I am running Emacs 25 on Kubuntu 17.10.

I have a texlive installation in:


echo $PATH produces:


But out of this, /home/user/texlive/2017/bin/x86_64slinux was added by hand in my ~/.zshrc.

So, I added the following line to my ~/.emacs:

(setenv "PATH" (concat (getenv "PATH") ":/home/user/texlive/2017/bin/x86_64-linux")

Now, (getenv "PATH") shows the full path as mentioned above.

And yet when I try to compile a .tex file using C-c C-a, it produces an error:

AUCTeX cannot find a working TeX distribution.

What is happening? How do I get AUCTeX to compile?

  • 2
    What's the output of (getenv "PATH")?
    – matteol
    Dec 4, 2017 at 12:11
  • @matteol I am surprized! It is /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games:/usr/local/games The last part was added in my ~/.zshrc by hand. I think that is the cause of the error. How do I set it right?
    – deshmukh
    Dec 4, 2017 at 12:37
  • I don't know but if you add details about your OS an emacs version maybe someone else can help you
    – matteol
    Dec 4, 2017 at 12:40
  • @matteol Done that. Edited the question so all can see.
    – deshmukh
    Dec 4, 2017 at 12:46
  • Emacs doesn't read shell rc files on its own by default, so customizing your PATH there won't affect what's set in emacs.
    – user12563
    Dec 4, 2017 at 12:52

2 Answers 2


You may have two possible solutions:

a) use the package exec-path-from-shell to add your path in emacs init.el file

b) add/modify this code to your auctex initialization in init.el file (this is mine for mac):

(setenv "PATH" (concat "/Library/TeX/texbin:"
                         (getenv "PATH")))
(add-to-list 'exec-path "/Library/TeX/texbin")

Set the PATH variable in .profile not in .zshrc and remove the change in .emacs. Logout and login again.

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