Suddenly I am getting the cryptic "Text line contains an invalid character" errors (100 of them) on all my beamer files. Even this MWE doesn't work right:



Sample document. 


I am using the latest TeXnicCenter (2.02 stable) and Miktex 2.9 - what has gone wrong?

My feeling is that something is screwed up with the encodings but I can't figure out what.

UPDATE: Texmaker doesn't work either, giving this error: "A funny symbol that I can't read has just been input."

  • 1
    Did it say exactly which lines are problematic
    – daleif
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 20:24
  • Just for the fun of it, what happens if you use the Texmaker or texstudio editors?
    – daleif
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 20:27
  • @daleif Texmaker fails as well. They all blame line 1. Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 20:43
  • 2
    What is the encode shown by TeXmaker? You can read it on the status bar.
    – Sigur
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 20:54
  • 2
    You could look with a hex editor, if you have a Byte Order Mark (BOM) at the start of your file. You shouldn't have one of those.
    – Juri Robl
    Commented Dec 26, 2013 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


Having seen the .tex file, there is no problem with the code. The .log on the other hand reveals that the culprit is ifpdf.sty, after receiving ifpdf.sty by email we can conclude it is corrupt. In my emacs all the file contains is ^@.

I recommend a MikTeX reinstall, or even moving to TL (just because I generally prefer TL over MikTeX even on Windows).

  • Thanks a lot for putting time and effort into this. Is there a way to fix the mess without reinstalling engines? Say, would re-installing the ifpdf package suffice? Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 17:20
  • We have no idea if there are other packages that are messed up, so it would be better to reinstall. Also your beamer is from 2010, there has been a lot of updates since then.
    – daleif
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 17:26

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