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Now I have been using GeoGebra for a considerable amount of time and therefore I am rather experienced using it. Creating graphs, plots and geometric figures can be done in a matter of minutes. Often less. And most of the time goes to outputting the "perfect" look.

Now trying to make the same images in for example TikZ takes literally forever. I have just barely started using TikZ and my opinions should therefore be questioned. Although it seems for creating simple images, a variety of nitpicking loops and whatnot is needed.

Below I have tried to make a simple pro and con lists for both. And a few examples of images I created in GeoGebra, and loosely timed myself doing so.

GeoGebra pros

  • Interactive, one could change the image in seconds.
  • Animations
  • "Simple to use"
  • Loops are possible using lists.
  • Supports TeX graphics
  • Gentle learning curve
  • Many output formats such as TikZ, PNG, EPS, Asymptote and so on
  • Input can be both interactive, and through command

GeoGebra cons

  • Hard to create 3D images
  • Can be a tad slow
  • Input in LaTeX sometimes does not look as good as TikZ
  • External program

So, could anyone list the pros of TikZ? Right now for me it takes too long to create something that looks better than GeoGebra output.

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Can't Geogebra export TikZ code? –  Federico Poloni Nov 13 '11 at 17:13
    
@FedericoPoloni Yes, as mentioned by the OP. Not very good code though ... –  Torbjørn T. Nov 13 '11 at 17:16
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For the style of drawing that GeoGebra can do, you might want to look at Altermundus' tkz-euclide, which is makes it easier to do “classical“ constructions with TikZ. –  Caramdir Nov 13 '11 at 17:31
    
Depending on the type of diagrams you're doing, Geogebra, may be the perfect choice. But a look at the manual and/or TeXample should give lots of examples (fractals,spy function, calendars,etc) that Geogebra will have a problem with. Don't be deterred by the learning curve, LaTeX is much harder to learn than a word processor but probably everyone here is happier they took the time to learn LaTeX. –  DJP Nov 13 '11 at 18:13
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I think you forgot to add the pros/cons of TikZ and the example images. –  Torbjørn T. Nov 13 '11 at 18:58
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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

This answer will be largely subjective, as with any opinion-based question :)

It seems a little strange to compare GeoGebra to TikZ.

  • GeoGebra is at its most powerful when it is being used as an interactive learning tool. As you may know, creating sliders and such can be an extremely useful way to motivate students and to get a concept across quickly. It certainly can be used as a tool to create graphics within a document, but I would question if it should be used.
  • As with any tool that exports to an another format, the export to TikZ is never going to be perfect, and you will likely have to tweak the resultant code.

TikZ allows you to create styles, make global changes to your document, and was designed specifically for latex. There is certainly a learning curve (I'm quite near the beginning of it), but it is almost always good to learn new things :)

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One obvious pro of using TikZ is that if you want to change the figure, you don't have to open/switch to GeoGebra, make the change, and export the figure, you just edit the TikZ code. Another advantage, is that the font will be the same as the document, leading to a more consistent looking document.

As for the time aspect, practice makes, if not perfect, at least much better. The more stuff you do with TikZ, the more you learn, the less time you'll spend getting what you want.

In the end though, you have to decide yourself what to spend your time on. If you're not going to create any figures that GeoGebra can't do, and GeoGebra gives a decent result, then use it. Personally I don't regret learning TikZ, and it can do so much more than GeoGebra.

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