I have a simple org file, koe.org :

#+title:  Testing
#+author: Kari Marttila
#+date:   2022-06-10

#+OPTIONS: toc:2



and a simple file, which comprises my latex/pdf conversion configuration, run-koe.el :

(require 'org)
(require 'ox-latex)
(require 'ox-publish)

(setq org-publish-project-alist
         :base-directory "."
         :base-extension "org"
         :publishing-directory "."
         :recursive nil
         :publishing-function org-latex-export-to-pdf
         :headline-levels 4
         :auto-preamble t
         ("org" :components ("org-koe"))

When I apply inside the org document in the Emacs editor, the command org-latex-export-to-pdf , both the tex file and the pdf file gets created correctly.

But if I run this setup in command line like this:

emacs -u "$(id -un)" --batch -l run-koe.el --eval '(org-publish-project "org" t)'

I get this output:

λ> emacs -u "$(id -un)" --batch -l run-koe.el --eval '(org-publish-project "org" t)'
Loading /etc/emacs/site-start.d/00debian.el (source)...
Loading /etc/emacs/site-start.d/50autoconf.el (source)...
Loading /etc/emacs/site-start.d/50dictionaries-common.el (source)...
Loading debian-ispell...
Loading /var/cache/dictionaries-common/emacsen-ispell-default.el (source)...
Loading /var/cache/dictionaries-common/emacsen-ispell-dicts.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/customizations/shell-integration.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/customizations/navigation.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/.recentf...
Cleaning up the recentf list...
Cleaning up the recentf list...done (0 removed)
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/customizations/ui.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/customizations/editing.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/customizations/misc.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/customizations/elisp-editing.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/customizations/setup-clojure.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.emacs.d/customizations/setup-js.el (source)...
Loading /home/kari/.org-timestamps/org-koe.cache...
Publishing file /a/tmp/koe.org using ‘org-latex-export-to-pdf’
Output file: koe.pdf
Initializing asynchronous export process

There are two issues:

  1. I cannot figure out how to provide the pdf file name so that it is not asked interactively.
  2. No tex or pdf file gets generated.

I am using:

Ubuntu 20.04
GNU Emacs 26.3
Org 9.4.6
  • I experimented a little with org latex/pdf conversion. I just realized that maybe one way is to add all configuration inside the actual org document, and then just somehow in the command line run the latex/pdf conversion for the document. Commented Jun 11, 2022 at 21:16
  • I experimented a bit with this and I now realize that it is better to have the configuration (toc, footnotes...) in the document itself. Commented Jun 12, 2022 at 7:42
  • The only error is that you tried to use the export function rather than the publish function in your org-publish-project-alist for its publishing function. Otherwise, it works fine: see my answer.
    – NickD
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


You cannot use org-latex-export-to-pdf as a publishing function: it does not have the right signature. Most (all?) exporters define a function for publishing, e.g. the manual uses org-html-publish-to-html in its example. You should try org-latex-publish-to-pdf instead of org-latex-export-to-pdf:

(setq org-publish-project-alist
         :base-directory "."
         :base-extension "org"
         :publishing-directory "."
         :recursive nil
         :publishing-function org-latex-publish-to-pdf
         :headline-levels 4
         :auto-preamble t
         ("org" :components ("org-koe"))
  • Just curious: did you try this and did it work?
    – NickD
    Commented Jun 15, 2022 at 16:42

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