I am trying to externalize tikz-picture by using the externalize library. I am using Miktex 2.9. I activate the external feature by using


and also tried

\tikzexternalize[shell escape=-enable-write18]

I just use the command mentioned in the manual:

pdflatex -shell-escape main 

and start this in the commandfunction of windwos inside the directory with the main.tex I even tried choosing the pdflatex.exe directly. At the beginning it seems fine, he creates main-figure0 files but then suddenly stopped with an error:

! Package tikz Error: Sorry, the system call 'pdflatex -halt-on-error - interaction=batchmode -jobname "main-figure0" \def\tikzexternalrealjob{main}\input{main}" ' did NOT result in a usable output file 'main-figure0' (expected one of .pdf:.jpg:.jpeg:.png:). Please verify that you have enabled system calls. For pdflatex, this is 'pdflatex -shell-escape'.

The tikz-picture itseld seems to right as without externalize it is drawn since it just contains a

\draw (1,0) to (2,4);

Without externalize this compiles fine.

Added MWE:



\draw (1,0) to (2,4);

I used:

pdflatex -shell-escape external_test

figure0.log says at the end:

! Missing } inserted.
<inserted text> 
l.12 \end{document}

Real structure of the project:

    -> \documentclass{scrbook}
        [...] usepackages


        -> \documentclass[tikz]{standalone}
        [...] usepackages


Anyone an idea?

  • 1
    To me, this setup looks strange. Do you really externalize from a standalone document? When using article with the respective usepackage it should work as intended. – TeXnician Aug 27 '18 at 11:27
  • 1
    I don't quite get this: You are externalizing pictures that are in separate standalone files? Why not using one or the other version? This way seems very tricky for no additional benefit. – TeXnician Aug 27 '18 at 12:32
  • I use the standalone_file just for creation of the picture to check if it looks right. At the end i have to compile the tikzpicture using the main_file to make sure all references and all fonts are the same. But i see you are right, i can just use the .pdf by using \includepicture – SRel Aug 27 '18 at 12:35
  • Use \usepackage{tikz} instead of [tikz] and compile with pdflatex -shell-escape %. Then it should work. If you like to save your tikz figures in an extra folder you could use \tikzexternalize%[prefix=TikzPDFs/] with \tikzsetnextfilename{YourFileNameOfOutputA}before every tikzpicture. – Bobyandbob Sep 9 '18 at 12:19
  • @SRel have you to tried it? Does it work for you too? – Bobyandbob Sep 30 '18 at 21:01

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