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So I'm having problems with TikzExternalize. I have a paper with a large amount of dynamically built graphs. I get to a certain point in my files and I can't build anymore. Once I get to this point I can no longer build any of the files I was building earlier, if I comment that figure out it works perfectly again. If I insert a totally different figure it has the same issue. An example code for the figure is below, I'm also using these in a pdfscape and multicolumn environment

Happens with something as simple as the code below:

  \draw (0,0) --(1,2);

Here is the error:

! Package tikz Error: Sorry, the system call 'pdflatex -shell-escape -halt-on-e
rror -interaction=batchmode -jobname "tikzfigures/Report-figure53" "\def\tikzex
ternalrealjob{Report}\input{Report}"' did NOT result in a usable output file 't
ikzfigures/Report-figure53' (expected one of .pdf:.jpg:.jpeg:.png:). Please ver
ify that you have enabled system calls. For pdflatex, this is 'pdflatex -shell-
escape'. Sometimes it is also named 'write 18' or something like that. Or maybe
the command simply failed? Error messages can be found in 'tikzfigures/Report-
figure53.log'. If you continue now, I'll try to typeset the picture.

In the file all I get is the usual junk and:

!  ==> Fatal error occurred, no output PDF file


\documentclass[]             % options: RDPonly, coveronly, nocover
{article}                       %   plus standard article class options

\usetikzlibrary{shapes,arrows, positioning, calc, external}

      \draw (0,0) --(1,2);


      \draw (0,0) --(1,2);


      \draw (0,0) --(1,2);

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closed as too localized by cyberSingularity, Stefan Kottwitz Jan 18 '13 at 21:38

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which tex distribution you are using? May be update is in order! – Harish Kumar Dec 13 '12 at 23:02
Did you check tikzfigures/Report-figure53.log as suggested by the error message? – You Dec 14 '12 at 0:50
Perhaps you are running out of space in the device? (unlikely, but...) – JLDiaz Dec 14 '12 at 10:04
Even if compiling with the \tikzexternalize commented out, I get ! Dimension too large. But it works when commenting out all the multicols and \columnbreak stuff. – cyberSingularity Dec 17 '12 at 13:54
You have declared that there will be two columns (\begin{multicols}{2}) but are trying to have three columns (two occurrences of \columnbreak). I get the same error as you when replacing the tikzpictures by lipsum and changing either the number of columns or number of \columnbreaks fixes it. – Loop Space Dec 17 '12 at 14:01