I want to produce a picture in PDF format using pdflatex, with nothing else in the page but the picture, so I decided to use the document class minimal


But the \input file contains labels in the form of $\cal{A}$ and when I run pdflatex on the example input above I have

! Undefined control sequence.
<recently read> \cal 

My question is twofold

  • may I use a different document class that defines \cal but doesn't put extraneous stuff on the page?

  • may I load something or define a new command, so that I can use \cal inside a minimal document?

An extra question is, are there other similar gaps in minimal functionality?


The standalone class will even crop the PDF file for you, with customizable borders.

You should never use the minimal class, see Why should the minimal class be avoided?, but you should never use \cal as well.

It is true that \cal still works in the standard classes, but only for back compatibility; the command has been deprecated since 1995.

If you insist on using it, at least use it properly:

${\cal A}$

You may be very surprised if you try something like $\cal{A}_m$, producing

enter image description here

Do yourself a favor and prefer typing the longer, but safer,


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