This page contains a simple recipe to create PDF from your latex sources using pdflatex without doing much effort and in such a way that you still can compile your file using latex. It is assumed that you have a LinuX like OS, unless otherwise stated. Everything works best with Acrobat Reader.


latex file compiles the file.tex to file.dvi. Correspondingly

 pdflatex file

generates file.pdf. Note that the file extension tex is not required. In its simplest form, pdflatex does not require any source code modification. However you also do not get bookmarks or other pdf features (see bookmarks). Furthermore, if you include encapsulated postscript or if you include postscript specific usepackages like pstricks, pdflatex may fail, since postscript cannot be included directly (see graphics).

Bookmarks and Hyperlinks

The latex package hyperref automatically creates bookpdflatexmarks corresponding to your sections. Using this package also creates hyperlinks following your \cite and \ref references. Include this package as the last used package in the document preamble:


The default coloring and surrounding of hyperlinks (e.g. a light green box around http links) can be changed. Example:

 \usepackage[colorlinks=true, pdfstartview=FitV, linkcolor=blue, 
citecolor=blue, urlcolor=blue]{hyperref}

Here is more hyperref documentation.

You can set the information fields in the generated PDF file

          /Title      (Why the system crashed)            
          /Author     (me)
          /Keywords   (XML Java OOA/OOD Corba COM)          

This info shows up in page information, this is a field specific for acrobat reader.

Other hyperref commands are the following:

\href{http://www.math.rug.nl/~jacob}{Homepage} creates a http link.
\href{file:target#page.1}{target.pdf on page 1} link to the file target.pdf and is opened at page 1.
\href{file:target#TestTarget}{target.pdf at anchor TestTarget} same as previous but now opens at anchor TestTarget. This anchor should be put into target.tex at a desired location: \hypertarget{TestTarget}{hi}
\href{run:app}{run application app} starts application app
\texorpdfstring{\pi-calucus}{pi-calculus} in pdf bookmarks (generated for sections) we cannot use tex-symbols. This command produces the pi-symbol in the tex-article, as well in the bookmark

Including Graphics

Pdflatex cannot include encapsulated postscript directly. But you can use a Perl utility to convert the encapsulated postscript to PDF:

 epstopdf file.eps

reads in file.eps and writes the content of it to file.pdf. It is convenient to put the following in your .bashrc file:

 eps2pdf ()
    for arg;   
        echo "$arg => ${arg/eps/pdf}";     
        epstopdf $arg;   

since now multiple files can be used. For instance,

 eps2pdf *.eps

converts all eps-files in the current directory into pdf.

New: Heiko Oberdiek has written a nice style-file epstopdf.sty so that this al happens automatically! It works with both graphics and graphicx package. What is required:

  • The command epstopdf should be available
  • Use 'pdflatex -shell-escape' file to complile your file
  • Use \usepackage[pdftex]{graphics} (or graphicx)
  • Use \usepackage{epstopdf}
    Make sure that the style file epstopdf is on the LaTeX search path: for LinuX, create an environment variable TEXINPUTS as follows. Put the following line in your .bashrc file:


    The '//' at the end makes LaTeX to recurse into all the subdirectories. Note the colon at the end! For win32 machines, an executable epstopdf.exe is available. This requires ghostscript to be installed on your system. See http://www.agh.edu.pl/pub/tex/support/epstopdf/ for more information.

    Do not include the file extension of the figures:


    is sufficient; both LaTeX and latex2html automatically search for figure.eps while pdlatex searches for figure.pdf.
    With pdflatex, other graphics types can be used, but that you have to declare. Put the following just after \documentclass in your source file:

    Now pdflatex also searches for jpg files if you use \pdfgraphics command right after \begin{document}. According to the manual it is also possible to include tif, gif and png images as well, but I don't no how. Simply extending the \DeclareGrphicsExtentions does not work. It is also convenient to put the \pdfinfo command into this:

    \ifpdf\pdfinfo{/Title (Why the system crashed) /Author (me) /Keywords (XML Java OOA/OOD Corba COM)\fi

    Now the file compiles with either LaTeX or pdflatex.

    Important note

    Do not use PostScript specific command like psfrag and pstrics to generate your figure. They are not portable! If you want to use mathematical expressions in your figure, I advise you to use xfig and choose Combined PS/LaTeX (both parts) to export your figure. It generates file.pstex and file.pstex_t. Just use LaTeX mathematical expressions in xfig and don't forget to set special flag for the text. Then the LaTeX mathematical expressions go into file.pstex_t and the others are saved into file.pstex, which you need to rename to file.eps. You can convert this file.eps file into PDF file using epstopdf. You also need to delete the file extension .pstex in \includegraphics command in the top of file.pstex_t file. In your LaTeX file you use \input{file.pstex_t} instead of \includegraphics{file.pstex_t} to include a figure.
    For more information about xfig, please refer to the help menu in xfig.

    All Figures in a separate folder

    If you want to keep all your graphics in a separate folder, use


    instead of including all graphics giving an absolute path.

    Known Problems

    List of figures seems broken with pdflatex and hyperref. I try to find a solution. ;-)

    Solution found on page :

    => Delete all .aux .toc .lof .lot files and compile again.
    Then you should get correct .lof, (.toc, ...) files.

    Making Slides

    Making slides with pdflatex is not hard. A lot of thinks works with both latex and pdflatex. A very simple example:

          \usepackage[pdfmode=None,colorlinks]{hyperref}%pdfpagemode=None no left
                                                        %navigation bar
          \ifpdf\pdfcatalog{/PageMode /FullScreen}%start directly maximized and 
          \fi                                     %in Full screen mode 
          \textcolor{red}{hi, colors are also available. This only works if the
          optional argument colorlinks of hyperref is invoked}

    Of course you can include more pdf stuff. It is possible to create 'powerpoint'-like slides with the use of ppower4, including dynamical effects.

    A very nice package that does not require any postprocessing as ppower4 does is texpower. Check out the following example or code. The total example is available in zip-format. For IWInet users, a total package called IWIpress is available, inluding a manual and RuG-logo's.


    Summarizing the above comes down to the following:

      %%Create new if environment
      \usepackage[colorlinks=true, pdfstartview=FitV, linkcolor=blue,
                                        citecolor=blue, urlcolor=blue]{hyperref} 
      \ifpdf\pdfinfo{/Title      (Why the system crashed)
                     /Author     (me)            
                     /Keywords   (XML Java OOA/OOD Corba COM)

    and then compile with either 'latex' or 'pdflatex -shell-escape'.


    A very nice editor is available for the K-desktop environment running under Linux: ktexmaker2. A lot of things are all intergrated in one simple editor. Integrated is for example:

  • compile with latex or pdflatex via a button or from a menu.
  • dvips
  • ps2pdf
  • latex2html
  • bibtex
  • idx

    Very usefull is for instance that errors can be dealt with one at the time by choosing 'next latex error' and clicking on the linenumber displayed is sufficient to jump to that line in the file. You do not have to search for the error in the tex-file. The cycle compile latex->preview dvi->... works best. If the file is compiled with pdflatex and previewed with e.g. acroread, to see the changes made the file must be reopened. It is also possible to:

  • select vertical or horizontal textblocks ('toggle vertical/horizontal selection' in menu 'edit')
  • use multiple files for one document
  • make very easily a bib file.
  • view the structure of your file, displayed in a left sidebar. It shows for instance sections and used labels. This is usefull for navigation. What is showed in this side bar can be altered.
  • use wizards for inserting tables and arrays of appropriate dimension
  • the menu's 'latex', 'math','greek' and 'wizard' gives the possibility to insert various latex commands without typing a single character
  • inserting the brackets for an array environment, e.g. a matrix
  • (un)comment a whole selected block
  • ordinary editor things like copy,cut and paste, check spelling (in most Linux applications selecting is already copying it and paste is pressing middle mouse button)

    And a whole lot more is possible. For MS Windows systems, a very popular editor is winedit. It is much older then ktexmaker2 and is even more advanced. For instance it is even possible to create your own menus, enlarge existing menus (create your own latex environment and put it into some menu).


  • PDFLaTeX page of TeX User's Group web site.
  • Local latex information
  • List of available packages on CTAN
  • ktexmaker2 page
  • WinEdit page

  • All LaTeX-commands

  • A simple example.
  • An advanced example.

    The following explains the map files: