[OS X TeX] Drawing diagrams: what's better?

Alan Munn amunn at gmx.com
Mon May 17 19:14:35 CEST 2010

On May 17, 2010, at 10:02 AM, John B. Thoo wrote:

> Hi, everyone.  I hope this isn't a FAQ: Is it better to draw  
> diagrams using something like PSTricks or Tikz, or something like  
> xfig or Inkscape?  What are the pros and cons?  TIA.

As others have said, a lot depends on what kinds of data you are  
drawing.  As a user of both PSTricks and TikZ, for most things they  
are equivalent; if I were starting from scratch, I would recommend  
going with TikZ, since it works seamlessly with pdflatex and xelatex,  
whereas pstricks needs to be compiled with latex - dvips- ps2pdf (not  
entirely accurate, but close enough).

TikZ is also somewhat better documented, (although the documentation  
is not always the easiest to understand).  But the documentation for  
pstricks has improved dramatically recently.  Both have substantial  
user bases and are well supported, so getting questions answered is  
usually not too difficult either, although my impression is that more  
people are now using TikZ over PStricks.  PStricks has superior  
mathematical capabilities since TikZ relies on TeX's math.  Both have  
substantial libraries for commonly drawn elements, which often times  
makes them superior to any GUI type program, again depending on the  
sorts of things you are drawing.

For plotting real data, though, output from e.g. R would make more  
sense.  (There's even a TikZ output device being developed for R,  
which would be another reason to use TikZ if you are independently  
using R.)


Alan Munn
amunn at gmx.com

More information about the macostex-archives mailing list