First time posting here, and my english isn't that good but i'll try to explain my problem the best I can. I'm trying to externalize a figure, that was built using chemfig. Now the problem is that when I use \tikzexternalize it changes the position all the arrows of the fig. and it crops part of the figure. The figure is a description of electron movements of a molecule.

This is what I get without \tikzexternalize (the way i'm looking for after externalize)

enter image description here

This is what I get when I use \tikzexternalize

enter image description here

This is the code i'm using:



\chemmove{\draw[-{Stealth[left]},shorten >=2pt](a1).. controls +(80:8mm)  and +(45:5mm) .. (a2);}


I really don't know how to fix it. Any pointers on info that I could check would be really appreciated because all my searches have failed on this.

  • Please see tex.stackexchange.com/a/129914 Does it help?
    – cgnieder
    Nov 2, 2014 at 23:23
  • Thanks but it dosen't. I've been looking around and i think the problem is with the \chemmove option in the chemfig manual says: "Actually, the \chemmove command puts its argument in a “tikzpicture” environment with the options “remember picture, overlay”. So it looks like there might be a problem with that and i cant figure out how to fix it. Thanks anyways.
    – Leothan
    Nov 3, 2014 at 2:51
  • Well, the idea behind the post I linked is to disable externalization for the piece of code that doesn't work... That really doesn't work? Strange...
    – cgnieder
    Nov 3, 2014 at 6:41

1 Answer 1


I've communicate with the developer of chemfig, and he point me out an aspect that I wasn't considering:

You can't externalize a tikz picture made with "overlay,remember picture" options. It is not a chemfig limitation: it is a tikz limitation!

Therefore, \chemmove can't be externalized.

Have a look at, for example, this question : Tikz External vs. Overlay

So that's it.

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