I use an external document by both \input-ting it and cross-referecing labels. It looks a bit like this:

In picture \ref{external-link}, you see ...

However, I get lots of xr warnings like:

Package zref-xr Warning: File `external' not found or empty, labels not imported

So I think I need to run latex/pdflatex to create them. However, I don't want to make full pdfs off the external files (this would fail since they don't even include any packages - they are already as put in after \begin{document}). So can I generate only .aux-files for each external document?

Has someone a solution for Linux from shell (no GUI, please)?

  • 3
    I don't understand the question. If you input the tex file it is not an external document. So why don't you use \ref{link}? Oct 25, 2014 at 10:35
  • @UlrikeFischer oh yes, it suffices to simply use \input without any external documents - many thanks.
    – Johannes
    Oct 25, 2014 at 11:01
  • in your case you do not need it at all as you are inputting the files, but the answer to the question as written is basically no, especially for \pagreref you really need to typeset the external file to know what numbers should be written to the aux file. Oct 25, 2014 at 11:52

1 Answer 1


The zref package is not required, as you can input the source of the document you want to reference (\input{external}).

Just use \ref{label}.

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