The example bellow comes from the documentation of TikZ (p610). It does not work my computer. Note that it works when I comment the option [prefix=figures/]. Any idea of what could go wrong here?

% main document, called main.tex
\tikzexternalize[prefix=figures/] % activate

\begin{tikzpicture} % will be written to ’figures/trees.pdf’
\node {root}
child {node {left}}
child {node {right}
child {node {child}}
child {node {child}}
A simple image is \tikz \fill (0,0) circle(5pt);. % will be written to ’figures/simple.pdf’
\begin{tikzpicture} % will be written to ’figures/main-figure0.pdf’
\draw[help lines] (0,0) grid (5,5);
  • 3
    Do you have a directory named figures in your working directory? I just added this directory to my code sandbox and it worked!
    – user31729
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 11:03
  • Oh! The shame is on me! It was so simple! Thanks Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 11:05
  • 1
    If all would be that easy ;-)
    – user31729
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 11:08
  • @ChristianHupfer I created an answer from your comment, in order to tick the question as answered (in two days). But of course, if you add yourself the answer I will choose yours! Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 11:13
  • 1
    No, that's ok... It will give you a self-learner badge then :D
    – user31729
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 11:14

1 Answer 1


Thanks to the comment of Christian Hupfer: The directory named figure must already exist in the working directory. That's all!

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