I am trying to compile a .tex file using AUCTeX on Emacs 27.2. When I run the LaTeX command (via the menu bar) I get the following message:

TeX-command: ERROR: AUCTeX cannot find a working TeX distribution. 
Make sure you have one and that TeX binaries are in PATH environment variable.
If you are using OS X El Capitan or later
remember to add /Library/TeX/texbin/ to your PATH

I have a file called TeX in /etc/paths.d which contains the line /Library/TeX/texbin. And if I open the .tex file with TeXShop it compiles fine. The start of the message file just to prove it:

This is pdfTeX, Version 3.141592653-2.6-1.40.22 (TeX Live 2021) (preloaded format=pdflatex)
 restricted \write18 enabled.
entering extended mode

Any help greatly appreciated.

1 Answer 1


Ack! I found the answer in another thread, shortly after posting. See AUCTeX cannot find a working TeX distribution. In short, I needed to include the location of my texbin file my init.el. This is done with:

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

Everything works now. Leaving this here in case anyone else gets some benefit from it.

  • You probably want to set the PATH in you shell init file ($HOME/.profile or equivalent): that way, you'll be able to use TeX from a terminal command line as well.
    – NickD
    May 9, 2022 at 15:21

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