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If I have an image named plot1.eps in my working directory then I create the following document named test.tex with emacs:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{graphicx}
\title{Brief Article} \author{The Author}
\begin{document}
\maketitle
Hello world
\begin{figure}[ht]
\includegraphics[totalheight=0.3\textheight]{plot1}
\caption{test}
\end{figure}
\end{document}

so the only two files in my working directory are: plot1.eps and test.tex. Now I try to compile with

C-c-c RET

This won't successfully compile but when I try to "go to the errors" with C-c-`, I'll get the following error message, along with the mac sound "bumpp":

Error occured after last TeX file closed

...basically providing no useful information whatsoever. Now, a pdf will be generated anyways that has a blank box where the image should be.

Looking into the working directory we see that there is no plot1-eps-converted-to.pdf present, which up until today has always happened automatically. If I open a up separate terminal, go to the working directory and compile it manually:

pdflatex test.tex

then all is well and the plot1-eps-converted-to.pdf file is generated. From there I can edit the document like I normally would, with C-c-c and C-c-` working as expected.

I swear that I've been including eps files and compiling as normal for weeks and have never experienced this kind of behavior until today. Ideally there's two things I'd like to work through:

1) Set up my emacs/auctex environment so it automatically generates the necessary pdfs from the eps files 2) Set up emacs/auctex environment so it provides actual useful information, namely pointing to the error and giving a description rather than the above error message and bump sound.

Some version information (I checked the version of pdflatex from the terminal but I'm not sure how to check it from within emacs):

OSX
10.8.5

pdfTeX 3.1415926-2.5-1.40.14 (TeX Live 2013)
kpathsea version 6.1.1
Copyright 2013 Peter Breitenlohner (eTeX)/Han The Thanh (pdfTeX).
There is NO warranty.  Redistribution of this software is
covered by the terms of both the pdfTeX copyright and
the Lesser GNU General Public License.
For more information about these matters, see the file
named COPYING and the pdfTeX source.
Primary author of pdfTeX: Peter Breitenlohner (eTeX)/Han The Thanh (pdfTeX).
Compiled with libpng 1.6.1; using libpng 1.6.1
Compiled with zlib 1.2.7; using zlib 1.2.7
Compiled with xpdf version 3.03

auctex
11.87.2012-12-04

emacs
24.3.1 (x86_64-apple-darwin, NS apple-appkit-1038.36) of 2013-03-12 on bob.porkrind.org

also this is a copy of my .emacs file:

(custom-set-variables
 ;; custom-set-variables was added by Custom.
 ;; If you edit it by hand, you could mess it up, so be careful.
 ;; Your init file should contain only one such instance.
 ;; If there is more than one, they won't work right.
 '(LaTeX-command "latex")
 '(TeX-PDF-mode t)
 '(TeX-command-list (quote (("TeX" "%(PDF)%(tex) %`%S%(PDFout)%(mode)%' %t" TeX-run-TeX nil (plain-tex-mode texinfo-mode ams-tex-mode) :help "Run plain TeX") ("LaTeX" "%`%l%(mode)%' %t" TeX-run-TeX nil (latex-mode doctex-mode) :help "Run LaTeX") ("Makeinfo" "makeinfo %t" TeX-run-compile nil (texinfo-mode) :help "Run Makeinfo with Info output") ("Makeinfo HTML" "makeinfo --html %t" TeX-run-compile nil (texinfo-mode) :help "Run Makeinfo with HTML output") ("AmSTeX" "%(PDF)amstex %`%S%(PDFout)%(mode)%' %t" TeX-run-TeX nil (ams-tex-mode) :help "Run AMSTeX") ("ConTeXt" "texexec --once --texutil %(execopts)%t" TeX-run-TeX nil (context-mode) :help "Run ConTeXt once") ("ConTeXt Full" "texexec %(execopts)%t" TeX-run-TeX nil (context-mode) :help "Run ConTeXt until completion") ("BibTeX" "bibtex %s" TeX-run-BibTeX nil t :help "Run BibTeX") ("Biber" "biber %s" TeX-run-Biber nil t :help "Run Biber") ("View" "open -a Preview %s.pdf" TeX-run-discard-or-function t t :help "Run Viewer") ("Print" "%p" TeX-run-command t t :help "Print the file") ("Queue" "%q" TeX-run-background nil t :help "View the printer queue" :visible TeX-queue-command) ("File" "%(o?)dvips %d -o %f " TeX-run-command t t :help "Generate PostScript file") ("Index" "makeindex %s" TeX-run-command nil t :help "Create index file") ("Check" "lacheck %s" TeX-run-compile nil (latex-mode) :help "Check LaTeX file for correctness") ("Spell" "(TeX-ispell-document \"\")" TeX-run-function nil t :help "Spell-check the document") ("Clean" "TeX-clean" TeX-run-function nil t :help "Delete generated intermediate files") ("Clean All" "(TeX-clean t)" TeX-run-function nil t :help "Delete generated intermediate and output files") ("Other" "" TeX-run-command t t :help "Run an arbitrary command"))))
 '(ns-alternate-modifier (quote control))
 '(ns-command-modifier (quote meta)))
(custom-set-faces
 ;; custom-set-faces was added by Custom.
 ;; If you edit it by hand, you could mess it up, so be careful.
 ;; Your init file should contain only one such instance.
 ;; If there is more than one, they won't work right.
 )

;; Trying show where auctex is
(setenv "PATH" (concat (getenv "PATH") ":/usr/texbin"))
(setq exec-path (append exec-path '("/usr/texbin")))

;; prevent silly initial splash screen
(setq inhibit-splash-screen t)
;; added to use aspell (which is invoked with ispell)
(setq ispell-program-name "/opt/local/bin/aspell")
;; functionality to go to line number
(global-set-key "\C-xg" 'goto-line)
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