How to change LaTeX’s “fixed names”

LaTeX document classes define several typographic operations that need ‘canned text’ (text not supplied by the user). In the earliest days of LaTeX 2.09 these bits of text were built in to the body of LaTeX’s macros and were rather difficult to change, but “fixed name” macros were introduced for the benefit of those wishing to use LaTeX in languages other than English. For example, the special section produced by the \tableofcontents command is always called \contentsname (or rather, what \contentsname is defined to mean). Changing the canned text is now one of the easiest customisations a user can do to LaTeX.

The canned text macros are all of the form \‹thing›name, and changing them is simplicity itself. Put:

\renewcommand{\‹thing›name}{Res minor}
in the preamble of your document, and the job is done. (However, beware of the babel package, which requires you to use a different mechanism: be sure to check changing babel names if you’re using it.)

The names that are defined in the standard LaTeX classes (and the makeidx package) are listed below. Some of the names are only defined in a subset of the classes (and the letter class has a set of names all of its own); the list shows the specialisation of each name, where appropriate.

\abstractname Abstract
\alsoname see also (makeidx package)
\appendixname Appendix
\bibname Bibliography (report,book)
\ccname cc (letter)
\chaptername Chapter (report,book)
\contentsname Contents
\enclname encl (letter)
\figurename Figure (for captions)
\headtoname To (letter)
\indexname Index
\listfigurename List of Figures
\listtablename List of Tables
\pagename Page (letter)
\partname Part
\refname References (article)
\seename see (makeidx package)
Table (for caption)