This question is a LaTeX question, although it might actually be resolved by changing the build procedure of the document instead of the document itself.

I have a document that includes a bunch of subfiles, where each has preamble of its own. I use the standalone package to accomplish this.

Now I have two versions of my main.tex file, where each only contains the preamble and an \include{...} list of all the subfiles. The two main files compile fine, each yielding a layout-wise different version of the document (one optimized for A4 printing, using two-column layout and somesuch, and one that is for ebook displays).

Now I have a Makefile that builds both versions of the document. But since Make builds the two independent documents at the same time, pdfLaTeX is run on the standalone sub-documents separately and in parallel, causing all kinds of awkward errors, since files are written and read at the same time by two different instances of pdfLaTeX.

I can think of several solutions to this problem, but wanted to ask for suggestions:

  • Simply don't build the two documents simultaneously. Easiest solution, but somewhat unsatisfactory.
  • Don't use standalone and remove preamble from subfiles. Since I have ~30 subfiles, this would be non negelegible amount of open-and-delete-work, plus I like the feature of being able to compile the subdocuments separately for developement/debugging.
  • Use an alternative to standalone that doesn't have this problem (is there one?)
  • Somehow tell standalone to use different filenames for the helper files for the two different document versions (my favourite, but I don't know if it's possible)

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    You can force make to execute sequentially - google found this stackoverflow solution: stackoverflow.com/questions/14838851/… Mar 31, 2013 at 14:11
  • 2
    if you just have the \include version you can process individual files with pdflatex \includeonly{file1}\input main Mar 31, 2013 at 14:28
  • If the dependencies are well set, make should compile things in the right order. Another question is how to generate the dependencies automatically from the source files (like makedepend)
    – alfC
    Jul 29, 2013 at 20:53
  • 1
    It's not clear to me why you are running two pdfLaTeX runs at the same time: what's wrong with doing them sequentially? make should be doing that anyway!
    – Joseph Wright
    Aug 11, 2013 at 11:42


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