I want to submit a paper to Elsevier using it's `elsarticle` class. My document uses some commands from the latest version of `pgfplots`. However, Elsevier uses a TeXlive distrubution with `pgfplots v1.2.2`.

Has anyone resolved this issue? Is it possible to upload a later version of pgfplots for their building process?

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I don't think this is a (La)TeX question. You should probably contact Elsevier. –  Svend Tveskæg Mar 16 '13 at 12:34
I suppose the comment of @SvendMortensen is the answer. Alternatively, you can consider image externalization - in this case, you could include the final `pdf` images. –  Christian Feuersänger Mar 16 '13 at 13:08
I think the answer is rather as @ChristianFeuersänger suggested. For this, see How can I use TikZ to make standalone graphics? –  Werner Mar 21 '13 at 21:27