PGF/TikZ ("PGF and TikZ")
Original author(s)Till Tantau
Developer(s)Till Tantau, Christian Feuersänger
Stable release
3.1.10[1] / 15 January 2023; 17 months ago (15 January 2023)
Written inTeX, Lua
Operating systemMultiplatform (TeX)
TypeVector graphics languages
LicenseDual License: GNU General Public License or LaTeX Project Public License

PGF/TikZ is a pair of languages for producing vector graphics (e.g., technical illustrations and drawings) from a geometric/algebraic description, with standard features including the drawing of points, lines, arrows, paths, circles, ellipses and polygons. 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 the PGF and TikZ languages. 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").


The PGF/TikZ interpreter can be used from the popular LaTeX and ConTeXt macro packages, and also directly from the original TeX.[2]: 116  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.[2]: 117–120  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.[3] PGF/TikZ comes with an extensive documentation; the version 3.1.4a of the manual has over 1300 pages.[2]

The standard LaTeX picture environment can also be used as a front end for PGF — by merely using the pgfpict2e package.[2]: 27 

The project has been under constant development since 2005.[4] Most of the development until 2018 was done by Till Tantau and since then Henri Menke has been the main contributor.[5] Version 3.0.0 was released on 20 December 2013.[6] One of the major new features of this version was graph drawing using the graphdrawing package, which however requires LuaTeX.[7] This version also added a new data visualization method and support for direct SVG output via the new dvisvgm driver.[6]


Several graphical editors can produce output for PGF/TikZ, such as the KDE program Cirkuit[8] and the math drawing program GeoGebra.[9] Export to TikZ is also available as extensions for Inkscape,[10] Blender,[11] MATLAB,[12] matplotlib,[13] Gnuplot,[14] Julia,[15] and R.[16] The circuit-macros package[17] of m4 macros exports circuit diagrams to TikZ using the dpic -g command line option.[18] The dot2tex program can convert files in the DOT graph description language to PGF/TikZ.[19]


TikZ features libraries for easy drawing of many kinds of diagrams, such as the following (alphabetized by library name):[2]


The following images were created with TikZ and show some examples of the range of graphic types that can be produced. The link in each caption points to the source code for the image.

See also


  1. ^ "Release 3.1.10". 15 January 2023. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e "The TikZ and PGF Packages: Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  3. ^ Till Tantau (20 February 2008). "The TikZ and PGF Packages: Manual for version 2.10" (PDF). p. 17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Commits – pgf-tikz/pgf". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  5. ^ "Contributors to pgf-tikz/pgf". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  6. ^ a b "PGF and TikZ – Graphic systems for TeX – Browse /pgf/version 3.0.0". 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  7. ^ 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 by Tantau.
  8. ^ Agostinelli, Matteo (31 December 2011). "Cirkuit". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  9. ^ "Export to LaTeX (PGF, PSTricks) and Asymptote – GeoGebra Manual". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  10. ^ "svg2tikz: An Inkscape extension for exporting SVG paths as TikZ/PGF paths". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  11. ^ "blend2tikz: Export Blender (2.4x) curves to TikZ format for use with TeX". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  12. ^ Schlömer, Nico. "matlab2tikz – File Exchange – MATLAB Central". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  13. ^ Schlömer, Nico. "tikzplotlib: Convert matplotlib figures to TikZ/PGFplots for smooth integration into LaTeX". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  14. ^ Williams, Thomas; Kelley, Colin, eds. (October 2018). "gnuplot 5.2: An Interactive Plotting Program" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  15. ^ Breloff, Thomas. "Julia plotting backends". Retrieved 2024-02-27.
  16. ^ "tikzDevice: R Graphics Output in LaTeX Format". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  17. ^ "circuit-macros – M4 macros for electric circuit diagrams". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  18. ^ Aplevich, Dwight (3 January 2020). "dpic README". Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  19. ^ "dot2tex – A Graphviz to LaTeX converter". 2019-11-01.

Further reading