For a markdown doc that has the following preamble:

title: Cloud Capstone Task1
subtitle: Airline Dataset Queries 
documentclass: scrartcl
author: Stephen Boesch
geometry: "fontsize=9pt left=1.5cm,right=1.5cm,top=2cm,bottom=2cm"
fontsize: 9pt
    theme: lumen
    fig_caption: yes        
- \usepackage{fancyhdr}
- \pagestyle{fancy}
- \fancyhead[C]{Airlines DataSet Queries}
- \fancyhead[R]{\thepage}
- \fancyfoot[LE,RO]{\thepage}

And for which there are zero additional tex (or pandoc) directives in the corpus- the following error is stubbornly not going away:

Error producing PDF.
! LaTeX Error: Can be used only in preamble.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.

l.275 \usepackage

Why is it pointing to a line 275 .. there is no such \usepackage there..

Here is the pandoc command:

pandoc --toc -css pandoc.css -V fontsize=9pt --pdf-engine xelatex -V geometry:"left=1.5cm,right=1.5cm,top=2cm,bottom=2cm" -o Task1.pdf Task1.md

So what is happening here?

  • 1
    line 275 can refer to the line in some file input by your document (including some of the packages). Mar 11, 2019 at 13:42
  • Your example works without any problems for me. Try checking that you're not using a custom template, and that you're using the most recent versions of Pandoc and TeX Live. Mar 11, 2019 at 15:36
  • May depends on css source and some recent pandoc changes may now need -c xxx.css [and optional -s or -standalone]
    – user170109
    Mar 11, 2019 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


It appears that the pandoc.css were the issue. I had pulled it from a reputable source so had not considered that as a possible cause.

Later I will update on what precisely in the file has caused the mismatch.

  • 2
    If that's really the case, it would be a bug, as CSS is only used for HTML and EPUB (PDF is affected only if using an HTML-to-PDF engine). Mar 11, 2019 at 17:15

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