Accents misbehave in tabbing

So you are constructing a tabbing environment, and you have the need of some diacriticised text — perhaps something as simple as \’{e} — and the accent disappears because it has been interpreted as a tabbing command, and everything goes wrong.

This is really a rather ghastly feature of the tabbing environment; in order to type accented characters you need to use the \a kludge: so \a’{e} inside tabbing for \’{e} outside, and similarly \a‘ for \ and \a= for \=. This whole procedure is of course hideous and error-prone.

The simplest alternative is to type in an encoding that has the diacriticised characters in it, and to use an appropriate encoding definition file in the inputenc package. So for example, type:

\usepackage[latin1]{inputenc}
...
\begin{tabbing}
...
... \> voilà \> ...

for:

…\quad voilà\quad …

and the internal mechanisms of the inputenc package will put the right version of the accent command in there.

A witty reversal of the rôles is introduced by the package Tabbing (note the capital “T”): it provides a Tabbing environment which duplicates tabbing, but all the single-character commands become complicated objects. So tabbing’s \> becomes \TAB>, \= becomes \TAB=, and so on. The above trivial example would therefore become:

\usepackage{Tabbing}
...
\begin{Tabbing}
  ...  ... \TAB> voil\`a \TAB> ...

Tabbing.sty
macros/latex/contrib/Tabbing (or browse the directory); catalogue entry

This question on the Web: http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?label=tabacc