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Python wrapper around pdflatex

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pydflatex: a simple build system for LaTeX


pydflatex file.tex

Some useful options:

  • -o: open the pdf in a pdf viewer
  • -k: keep compiling on error
  • -w: show the box warnings
  • -l: only parse existing log

A full list of options is available with pydflatex --help.


pydflatex is a wrapper around pdflatex which produces a short, readable, coloured output.

The most interesting features are:

  • suppressing the logorrhoeic output of LaTeX and giving a coloured, short summary of the warnings and errors instead.
  • opening the pdf in your editor of choice


Compiling Large Documents

Pydflatex is only a shell around the pdflatex, but you can use it along with scons in order to compile large documents. In order to do this, create a Sconstruct file which contains this code:

#!/usr/bin/env python

import os
env = Environment(ENV=os.environ)
env['PDFLATEX'] = 'pydflatex'
env['PDFLATEXFLAGS'] = '-wk'
pdf = env.PDF(target='main.pdf', source='main.tex')

SCons will now use pydflatex to compile your document. This will automatically take care of the index, bibliography, recompiling if an included file is modified, etc.

Using as a Library

It is easy to write a simple python script that calls the typesetter and does precisely what you need in your project. One way to achieve that would be:

from pydflatex import Typesetter
t = Typesetter(texfilename)


  • Python v.2.6 (because of the new string formatting)
  • termstyle (optional but strongly advised): to display results in colour
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