I just installed auctex and preview-latex on my mac, and now when I open a tex document I see auctex has been loaded, but when I try to generate a preview I get the following error message:

Running `Preview-LaTeX' on `writeup' with ``latex  "\nonstopmode\nofiles\PassOptionsToPackage{active,tightpage,auctex}{preview}\AtBeginDocument{\ifx\ifPreview\undefined\RequirePackage[displaymath,floats,graphics,textmath,sections,footnotes]{preview}[2004/11/05]\fi}" "\input" writeup.tex''
/bin/sh: latex: command not found

Preview-LaTeX exited as expected with code 127 at Tue Jan 18 20:01:34
LaTeX: LaTeX found no preview images

What is going wrong here? LaTeX is in my path, at least at the terminal. For Emacs when I run M-x getenv PATH I don't see the LaTeX installation in my path. I created a file ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist with the following lines:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd";>
<plist version="1.0">

But that didn't change my PATH variable in Emacs.app at all.


Emacs internally uses the exec-path variable to determine what it looks for.

This is normally initialised to PATH, but not if it is customised. Check its value using c-h v exec-path; there's a link there to the customise submenu. If you delete the relevant line from your customisation file (see the value of the Emacs variable custom-file), you can force the default behaviour.

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  • My custom.el just has two calls in it: (custom-set-variables) and (custom-set-faces) But the path I see when I look at exec-path is different from the PATH. – 2daaa Jan 20 '11 at 19:03
  • What happens when you setq exec-path in your Emacs initialisation file? – Charles Stewart Jan 20 '11 at 19:29
  • Actually it seems to be working now. I rebooted my computer and that seems to have caused Emacs.app to start reading the environment.plist file. – 2daaa Jan 20 '11 at 20:00

You need a LaTeX installation. Make sure the directory where the latex executable lives is inside your PATH.

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  • Sorry I should have been clearer. There is some kind of PATH problem, but I do have LaTeX installed and I can run it from the terminal just fine. Emacs.app isn't aware of it for some reason though. – 2daaa Jan 19 '11 at 13:51

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