I have not been using LaTeX for quite some while, so I might be missing something obvious. I have a multiple file document and want to make AUCTeX aware of the master file. The minimal example looks like this: A master file test.tex and one section in test-1.tex in the same directory.








%%% Local Variables: 
%%% mode: latex
%%% TeX-master: t
%%% End: 



%%% Local Variables:
%%% mode: latex
%%% TeX-master: "test"
%%% End:

If I compile test.texvia C-c C-c everything works fine but if I am in test-1.tex I get the following error:

ERROR: Undefined control sequence.

--- TeX said ---
l.1 \section
--- HELP ---
TeX encountered an unknown command name. You probably misspelled the
name. If this message occurs when a LaTeX command is being processed,
the command is probably in the wrong place---for example, the error
can be produced by an \item command that's not inside a list-making
environment. The error can also be caused by a missing \documentclass

Also Switch to master file C-c ^ does not work, so there is something not working with the multiple file parsing. I have tried C-u C-c C-n to reset AUCTeX without any effect. What am I missing?

  • 2
    What's the value of the variable TeX-parse-self? Have you tried to hit C-c C-n in test-1.tex and in test.tex? Your example works without a problem for me -- I have set TeX-parse-self to t. Mar 25, 2019 at 13:32
  • TeX-parse-self is set to t in my config and I tried C-c C-nin both documents without any change. It is still not working. Mar 25, 2019 at 19:58
  • 1
    Sorry, hard to tell. I suggest you start debugging. The usual way is to update AUCTeX to the latest version from ELPA, start Emacs with the -Q switch, eval (package-initialize) and open your .tex file. This works for me as well. Mar 26, 2019 at 22:17
  • I will see when I have the time for real debugging and will post my results here. Mar 27, 2019 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


Thanks to the encouraging comments I was able to work it out. I added turn-on-outline-minor-mode to LaTeX-mode-hook for historical reasons and it breaks the multiple files parsing. I have no idea what is happening under the hood but can easily live without it.

With this config everything works fine:

(use-package tex
  :ensure auctex
  (setq TeX-auto-save t
        TeX-parse-self t
        TeX-save-query nil)
  (setq-default TeX-master nil)
  (LaTeX-mode . flyspell-mode)
  (LaTeX-mode . flyspell-buffer)
  (LaTeX-mode . tex-fold-mode)
  (LaTeX-mode . turn-on-reftex))
  • 1
    I don't use-package, but the following (add-hook 'LaTeX-mode-hook #'outline-minor-mode) works for me and doesn't break AUCTeX. Apr 3, 2019 at 15:30
  • Weird! I am traveling right now and can’t check. But even with a vanilla config using -Q this line caused trouble. Apr 3, 2019 at 16:04

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