I have been using MikTex 2.9's pdflatex for several years with sample code similar to:

 \begin{pspicture}(0,0)(4, 4)

That would generate a stand-alone PDF file that I would then bring into a main document with \includegraphics.

After a recent update (and then clean re-install) of MikTex 2.9 though, this code no longer compiles. The compiling output is essentially identical to the original compiling that works, until these errors are triggered:

<C:/Program Files (x86)/MiKTeX 2.9/fonts/type1/public/amsfonts/cm/cmmi10.pfb>
<C:/Program Files (x86)/MiKTeX 2.9/fonts/type1/public/amsfonts/cm/cmr10.pfb>
Error: /typecheck in --div--
Operand stack:
   1   0   0.0   TeXcolorgray   65781.8
Execution stack:
   %interp_exit   .runexec2   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   2   %stopped_push   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   false   1   %stopped_push   1926   1   3   %oparray_pop   1925   1   3   %oparray_pop   1909   1   3   %oparray_pop   1803   1   3   %oparray_pop   --nostringval--   %errorexec_pop   .runexec2   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   2   %stopped_push   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   --nostringval--   5   --nostringval--   %repeat_continue   --nostringval--
Dictionary stack:
   --dict:1169/1684(ro)(G)--   --dict:0/20(G)--   --dict:167/200(L)--   --dict:180/300(L)--
Current allocation mode is local
Current file position is 174298
MiKTeX GPL Ghostscript 9.05: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1
PDFCROP 1.38, 2012/11/02 - Copyright (c) 2002-2012 by Heiko Oberdiek.

!!! Warning: Empty Bounding Box is returned by Ghostscript!
!!!   Page 1: 0 0 0 0
!!! Either there is a problem with the page or with Ghostscript.
!!! Recovery is tried by embedding the page in its original size.

==> 1 page written on `sample-pics.pdf'.
"auto-pst-pdf: End auxiliary LaTeX compilation"

and then later,

 [Loading MPS to PDF converter (version 2006.09.02).]
 ! Undefined control sequence.
 <recently read> \c@lor@to@ps 

 l.7 \psaxes{-}(0,0)(0,0)(4,4)[$x$,0][$y$,0]

 ? OK, entering \batchmode

Summary: For over a year, MikTeX's pdflatex compiled the above file with no problems, and generated a usable PDF. Now, with a new install of MikTeX, pdflatex no longer compiles. [File still compiles on a computer with an older installation]

Command used for both: pdflatex --enable-write18 sample.tex

Any suggestions for what has changed and how to fix this would be welcome. I would be open, under duress, to developing a new workflow with xetex or one of the other tools, but I would strongly prefer something that goes from emacs editing to a PDF in one step. Thanks,


3 Answers 3


I've had the same problem for a few months. Something must have changed in pstricks. My solution was to remove the pdf option, and replace it with what the option does: loading auto-pst-pdf after pstricks.

  • Thanks @Bernard for the suggestion; I just came across the following comment on another post ([link]tex.stackexchange.com/questions/70664/…). They indicated \usepackage{pstricks,auto-pst-pdf} bold, while my original \usepackage[pdf]{pstricks} \usepackage[pdf]{pstricks} no longer does. I changed to the one-line pstricks,auto-pst-pdf and everything seems to be back up and running. Nov 10, 2015 at 23:53

With the standalone class your example fails with another error due to a option clash with preview. With article I can reproduce your error and it is due to a bug in pstricks: There are too many braces and so it loads auto-pst-pdf in a group. One can demonstrate the problem with this code:


 \begin{pspicture}(0,0)(4, 4)

You should make a bug report.

  • Thanks @ulrike-fischer: I'll try to follow up with a bug report to the MikTex group. Nov 10, 2015 at 23:57
  • It is not a miktex bug, you should write the pstricks maintainer. I dropped him a mail. Nov 11, 2015 at 8:11
  • Thanks Ulrike - I've never quite internalized the Byzantine relationships in the package/software hierarchy for TeX/LateX, so I appreciate you sending the bug report in the right direction. - Alan Nov 11, 2015 at 15:09

it makes no real sense to use documentclass standalone together with package auto-pst-pdf. Both will run latex in the background. However, there are some special cases for loading auto-pst-pdf from within pstricks which make things complecated. I created a new file pstricks-pdf which makes it easier to load auto-pst-pdf. It should be available for tomorrows update for TeXLive. Until the use:

 \begin{pspicture}(0,0)(4, 4)
  • It doesn't compile without error for me with standalone class, I get an option clash error for preview. \documentclass[border=10pt,crop]{standalone} seems to work. Nov 12, 2015 at 13:45
  • do not use the pstricks option for standalone
    – user2478
    Nov 12, 2015 at 14:00
  • \documentclass[border=10pt]{standalone} gives ! LaTeX Error: Option clash for package preview. too. One needs either the option preview=false or crop to avoid that standalone loads prewiev with other options than auto-pst-pdf. And only the option crop gives a "cropped" image. Nov 12, 2015 at 14:08
  • I cannot see it with up-to-date TL and pstricks-sty version 0.61 (CTAN)
    – user2478
    Nov 12, 2015 at 14:13
  • I found the source of the problem: I had a local standalone.cfg in the test folder and it prevented the loading of the default cfg (which would set the crop option) Nov 12, 2015 at 14:28

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