Asymptote FAQ - Section 2
Questions about installation and setup

Question 2.1. Is it possible to install Asymptote on Mac OS X?

It is easy to compile Asymptote directly from the source code at We recommend first upgrading to the latest GNU readline library, unless you don't care about interactive readline support (in which case configure will automatically detect and disable obsolete versions of the readline library). Marius Schamschula also maintains a binary package for various MacOS X platforms

Question 2.2. Why do I get the error Bad CPU type in executable on installing Asymptote from the MAC OS binary?

This means either that you have a binary distribution for another MAC architecture, or (according to Marius Schamschula) that you may have a missing library. The simplest solution is to compile Asymptote directly from the official source:

Question 2.3. What do I do if I get the error: Error: pdfetex (file pdftex.cfg): cannot open config file...texinfo.tex appears to be broken?

Simply put in the directory doc and repeat the command make all. Or, if you don't want to build a local copy of the documentation, simply proceed with make install-asy.

Question 2.4. What do I do if I get the error: ! Undefined control sequence. l.6 @copying?

Either upgrade your texinfo package or follow one of the easy work arounds in Q2.3 `What do I do if I get the error: Error: pdfetex (file pdftex.cfg): cannot open config file...texinfo.tex appears to be broken?'.

Question 2.5. Is it possible to integrate Asymptote into LaTeX?

Yes, see the example latexusage.tex. Dario Teixeira has also written a detailed guide on the topic. You can download it from

Philippe Ivaldi has contributed an Asymptote mode for Emacs users, which includes a lasy-mode that allows one to compile and view the output of one \begin{asy}...\end{asy} section at a time.

Question 2.6. Is it possible to integrate Asymptote into latex or pdflatex?

Yes, as of version 1.14, Asymptote supports latex and pdflatex (both in EPS/PDF and inline mode), as illustrated by the example latexusage.tex:
pdflatex latexusage
asy latexusage
pdflatex latexusage

Question 2.7. Do I need the tkinter package to install an Asymptote rpm binary?

No, you don't need tkinter unless you want to try out the GUI xasy. Try
rpm -Uvh --nodeps asymptote-x.xx-1.i386.rpm
where x.xx represents the version number.

Question 2.8. What does the path %USERPROFILE%\.asy\config.asy mean?

That is the way that Microsoft Windows refers to the user profile directory. There's nothing really to understand here, just put your configuration commands in the file config.asy in a new folder %USERPROFILE%\.asy.

Question 2.9. Why do I get the error "string not terminated" when I try to set settings.dir="C:\asymptote\";?

The backslash is an escape character here, so \" is interpreted as a verbatim quotation mark, leaving the string without a terminating quotation mark. Fortunately, this is the only escaped character in double-quoted strings. A final backslash isn't needed here anyway, but should you really want one somewhere, you can say: settings.dir="C:\asymptote"+'\\';.

Question 2.10. How do I change environment variables in Microsoft Windows, for example, in order to change the default PostScript viewer?

While it is easier to set the corresponding Asymptote configuration variable in your config.asy file, here is the procedure for changing Microsoft Windows environment variables:

Click on the [Start] button

* RIGHT-click on 'My Computer'

* Choose 'Properties' from the popup menu

* Click the 'Advanced' tab

* Click the 'Environment Variables' button.

Question 2.11. Under Microsoft Windows XP, why do I get an error like "Invalid Parameter - 432x432"?

This means that ImageMagick wasn't properly installed and you are using the MSDOS convert program rather than the ImageMagick one. Or you may have installed ImageMagick but ran Asymptote from an existing MSDOS window. In that case, simply open a new window and try again. If that doesn't work, check that
convert --version 
returns something like
Version: ImageMagick 6.2.8 06/27/06 Q16

Question 2.12. Why does Asymptote freeze upon trying to draw a label with my MikTex installation under Microsoft Windows?

Likely, this means that latex and dvips are not in your default path. Try adding the appropriate paths in your config.asy file, for example:
import settings;
latex="C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.7\miktex\bin\latex.exe";
dvips="C:\Program Files\MiKTeX 2.7\miktex\bin\dvips.exe";

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Asymptote - 22 March 2017

Extracted from Asymptote Frequently Asked Questions, Copyright © 2017 .