Suppose I have a directory containing a bunch of LaTeX source files, and I want to input all of them into a single main file. I could do this by saying


Is there some way to input all of files in the directory "dir" using a single command? This is useful, for example, if I want to keep adding files to the directory "dir" but don't want to have to remember to add further \input commands to the main file.


2 Answers 2


My suggestion is to create one file with all the \input lines automatically and use \input to include this file (and hence, all desired files) into your main document. The best way to keep everything up to date would be a Makefile. On a Unix system you can use this command line to create the file with the input lines:

ls dir/*.tex | awk '{printf "\\input{%s}\n", $1}' > inputs.tex

You would only update inputs.tex once in a while (or automatically) but always use \input{inputs.tex} in your main document. The beauty of using ls (or find) is that you can combine naming some files explicitly and others using shell (glob) patterns to control what files are included in what order.


The GNU Make Makefile rule to do this automatically would look like this:

.PHONY: all
all:   inputs.tex

inputs.tex: $(wildcard dir/*.tex)
  ls dir/*.tex | awk '{printf "\\input{%s}\n", $$1}' > inputs.tex

A call to make would trigger updating the all target, which in turn would update inputs.tex if any of the included TeX files has changed or a new one was added.

Shell Escapes

Reading about shell escapes in PDFLaTeX in the solution mentioned by Faheem Mitha, here is another idea: one could also execute the command line mentioned above from within the LaTeX source file and read \input{inputs.tex} after that. However, I haven't tried this.

  • Parsing the output of ls like this is very bad. It will break if a filename contains e.g., a space! In bash it can be handled very neatly with a loop: { shopt -s nullglob; for file in dir/*.tex; do echo "\\input{$file}"; done; } > inputs.tex. Otherwise it can be handled with make: Replace the outrageous line with, e.g.: @{ $(foreach file,$(wildcard dir/*.tex),echo "\input{$(file)}";) } > inputs.tex Mar 20, 2011 at 16:47
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    @gniourf_gniourf: \input has trouble with spaces in file names. So you would have to do more -- see this question. I intended my answer more as a general idea rather than a perfect solution. Mar 20, 2011 at 18:06
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    @ChristianLindig I had to change your $1 to $$1 in order for make to not think that the $1 is a variable that needs expansion.
    – g33kz0r
    Apr 8, 2012 at 20:57
  • 1
    @g33kz0r You are right, it must be $$1 in the Makefile. Fixed it. Apr 11, 2012 at 7:53

You could use package bashful to do it from within LaTeX, e.g., using gniourf_gniourf suggestion, you would write

{ shopt -s nullglob; for file in dir/*.tex; do echo "\\input{$file}"; done; } 

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