It is frequently mentioned that latex and pdflatex are the same program invoked with different defaults for the variable \pdfoutput (0 in the former, 1 in the latter case); see What is the practical difference between latex and pdflatex?. A common advice to enforce pdflatex is therefore to put \pdfoutput=1 within the first 5 lines of the preamble (like http://arxiv.org/help/submit_tex#pdflatex). This fails for the first example using auto-pst-pdf on https://www.tug.org/PSTricks/main.cgi?file=pdf/pdfoutput.





  \rput(-4.5,4.5){A} \rput(4.5,4.5){B}

% removed by poster: \includegraphics{foo}% can be foo.jpg or foo.png


compiles just fine with

$ pdflatex -shell-escape minimal.tex

and yields the desired minimal.pdf. Adding


before (or after) \begindocumentclass[12pt]{article} followed by

$ latex -shell-escape minimal.tex

or even

$ pdflatex -shell-escape minimal.tex

fails with No pages of output and

auto-pst-pdf: Auxiliary LaTeX compilation
This is pdfTeX, Version 3.1415926-2.4-1.40.13 (TeX Live 2012)
entering extended mode

Package auto-pst-pdf Warning: 
    Creation of minimal-autopp.dvi failed.
This warning occured on input line 124.

Package auto-pst-pdf Warning: 
    Could not create minimal-pics.pdf. Auxiliary files not deleted.
This warning occured on input line 124.

auto-pst-pdf: End auxiliary LaTeX compilation

In either case, the corresponding log file minimal-autopp.log says

Package ifplatform Warning: 
shell escape is disabled, so I can only detect \ifwindows.


! Package auto-pst-pdf Error: 
"shell escape" (or "write18") is not enabled:
auto-pst-pdf will not work!

See the auto-pst-pdf package documentation for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.

l.134         Or turn off auto-pst-pdf.}
You need to run LaTeX with the equivalent of "pdflatex -shell-escape"
Or turn off auto-pst-pdf.

So, it seems like the auxiliary pdflatex process which generates the minimal-pics.pdf is now missing the option -shell-escape.

PS: Adding the option [crop=off] to auto-pst-pdf as in auto-pst-pdf Problem does not change anything (and I guess it shouldn't have worked in the first place if that would have been the problem).

  • 2
    Do not use the statement \pdfoutput=... it can be done automatically by the system. Do you have Perl installed?
    – user2478
    Apr 22, 2013 at 8:30
  • 1
    Welcome to TeX.SX. Apr 22, 2013 at 8:38
  • 6
    arXiv's recommendation to put \pdfoutput=1 within the first five lines suggests that they do some sort of preprocessing. This practice is definitely not recommended for normal document writing.
    – egreg
    Apr 22, 2013 at 8:44
  • @Herbert: Yes, Perl is installed: $ perl -v This is perl 5, version 14, subversion 2 (v5.14.2) built for i686-linux-gnu-thread-multi-64int
    – zieglerk
    Apr 22, 2013 at 9:00
  • 1
    @zieglerk: that is not possible. When the file is open you cannot modify the shell escape feature, it's too late.
    – user2478
    Apr 22, 2013 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


The shell-escape feature cannot be activated from within a source file. When the file is open you cannot modify the shell escape feature, it's too late. This is a safe behaviour otherwise one could do any unsecure action.

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