A template is a directory inside $CONFIG/templates that consists of a config.yml and any number of .tex files.

For instance, if we wanted a template named mat, we would have the directory $CONFIG/templates/mat and the file $CONFIG/templates/mat/config.yml, along with some .tex files in the directory

What follows will form an example template.


In config.yml the following variables can/need to be defined:

  • An engine.

We only officially support pdflatex, xelatex, and lualatex, but under the hood we are just calling latexmk -pdflatex=ENGINE -pdf problems.tex so you may have some luck with more exotic engines.

  • A texfiles with key-val pairs (where values must be strings). Keys are the names of the .tex files in the directory, values are the names of the compiled PDF.

Template variables (for example, {title}) can be passed into the value and parsed correctly based on the value passed into vars (see below). They are delimited with curly braces, as they have no special meaning in Strict YAML (unlike regular YAML).

  • An optional integer problem_count. This is the number of problems that should be in your contest. This helps mapm build report a helpful error if the number of problems is incorrect, rather than letting latexmk fail silently, or having a problem not show up.

    However, for contests with a variable number of problems, this will not be helpful, so you may elect not to include the problem_count key at all, or to include it in contest.yml.

  • A string array vars.

This sets up the allowed variables for contest files. On one hand, the contest file will warn you if any variables passed into the contest file aren't defined in the problem file. On the other, it will throw an error if variables defined in config.yml are not defined in the contest file.

  • A string array problemvars.

This checks that any problem used in a contest using this template has these variables set. This is so errors can helpfully be caught and displayed by the library, rather than having cryptic error messages pop up when latexmk tries to do its thing.

Only variables used in the TeX document itself should be passed into this string array. Thus, if you want to track something like difficulty through a variable in your problem files, you can enforce it by using mapm find to find any files that do not have the difficulty variable set.

  • A string array solutionvars.

Serves the same function as problemvars, only it's used for the \solvar LaTeX macro.

Here is an example of a valid config.yml.

engine: pdflatex
problem_count: 12
  problems.tex: "{title}.pdf"
  solutions.tex: "{title}-sols.pdf"
  - title
  - year

(We string escape because otherwise, YAML would read the { character and interpret it as "start a block".)

TeX Macros

Don't define these macros in your template, because mapm.sty is going to use them.

  • \mapmvar
  • \probcount
  • \probname
  • \probvar
  • \solvar
  • \solcount

And that's it! mapm tries to get out of your way, so it does not reserve a lot of macros for its public interface.


To access the values of the variables defined in a contest file (see the section on config.yml in this page of the documentation), use \mapmvar{key} to get the value associated with said key. For instance, if contest.yml looks like this

  - title: Math Advancement Tournament
  - year: 2021

then writing \mapmvar{year} in any template .tex file will print 2021 for this specific contest.


Writing \probcount returns the number of problems in your contest.

This is useful for looping through every problem in a contest, particularly if there are a variable number of problems.


Writing \probname{n} returns the problem name (determined by the filename) of problem n.


Similar to \mapmvar, writing \probvar{n}{var} gets the value associated with variable var in problem n of the contest.

Note that problems are 1-indexed.

Take the following config.yml

  - addition

and let addition.yml, which must be in the directory defined by the MAPM_PROBLEM_PATH environment variable, have

problem: What is $1+1$?

Then \probvar{1}{problem} will return What is $1+1$?


\solvar{n}{i}{var} will return the value of var for solution i of problem n. Take the following example, building off of the previous one.


  - addition


problem: What is $1+1$?
  - text: It's probably $2$.
    author: Dennis Chen


To get the number of solutions of problem n in a contest, write \solcount{n}.

This is only intended to be used to define \solutions as seen in the example solutions.tex that will follow soon.


Any key passed into texfiles must also be a complete .tex document inside the tempalte directory, as it will be copy-pasted verbatim into the contest build directory when mapm build is run. It also must contain \usepackage{mapm}.

These texfiles are the only documents that will be compiled with latexmk. You can include other files --- like other .tex subfiles meant to be included or images --- in the template directory. Do note that the file mapm-vars.tex will be generated by mapm build, so do not include a file with that name in your template whatsoever.

For simplicity's sake, let us build off of our config.yml and use problems.tex and solutions.tex as examples --- they are the two texfiles that most people will commonly use.


To input the variable with key key, use \mapmvar{key} and it will return the value of key.

You can also get the name of a certain problem with \probname{number}. This is not so useful for actual contests, but can be used for the preview and preview-all templates.

Here is an example of a valid problems.tex based on the previous config.yml.


  \probvar{#1}{problem}% You might want to put this in your own mapm extension package.

\author{Math Advance}


\problem{1} % equivalent to writing \probvar{1}{problem}


In this template, to input every solution of problem n, we use \solutions{n}. (In theory you can define and use this command in problems.tex, or indeed, any texfile, but it semantically makes zero reason to do so outside of the solutions file. The same applies for \solvar in general.)

Here is an example of a valid solutions.tex, adapted from the previous problems.tex.


% You might want to put these macros in your own mapm extension package.


  \foreach \n in {1,...\solcount{#1}} {
    \emph{Solution by \solvar{#1}{\n}{author}}


\title{\mapmvar{title} Solutions}
\author{Math Advance}




Dotfiles are ignored

Any hidden files or directories (i.e. files or directories that begin with .) will not be copied. The motivating reason for this change is because of .git (tracking templates with version control is good).