When I have TikZ images or I include .png graphics, I need to use PDFLaTeX instead of plain vanilla LaTeX. (That is, I need to use PDFLaTeX all the time, rather than just when I want to produce the final PDF).

Sometimes I forget that my current document (or one \included in it) contains one of these things. The compilation using latex doesn't work. The errors I get out when this happens don't seem to be meaningful: they don't just say

No such file image.eps


LaTeX can't work TikZ

or the like. Is there anyway I can make these kinds of errors more transparent?

I've often spent ages fiddling with insignificant other bits of code, because I haven't realised it's the image that is messing up the compilation. beamer also sometimes messes up in LaTeX, but I normally spot that one.

  • 5
    Is there a reason why you don't just always use pdflatex?
    – Caramdir
    Aug 1, 2010 at 10:44
  • I was led to believe that latex compiles quicker, and it's the default for AucTeX in emacs (I know I could change that, but I'm lazy)
    – Seamus
    Aug 1, 2010 at 13:10
  • 1
    To put that statement to test, I compiled the paper from complang.tuwien.ac.at/anton/latex-bench with latex and pdflatex. latex takes around 0.64s, while pdflatex takes around 0.75s. So you are correct, but I do not think the difference really matters. Also the historic comparison is quite interesting: ftp.complang.tuwien.ac.at/franz/latex-bench
    – Caramdir
    Aug 1, 2010 at 16:32
  • 2
    For the whole LaTeX source (latex source2e.tex) it's 2.8s vs 3.1s.
    – Caramdir
    Aug 1, 2010 at 16:39
  • 3
    Typically latex + dvips + ps2pdf is much slower than simply using pdflatex. Aug 1, 2010 at 21:47

2 Answers 2


You can use the ifpdf package to test at the beginning of your document whether you're running with pdflatex and, if not, make latex crash with a more meaningful error message.

  • Ideally, redefine the appropriate macros to insert blanks (similar to the draft option …). Aug 1, 2010 at 19:13

If you have both includedimage.png and includedimage.eps in the same directory and your LaTeX code doesn't specify the extension, i.e. it says \includegraphics{includedimage}, then latex will pick up the .eps file and pdflatex will use the .png. Even if you don't feel like converting your .png, you could just use a blank placeholder image in .eps format so that latex will also compile correctly. (If you do feel like converting them but don't currently have an easy way to do it, I recommend ImageMagick convert as an excellent free utility.)

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