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Syntax (autogenerated)

\startsection[...=...,...][...=...,...] ... \stopsection
generated by \definesection


bookmark text
list text
marking text
reference ref
title text
[...,...=...,...] user variable assignments


This family of commands are only available in ConTeXt MkIV. They supersede the sectioning commands \part, \chapter, \section, \subsection, \subsubsection, \title, \subject, \subsubject, and \subsubsubject.

The new commands, collectively documented here, are \startpart, \startchapter, \startsection, \startsubsection, \startsubsubsection, \starttitle, \startsubject, \startsubsubject, and \startsubsubsubject. These more verbose commands apply an environment (\start- and \stop-) approach to sectioning, which is more friendly to tagged-PDF, ePUB and XML output.

Sectioning is hierarchical. Numbered parts are divided into numbered chapters, themselves divided into numbered sections, subsections, and subsubsections etc. Chapters and sections etc. have unnumbered counterparts called titles, subjects, subsubjects, and subsubsubjects etc., respectively. (There are actually a couple more sub-levels than listed here.) Chapters start a new page (by default—this is easily configurable). Parts are unusual in two respects: firstly, there is no unnumbered counterpart to parts; and secondly, the title of a part is not typeset automatically, as it will generally require special attention and design.

Additional section types can be defined (based on one of the existing sections) with the \definehead command. A user-defined section type will have its own \start- and \stopsection commands, in addition to a traditional \section command. These new commands will behave as documented here

The typesetting of section types (both built-in and user-defined) can be controlled with the \setupheads and \setuphead commands.


The first argument defines the visible and cross-referencing properties of the section.

  • title is the title that will be used to create the section heading. Alternative versions of the title may also be specified:
  • list is used in combined-lists (i.e. the table of contents),
  • marking is used in headers and footers, and
  • bookmark is used in PDF bookmarks, if enabled (see \setupinteraction and \placebookmarks). The main title is used if these are not specified.
  • reference specifies the reference-key for use with cross-referencing commands (see \at and \in).

The second, optional, argument allows section-local user-variables to be assigned. The values of these variables can be recalled with the \structureuservariable command.

If you need a line break in a title, you can use \\, it will create a line break on location, but a space in list and marking context. Unfortunately it will appear literally in PDF bookmarks.


% mode=mkiv

    title={Section One},

For a subsection, see \in{subsection}[sec:Two:Sec].


    title={Section Two},
[a_variable={some value}]


    title={Here’s a subsection},

In this subsection there’s some text\ldots



% mode=mkiv




See also


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