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PGF/TikZ is a pair of languages for producing vector graphics from a geometric/algebraic description. PGF is a lower-level language, while TikZ is a set of higher-level macros that use PGF. The top-level PGF and TikZ commands are invoked as TeX macros, but in contrast with PSTricks, the PGF/TikZ graphics themselves are described in a language that resembles MetaPost. Till Tantau is the designer of these languages, and he is also the main developer of the only known interpreter for PGF and TikZ, which is written in TeX. PGF is an acronym for "Portable Graphics Format". TikZ was introduced in version 0.95 of PGF, and it is a recursive acronym for "TikZ ist kein Zeichenprogramm" (German for "TikZ is not a drawing program").

PGF/TikZ ("PGF and TikZ")
Example of graphics created with TikZ. Note the slightly translucent top layer.
Example of graphics created with TikZ. Note the slightly translucent top layer.
Original author(s)Till Tantau
Developer(s)Till Tantau, Christian Feuersänger
Stable release
3.0.1 / August 7, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-08-07)
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Written inTeX, Lua
Operating systemMultiplatform (TeX)
TypeVector graphics languages
LicenseDual License: GNU General Public License or LaTeX Project Public License

The PGF/TikZ interpreter can be used from the popular LaTeX and ConTeXt macro packages, and also directly from the original TeX. Since TeX itself is not concerned with graphics, the interpreter supports multiple TeX output backends: dvips, dvipdfm/dvipdfmx/xdvipdfmx, TeX4ht, and pdftex's internal PDF output driver. Unlike PSTricks, PGF can thus directly produce either PostScript or PDF output, but it cannot use some of the more advanced PostScript programming features that PSTricks can use due to the "least common denominator" effect.[1] PGF/TikZ comes with extensive documentation. The version 3.0.0 manual has 1165 pages.

The standard LaTeX picture environment can also be used as a front end for PGF merely by using the pgfpict2e package.

Several graphical editors can produce output for PGF/TikZ like the KDE program Cirkuit,[2] and the math drawing program GeoGebra. Export to TikZ is also available as extensions for Inkscape,[3] Blender,[4] MATLAB,[5] matplotlib,[6] Gnuplot[7] and R.[8]

The project has been under constant development since 2005. Most of the development is done by Till Tantau.[9] Version 3.0.0 was released on 2013-12-20.[10] One of the major new features is graph drawing using the graphdrawing package, which however requires LuaTeX.[11] This version also added a new data visualization method and support for direct SVG output via the new dvisvgm driver.[12]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Till Tantau (20 February 2008). "The Tik Z and PGF Packages: Manual for version 2.10" (PDF). p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  2. ^ Agostinelli, Matteo. "Cirkuit".
  3. ^ "Inkscape to TikZ exporter".
  4. ^
  5. ^ Schlömer, Nico. "matlab2tikz".
  6. ^ Schlömer, Nico. "matplotlib2tikz".
  7. ^ Williams, Thomas; Kelley, Colin, eds. (2017). "gnuplot 5.2: An Interactive Plotting Program" (PDF).
  8. ^ "tikzDevice: R Graphics Output in LaTeX Format".
  9. ^ "TikZ and PGF builds".
  10. ^ "PGF Web Page".
  11. ^ Tantau, Till (2013). "Graph Drawing in TikZ". Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications. 17 (4): 495–513. doi:10.7155/jgaa.00301.; see also the older GD 2012 presentation
  12. ^

Further readingEdit

  • Andrew Mertz and William Slough, Graphics with PGF and TikZ, PracTeX Journal, 2007 (1), abstract, full text. Conference talk video (version archived by ; the previous site is unavailable) based on an earlier version of that paper.
  • Claudio Beccari, Graphics in LaTeX (Comparison of several graphics systems in LaTeX), PracTeX Journal, 2007 (1)
  • Marc van Dongen (2012). LaTeX and Friends. Springer. ISBN 978-3-642-23816-1. According to a review of the book in TUGboat: "It contains a detailed introduction to the TikZ suite—probably one of the best existing descriptions of this highly useful package."

External linksEdit