To include MetaPost pictures in a latex file compiled by pdflatex I usually do something like


but this requires all metapost output to have extension .mps (which is usually fine — one can just add the line filenametemplate "%j-%c.mps"; into .mp source). Is there a way to include mps pictures with their usual filenames (smth.1, smth.2, etc.)?

Update: I usually need it to recompile some old files with PDFLaTeX — so I need some recipe that adds couple of lines in the preamble but not requires to changes everything.

I tried to invent some hack (for Windows, to be compiled with pdflatex -enable-write18):

\DeclareGraphicsRule{.1}{pdf}{.1.pdf}{`copy #1 #1.eps && epstopdf #1.eps}

which indeed generates smth.1.pdf but fails with the error

! Package pdftex.def Error: File `smth-1-converted-to.1.pdf' not found.

Update 2: The question was answered but maybe someone knows how to make this hack work?

  • @vanden it's not a question about metapost — are you sure it needs metapost tag?
    – Grigory M
    Aug 11, 2010 at 20:38
  • I don't do much graphics. I took the presence of "metapost" in the title and the details about metapost extensions to indicate metapost content. But, as you as asker think not, I've reverted.
    – vanden
    Aug 11, 2010 at 20:59

3 Answers 3


Just do:

% etc. 
  • 1
    Now I'm feeling infinitely stupid
    – Grigory M
    Aug 11, 2010 at 21:49
  • Even "\DeclareGraphicsRule{}{mps}{}{}", maybe. But AFAIR it didn't work in some situation...
    – Grigory M
    Aug 11, 2010 at 22:32

Almost five years after the question.

With the latest versions of Metapost it is possible to change the default naming scheme for output files: the statement

outputtemplate := "%j-%c.mps";

will produce, from file name.mp. files named as name-1.mps and so on. This is much preferable, because no further instruction is needed under pdflatex, which knows how to process MPS files.

Under LuaLaTeX, the luamplib package allows for direct embedding of Metapost code in the document.

The same is possible under all engines with the packages gmp or mpgraphics. The package emp also allows something similar, but with several limitations.

  • It should be said, however, that the embedding of MetaPost code by mpgraphics and gmp is necessarily less direct than the one allowed by luamplib with LuaLaTeX: you have to activate the shell-escape option with gmp as with mpgraphics if you want your pictures processed in one run. This is not the case with luamplib. This one having still the obvious disadvantage of being compatible with Lua(La)TeX only :-) Apr 23, 2015 at 6:03
  • @fpast Everything you said is correct.
    – egreg
    Apr 23, 2015 at 8:30

Do you know that there's a package for encapsulating metapost figures in LaTeX? It's called emp.

  • Didn't know about it, thanks (but it certainly doesn't resolve my problem).
    – Grigory M
    Aug 11, 2010 at 20:33
  • Just trying add helpful information. :)
    – Stefan Kottwitz
    Aug 11, 2010 at 20:47
  • Does emp have any support for Luatex/mplib? Aug 11, 2010 at 21:04
  • LuaTeX is based on PDFTeX and has mplib baked in so there should be no need for encapsulation of MetaPost graphics.
    – Sharpie
    Aug 11, 2010 at 22:12
  • 1
    @Charles, @Sharpie: in luatex, emp is superceded by the 'luamplib' package, which defines an environment and makes sure the library results are correctly included in the output. Aug 15, 2010 at 15:44

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