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I have to write a manual for a game. The explanations include visuals like:

Enter image description here

In short, I will need a circle (not absolute must, a square will also do) around two letters, and an arrow from letter 1 to letter 2. (Sometimes it will be anticlockwise.)

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

You can use Tikz and its remember picture property. Here is just a starting point for you base on this answer by Jake. You can of course start to play with the parameters (e.g. bending!) to fine tune the results for your taste.

enter image description here

    every picture/.style={
        remember picture,   % Make nodes available to all TikZ pictures
        inner xsep=0pt, % Remove horizontal padding
        inner ysep=1pt, % Set small vertical padding
        baseline,       % Align TikZ pictures at the baseline
        every node/.style={
            anchor=base % Align all nodes at the baseline

b\tikz \node[circle, thin,draw](a) {e};n\tikz \node[circle, thin,draw](b) {e};dict
 \tikz [overlay] \draw [->]  (a.north) to [bend right=-70]  (b.north);   
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I suspect the OP will be doing this often. Can you package the code in a macro so that something like (say) \circles{benedict}{e}{e} connects the two e's? – Ethan Bolker Jun 6 '14 at 16:01
@EthanBolker, You are indeed right and I was going to! The problem is, it can be very tricky. For example, how about \circles{comprehensive}{e}{e}? A workaround however, would be something in the lines of \circles{benedict}{2}{4}. I was going to and I still am going to try to convert it to macro but write now I'm on LaTeX-Less machine. I will try something tomorrow :) – Pouya Jun 6 '14 at 16:43

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