I have a long .tex file and I want to know the compilation time: duration, begin - finish.

Can I add this information to the PDF or display it in .log file?

  • 6
    If you use arara, it will tell you the time it took. Other than that you can use, say, l3bechmark. Or some other tool: if you're using Linux, you can do time pdflatex mydoc.tex. Aug 26, 2019 at 12:37
  • 1
    @PhelypeOleinik good suggestions, but those do not print the times to the pdf or log file as asked in the question (maybe l3benchmark does that or can do that, the manual only talks about 'printing to the terminal' but possibly that also means the log file?)
    – Marijn
    Aug 26, 2019 at 15:09
  • @Marijn l3benchmark prints to the terminal (and to the log, by consequence). It could be changed to print to the pdf, if needed. arara has its own log file, if asked for. time is a command line tool, so no log for that one. I posted an answer with my three suggestions. Aug 26, 2019 at 20:45

2 Answers 2


There are quite a few options. Here are three:

From within LaTeX, using l3benchmark

Add this to the very top of your document:

\AtEndDocument { \benchmark_toc: }

The \benchmark_tic: instruction will start a timer, and \AtEndDocument the corresponding \benchmark_toc: will measure the time elapsed since the \benchmark_tic:. This will usually be enough to measure the execution time of your document: it will only include an extra \ExplSyntaxOff and exclude some of the \end{document} code. If you want to be really precise, then you can load etoolbox and replace that with (test document included):

\AfterEndDocument { \benchmark_toc: }
% Test document:

The \benchmark_tic: will start right before your document, and the \benchmark_toc: will be (almost) the last thing TeX will do before exiting. However this time does not include the initialisation of the TeX engine (should be negligible), and the final processing for the inclusion of fonts (in pdfTeX and LuaTeX) or conversion from the DVI file to PDF (in XeTeX), which may take a little while, depending on the size of the document and the number of included font files.

Running that the terminal (and the .log file) will contain a (l3benchmark) + TIC at the beginning, and then a (l3benchmark) + TOC: 0.745 s before the final messages from the TeX engine.

Using arara to run the job and time it

With the same example document, using an arara header and running it:

% arara: pdflatex

the terminal will show:

phelype@oleinik ~/tex.sx> arara test.tex
  __ _ _ __ __ _ _ __ __ _ 
 / _` | '__/ _` | '__/ _` |
| (_| | | | (_| | | | (_| |
 \__,_|_|  \__,_|_|  \__,_|

Processing 'test.tex' (size: 60 KB, last modified: 08/26/2019
17:14:41), please wait.

(PDFLaTeX) PDFLaTeX engine .............................. SUCCESS

Total: 1.22 seconds
phelype@oleinik ~/tex.sx>

so you have to bear in mind that arara adds some overhead time, but it shouldn't be significant in larger jobs. If you run arara with -l (--log) it will create an arara.log file, whose final line will be something like:

26 ago 2019 17:20:20.548 INFO  - Total: 1.22 seconds

Using some other tool

If you're on Linux, you can use the command line tool time:

phelype@oleinik ~/tex.sx> time pdflatex test.tex

after the processing the terminal will look like this:

Transcript written on test.log.

real    0m1.009s
user    0m0.984s
sys     0m0.024s

indicating approximately 1 s of run time.

Other systems might have other tools to do the same task, e.g. measure-command in Windows Powershell.


The same document consistently reported in my system (approximate times, but not much difference between one run and the next):

(l3benchmark) + TOC: 0.745 s
Total: 1.22 seconds
real    0m1.009s

which probably means that TeX took 0.745 s to process my document, another 0.264 s (1.009 – 0.745) for the inclusion of fonts and closing the PDF file, and arara took 0.220 s on top of that to do its thing. So depending on what exactly you want to measure, one way or another will give a better result, but all should be approximately equal for large enough jobs.

Note that since l3benchmark measures from within the TeX run, the time it will print correspond to one TeX run only. If your document needs multiple runs and/or external tools like BibTeX, MakeIndex, etc. then the time that arara or time or whatever tool will print will certainly be bigger than the time printed by l3benchmark, because they add up the time to run all processes, rather than one single TeX run.

Again, depends what on what you want to measure: if you're interested in the performance of your TeX code, then go for l3benchmark, but if you're interested in the time that it really takes to run the job, then use something else.

  • 1
    One point of caution! time in Bash is a builtin (see help time) and does not offer the same formatting options (-f) as the command line tool(s) of the name. Either use command time -f "..." ... (or conversely builtin time ...) or it will only work for the most trivial case (like in your example). May 18, 2020 at 15:21

Building on Phelype's answer under "Using some other tool":

On Windows you can use Measure-Command in PowerShell to get results similar to time in Linux, e.g:

measure-command {latexmk sample-document}

More details at this link: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3513650/timing-a-commands-execution-in-powershell

I have a long document (~70 pages with a long bibliography and lots of fonts) that takes 1 min 43 sec for first compilation, but l3benchmark only records 21 sec in the .log file.

Note: measure-command does not work with the continuous preview function of latexmk.

  • l3benchmark only measures one run of the document, whereas measure-command (I assume) measures the time the process latexmk sample-document takes to end, and since latexmk runs LaTeX multiple times, that might explain the difference you see. Thanks for the edit, by the way :-) May 18, 2020 at 17:13
  • Thanks for the clarification. It might be good to mention that in your answer. You're welcome for the edit :).
    – Norbert-op
    May 18, 2020 at 23:19

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