Do you think it's possible to include images into LaTeX without specifying the exact path to them. So instead of:


It would be:


While the image would still reside in the path/to/image/ directory. Basically, I'm asking if there is a macro that can recursively search for the image.

An alternative for me is to write a script outside of LaTeX that determines all the images that are included, performs the recursive search and copies those files temporarily in the same directory as the .tex file.

3 Answers 3


You can do this the following ways:

  1. Use the \graphicspath macro:

  2. Define the environment variable TEXINPUTS to contain the path:


    Note the leading '.' (current dir) and the trailing empty field (default texmf tree).

  3. Put your graphics in an own local texmf tree, so that they are found automatically. Then the path doesn't has to be defined. However this causes problems if you have multiple files with the same name in different directories.

  • See also my answer to the question "How to switch from using color graphics to grayscale graphics?" for further information about the topic of variable graphic input paths. Mar 8, 2011 at 20:09
  • Doesn't this also cause problem in case you want to share the project, including its figures? They all live somewhere else, and zipping/taring will miss them. Am I right?
    – Dror
    Apr 6, 2011 at 6:55
  • 1
    @Dror: If you use subdirectories with the first method and include these in the ZIP file it should be fine. You can't have everything at once. Apr 6, 2011 at 8:20

The TeX Directory Structure (TDS) reserves the images "package" name for includable graphics. So if you want your graphics to be findable and to be TDS-compliant, put them in ${TEXMFHOME}/tex/generic/images.

(personal story, name drop alert) I brought this up on texhax ages ago and Karl Berry said he had completely forgotten about that convention despite the fact that he's TDS editor. Apparently it's not used by many distributions. But I've found it handy.


What you can also do is to put every figures (that you wanted to include) into ~/texmf/tex/latex/figs directory and from the .tex source file, just simply use \includegraphics{figs/myfig.pdf}. Of course you can also put the images in ~/texmf/tex/latex directory but, keeping everything in the latex (your .sty files, other LaTeX settings) in the same folder is a bit messy.

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