Running Doom Emacs 2.0.9 on Emacs 27.1 on Manjaro KDE.

When I compile a latex documents, it produces a PDF file and opens an emacs window to display it. But what is displayed is some text and not the PDF file.

The *Messages* buffer carries an error that says:

File mode specification error: (error Error running ‘/home/user/.emacs.d/.local/straight/build/pdf-tools/epdfinfo’: /home/user/.emacs.d/.local/straight/build/pdf-tools/epdfinfo: error while loading shared libraries: libpoppler.so.101: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

If that is of any use, this is happening after a massive update to the OS. Earlier, the new window would show the PDF file.

How do I correct this error?

  • Install the poppler library I guess? On Fedora, I do dnf install poppler poppler-dev but the names of the packages depend on the distribution, so you'll have to figure out what Manjaro calls them.
    – NickD
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 13:22
  • If you uninstall and re-install the pdf-tools package it should update its required packages for you.
    – rpluim
    Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 13:25
  • Or do M-: (pdf-tools-install nil nil nil t). The final t tells it to (re)-install system packages. Commented Sep 4, 2020 at 18:14

1 Answer 1



Go to path/to/.emacs.d/elpa/pdf-tools-xxx/build and run make clean to clean previously compiled contents manually.

Restart emacs and let it build pdf-tools. Then, pdf-tools works again :)

I have also met this problem.

Follow the error message, we can tell the problem is epdfinfo cannot find the library it wants, which is libpoppler.so.101.

After check the directory /usr/lib/ I found there is no libpoppler.so.101, instead, we get libpoppler.so.102. Then I checked the pamac history and found the poppler related packages were updated from 0.90.1-1 to 20.08.1-1. I think this is why libpoppler.so updated from 101 to 102.

The problem here is, after the update, pdf-tools tries to rebuild itself. However, it does not really do the rebuild, which I don't know why. (maybe make does not find the change of source code so it just skips all the rebuild. sorry, I only know little about compile.)

So, what I did is go to pdf-tools' directory which is path/to/.emacs.d/elpa/pdf-tools-xxx/build and run make clean to remove these object files manually. I also did make clean in the server subdirectory under build, but I am not sure if it is necessary. Then reopen emacs and let it rebuild the pdf-tools (or run pdf-tools-install, to rebuild it manually).

Now, pdf-tools works again.

Hope this can help.

  • There's no such path on my system. I use doom emacs.
    – soap
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 16:30
  • @Soap Sorry, I don't know where doom emacs put these files. However, have you tried the doom build command to ask doom to recompile all packages? Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 11:21
  • No, but uninstalling and installing pdf tools (by commenting and uncommenting the pdf line in init.el) worked! build may also have worked, I think
    – soap
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 14:19
  • 1
    Thank you, simply running pdf-tools-install and restarting Emacs solved it for me :)
    – xeruf
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 15:43

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