[OS X TeX] linking to and opening a .tex file using hyperref?

Ross Moore ross.moore at mq.edu.au
Wed Jun 13 16:53:45 EDT 2018

Hi Gary,

On Jun 14, 2018, at 6:30 AM, Gary L. Gray <euler at psu.edu<mailto:euler at psu.edu>> wrote:

This is sort of Mac related in that I do not understand why it works on my Mac. :-) And I apologize in advance for a rather long message.

From within a presentation, I would like to be able to link to and open a .tex file. Some searching in the hyperref manual alludes to the fact that this can be done, but I sure can’t find the scheme for doing so. So I tried the following

\href{file:///Users/gray/Documents/Teaching/LaTeX\ Course/Lectures/2018\ -\ Fall/Lecture\ 03/simple_document/simple_doc.tex}{Simple \LaTeX\ Document}

which shows the title as a link, but clicking on it does nothing and when one hovers, it shows nothing.

Use relative paths, as you discovered.
Typically — probably for security reasons — applications aren’t allowed to use arbitrary full paths.
Otherwise malicious code within a PDF (or other) document could do potentially damaging things.

The next thing I did was to head over to TeX StackExchange (that place intimidates me a more than a little) where I found this


The answer from Sony suggests using “run:” before the path to the file. So I tried this

\href{run:/Users/gray/Documents/Teaching/LaTeX\ Course/Lectures/2018\ -\ Fall/Lecture\ 03/simple_document/simple_doc.tex}{Simple \LaTeX\ Document}

which also did not work. In this case it linked to:


so you can see that some extraneous stuff was inserted.

Finally, rather than use an absolute path, I used a relative one as

\href{run:simple_document/simple_doc.tex}{Simple \LaTeX\ Document 2}

and amazingly, this worked.

Keep the file names simple and relative.
You cannot guarantee that URL encoding ( all that %20  and %5C  stuff) will work on all systems.

In this case, the link is to


and so the .tex file opens in the default app for such files. By the way, this also works:

\href{run:./simple_document/simple_doc.tex}{Simple \LaTeX\ Document}

So, can anyone explain what this run thing is doing?

 run  is also what you do when you play a video, or audio file from within a PDF document.
Just as with hyperlinks, an “annotation" is used to interface between an area on the page,
and some action that you want to perform.

There are many things that can be done with annotations.
The Hyperref  package has extensive coding that helps setup an annotation to do exactly what you want.

Searching the web, it appears to be a Windows thing, but works perfectly on my machine. More importantly, what should I be doing to open a .tex file as I am doing here?

Any insights would be greatly appreciated.


Hope this helps.


Dr Ross Moore

Mathematics Dept | 12 Wally’s Walk, 734
Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia

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