `A-Z')
     translit(`GNUs not Unix', `A-Z', `z-a')
     =>tmfs not fnix
     translit(`+,-12345', `+--1-5', `<;>a-c-a')
     translit(`abcdef', `aabdef', `bcged')

   In the ASCII encoding, the first example deletes all uppercase
letters, the second converts lowercase to uppercase, and the third
`mirrors' all uppercase letters, while converting them to lowercase.
The two first cases are by far the most common, even though they are not
portable to EBCDIC or other encodings.  The fourth example shows a
range ending in `-', as well as back-to-back ranges.  The final example
shows that `a' is mapped to `b', not `c'; the resulting `b' is not
further remapped to `g'; the `d' and `e' are swapped, and the `f' is

   Omitting CHARS evokes a warning, but still produces output.

     error-->m4:stdin:1: Warning: too few arguments to builtin `translit'

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