# Meaningful error messages when using latex instead of pdflatex

When I have TikZ images or I include .png graphics, I need to use pdflatex instead of plain vanilla latex. (That is, I need to use pdflatex all the time, rather than just when I want to produce the final pdf).

Sometimes I forget that my current document (or one \included in it) contains one of these things. The compilation using latex doesn't work. The errors I get out when this happens don't seem to be meaningful: they don't just say "No such file image.eps" or "latex can't work TikZ" or the like. Is there anyway I can make these kinds of errors more transparent?

I've often spent ages fiddling with insignificant other bits of code, because I haven't realised it's the image that is messing up the compilation... Beamer also sometimes messes up in latex, but I normally spot that one...

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Is there a reason why you don't just always use pdflatex? –  Caramdir Aug 1 '10 at 10:44
I was led to believe that latex compiles quicker, and it's the default for AucTeX in emacs (I know I could change that, but I'm lazy) –  Seamus Aug 1 '10 at 13:10
To put that statement to test, I compiled the paper from complang.tuwien.ac.at/anton/latex-bench with latex and pdflatex. latex takes around 0.64s, while pdflatex takes around 0.75s. So you are correct, but I do not think the difference really matters. Also the historic comparison is quite interesting: ftp.complang.tuwien.ac.at/franz/latex-bench –  Caramdir Aug 1 '10 at 16:32
For the whole LaTeX source (latex source2e.tex) it's 2.8s vs 3.1s. –  Caramdir Aug 1 '10 at 16:39
Typically latex + dvips + ps2pdf is much slower than simply using pdflatex. –  Jukka Suomela Aug 1 '10 at 21:47