I am successfully using tikz in combination with externalization and pdflatex for some time now. But now I need to switch to latex->dvi->ps. I followed the instructions from the tikz documentation and read a lot of user posts.

I can compile the minimal example (see below) without any errors, but the external image (ps) generated by dvi2ps has the size of an a4-paper. Therefore latex places the figure after "Text before image" and "Text after image".

Is it possible that the bounding box is not determined correctly?

I've tried a similar scenario a couple of months ago on a Mac OS X system and it worked. Now, I am running a Windows system with the most recent MikTeX version (I updated all packages).

Does anybody know, if it is a bug in dvips or in tikz? Or maybe I did something wrong. Thank you for your help!

PS: I also tried a lot of other system calls (pdflatex -> pdftops) and everything from here: Export eps figures from TikZ without any success.


\tikzset{external/system call={latex \tikzexternalcheckshellescape -halt-on-error
-interaction=batchmode -jobname "\image" "\texsource" &&
dvips -o "\image".ps "\image".dvi }}



Text before image.

    \clip (0,0) rectangle (1,1);
    \draw[red] (0,0) -- (1,1);
    \draw[red] (1,0) -- (0,1);
    \draw[blue] (0,0) rectangle (1,1);

Text after image.


Edit: I tried the minimal example on another windows system and got the same a4paper box. Calling

dvips -E* -o "\image".ps "\image".dvi 

instead of the code above leads to a figure without any bounding box. Therefore latex inserts the image on top of the text. It is also possible to change the format as an argument of dvips, but I do not intended, to specifiy a fixed bounding box as a general case.


This is (was) a bug in PGF CVS. Apparently, it entered with PGF 3.0.0 and worked with older PGF releases.

I fixed it a couple of weeks ago; it will be gone with the next version of the external lib.

Your options are

  • wait for the next stable PGF release (long)
  • wait for the next stable pgfplots release 1.11 and use \usepgfplotslibrary{external} (within the next weeks)
  • install the PGF unstable from http://pgf.sourceforge.net/
  • modify the system call such that it uses pstoeps as last item (might be unavailable in windows)

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