Re: [OS X TeX] Non–Recovery from Error

Herbert Schulz herbs at
Fri Mar 11 13:25:52 CET 2011

On Mar 10, 2011, at 10:11 PM, Messerschmitt David wrote:

> <<snip>>
>> I'm not sure what you mean about the necessity of removing the .aux files. Latexmk will check to see if something has changed (e.g., a change in the source file) and rerun what is necessary.
> Here is more detail:
> If I deliberately introduce a syntax error, say remove a "$", then latex burps.
> So I repair the error, replacing the "$" and run latexmk again.
> Console:
> ------------
> Latexmk: applying rule 'bibtex ARTICLE-DISPERSION'...
> This is BibTeX, Version 0.99d (TeX Live 2010)
> The top-level auxiliary file: ARTICLE-DISPERSION.aux
> I found no \bibdata command---while reading file ARTICLE-DISPERSION.aux
> I found no \bibstyle command---while reading file ARTICLE-DISPERSION.aux
> (There were 2 error messages)
> Collected error summary (may duplicate other messages):
>  bibtex ARTICLE-DISPERSION: Bibtex errors: See file 'ARTICLE-DISPERSION.blg'
> Latexmk: Use the -f option to force complete processing.
> Latexmk: Errors, so I did not complete making targets
> -------------
> This is new from what I was getting before. But the diagnosis is not very helpful.
> So I run latexmk again, and I get a "Runaway argument?" message, which is what I
> was getting before. So, like before, I delete .aux files and run latexmk again
> and everything returns to normal. Before I had to format twice, now latexmk
> does that automatically.
> My suggestion (hope) was that the "Runaway argument" + manual delete .aux
> is unnecessary. Is there some reason that latexmk could not auto detect
> the circumstance and do the .aux delete itself? Then repairing the error and
> running latexmk once would return me to normality -- this is the behavior a naive
> user would expect.
> -dave


There is no way for latexmk to ``know'' what is causing the problem.

Does the runaway argument come during a latex compile or during a bibtex run?

When you run into problems with missing $s and things like that TeX doesn't find a problem until there is an end of paragraph or something else that tells it something is rally wrong. By then the aux file is messed up so you must remove it. Latexmk doesn't know that the aux file from a previous run is messed up.

The best thing to do is make sure your $'s are matched. You can do this by turning on Auto Complete in TeXShop->Preferences->Source->Editor and changing the key binding for $ to produce $$ with the insertion point (cursor) between the $s. Download from <> for a bit more information about that and also other possibly helpful things.

Good Luck,

Herb Schulz
(herbs at wideopenwest dot com)

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