Today I had this error message on compiling a document:

! Package babel Error: The character '"' is not a shorthand character in french

After commenting a lot of things I finally identified the culprit: Using the pdf option with pstricks. Here is a minimal example:

\documentclass[11pt, a4paper]{article}

% \usepackage{auto-pst-pdf, pstricks}



\psset{xunit = 0.5cm, plotstyle = curve}
\psplot[linecolor=blue,linewidth=1.5pt, algebraic]{-10}{10}{1/(1 + x^2)}%


Replacing [french] with, say, german results in no error message.

Same thing if I comment usepackage[pdf]{pstricks} and uncomment \usepackage{autopst-pdf,pstricks}.

Is there something to be done?

Another question about the pdf option of pstricks: Packages like pst-plot or pstricks-add load pstricks; why don't they pass the pdf option on to pstricks? For most of my work, I only have to load pstricks-add. If I want to use this option I also have to explicitly write \usepackage[pdf]{pstricks} first.

  • 2
    as an aside, the x^2 from your code appears on this site as a unicode upperscript 2, and testing the code necessitates rewriting it as x^2.
    – user4686
    Feb 18, 2014 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


there are some problems if pstricks is loaded before auto-pst-pdf. Use

\documentclass[11pt, a4paper]{article}


  • Yes, I didn't take care of that. But the main problem is that I don't have to load auto-pst-pdf if I use the pdf option, and that conflicts with the french option of babel. The commented line with auto-pst-pdf is there only to ease comparing the different ways to do things.
    – Bernard
    Feb 18, 2014 at 20:06
  • the pdf option does nothing else than loading auto-pst-pdf, but in this case too late.
    – user2478
    Feb 18, 2014 at 20:08
  • OK, I see. But why does directly loading auto-pst-pdf not conflict with french, and using the pdf option of pstricks does?
    – Bernard
    Feb 18, 2014 at 20:27
  • As I already wrote: With [pdf] the pstricks.sty package is loaded first and then auto-pst-pdf
    – user2478
    Feb 18, 2014 at 20:41
  • @Herbert Is this conflict documented somewhere in pstricks-add or pstricks ? Ignorant Q: Is it good idea to add [pdf] option for other pstricks addons pst-plot,pstricks-add. Feb 19, 2014 at 0:22

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