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Are there any WYSIWYG editors for PGF/TikZ? Perhaps something similar to LyX but for PGF/TikZ?

If there is no WYSIWYG editor for this tandem, is there one perhaps that allows the user to easily generate PGF/TikZ templates?

Alternatively, how can I most easily generate PFG/TikZ code from a visual conception? Do people mostly code their PGF/TikZ graphics from scratch?

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There's an extensive list of tools that generate Tikz/PGF code at TeXample.net. The same site gives nice examples ofcode generated pictures here – DJP Jul 27 '11 at 16:22
A suggestion: Do us a favour and change your username to something more telling than "user1234". – Speravir Mar 15 '14 at 4:43
Related mentions also in What GUI applications are there to assist in generating graphics for TeX? – sdaau Mar 25 '14 at 13:03
up vote 47 down vote accepted

There is ktikz (also available in the qtikz version), which seems not only run on Linux/KDE but also on Windows.

Version 0.10 is released. This version is available as an Ubuntu package for Lucid, as a Debian package for Squeeze and as a Windows installer (a patch release 0.10.1 is available). For Linux there are two versions available: KtikZ and QtikZ. KtikZ is integrated with the KDE4 platform, whereas QtikZ has the traditional Qt-only interface.

I personally use latexmk -pdf -pvc to keep recompiling my TikZ diagram file after every saved edit. I use a dedicated file for every diagram which uses the standalone class (which I wrote just for this very purpose). If you use a PDF viewer with auto-reload like evince then the changes are shown directly (after each save). I had issues getting latexmk reloading PDFs in the Adobe Reader.

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I can confirm QTikZ working on Windows. – ipavlic Jul 28 '11 at 8:18
FYI: It looks like the development of ktikz stopped three years ago (although the source code is available, so hopefully someone picks it up, e.g. on GitHub) – Amelio Vazquez-Reina Jun 16 '13 at 22:40

There are many programs that can export Pgf or TikZ code of diagrams or pictures generated there. For example

  • Geogebra is a geometry software that can export nice TikZ code.
  • Dia is a diagram design software that exports Pgf code.
  • Inkscape is a vector drawing software (similar to Corel Draw) has a plugin to export TikZ code

A full list of this can be found in the TeXample page.

As Martin Scharrer said, there is also kTikZ/QtikZ which compiles TikZ code in realtime and previews it in a window. It works under KDE and also in Windows.

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Using external tools which export to TikZ is something very different then having a WYSIWYG editor. Usually these tools generate very low-level code which can't be changed very well. – Martin Scharrer Jul 27 '11 at 16:07

May be Tikzedt (works on windows and linux) is what you are looking for.

TikZ/PGF is a pair of widely used languages for creating vector graphics, in particular in Latex documents. There are a couple of editors assisting in the creation of TikZ code. However, mostly one has the choice between a text editor with preview, with no WYSIWYG capabilities, and a true WYSIWYG editor with a TikZ export function, without direct code access. Combining both direct code editing and WYSIWYG features is quite involved, since it requires a parser and interpreter that "understands" the TikZ code so that it can be rendered and edited in a WYSIWYG manner. We recently wrote such an editor, TikzEdt. This article describes the main programming challenges we faced, and design decisions we made to overcome them. Furthermore, there are some components of our program that can be reused for similar applications.

Another option could be jpgfdraw

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This is now available for Linux. – Alex Hirzel May 1 '12 at 20:34
I stopped using Tikzedt, as the non-functioning cut and paste command when running under linux after a while nearly made me throw my laptop out the window. – Nicholas Hamilton Jun 18 '13 at 5:24
@NicholasHamilton, how did you make it work in Linux? I uncompress the Linux version and I find a bunch of Windows executables that don't even work with wine or mono. – alfC Mar 15 '14 at 7:35
in the folder containing the source files, is there a tikzedt file with executable permissions? I simply run that file, it has a single line inside as thus: mono TikzEdtWForms.exe. – Nicholas Hamilton Mar 15 '14 at 11:34

The editor you're looking for is TpX. It doesn't seem to have been worked on in awhile but I use it all the time and it's really great. It exports a file with it's internal information appearing as % comments for TeX with tikz code beneath - it will even enclose it in a figure environment, so you just include the .tpx file and the LaTeX compiler does the rest.

You can find it at: http://tpx.sourceforge.net/

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Hmm... I'm trying version 1.5 (2008-12-07), and the .tpx files all have some internal XML representation like % <rect x="19.4362" y="46.4017" w="41.3237" h="28.3663"/>, no tikz code anywhere; and if you export, the only thing the tex file does is \put(0,0){\includegraphics{test.pdf}}, that is includes an already produced PDF. Somehow, I think this tool doesn't export tikz code, unfortunately... – sdaau Feb 13 '15 at 6:00
@sdaau - No! that's not correct. The author of this code is playing a trick. He retains the drawing in a special format (the xml you spoke of) that looks commented out and when you set up to "save as" Tikz format, the drawing contains the TpX drawing information (commented out) and Tikz code. This way, you can simply edit and save the TpX drawing in TpX and simply import this drawing right into your latex - as long as you specified to save in Tikz format. – Pete P Jan 13 at 20:29

I needed a simple graph editor, so finally I rolled my own since I wasn't satisfied with all the solutions. They probably work great for use cases like complicated diagrams, but it took me too long to draw simple graphs (and I needed to draw a lot of them).

You can test the latest version at http://marko.ristin.net/zeichne_tikz and the repository can be found at https://bitbucket.org/markoristin/zeichne_tikz.

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The ktikz / qtikz option mentioned by Martin Scharrer is excellent in my opinion.

Similar functionality on OSX can be obtained with Fredokun's Tikz Editor.

Neither is truly wysiwyg because you still have to write the code, but having a real time preview is a great help in learning the language.

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