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I am writing a thesis with MS Word about drug delivery and I have a graphic that is a bit pixelated (so says the professor). I heard that TeX is a good thing to learn for this and I was wondering if anybody knows how I could improve my image.

enter image description here

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Welcome to TeX.SE. That should be fairly easy to do with tikz. Make an initial attempt and post what you have to this question for help with anything you are having difficulty with. –  Peter Grill May 7 '12 at 20:47
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3 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

UPDATE: As JohnReed helpfully pointed out, you may want to change the "article" class to the "standalone" class in order to size the resulting pdf to the tikz picture. This also removes the page number from the output.

I think I can help you out with this. I would also recommend that you write long documents in XeLaTeX and avoid MS Word (unless you are a pro in Word), because it will save you time in the long run. Anyway, I had a look at your drawing and from what I can tell, its no problem with the TikZ package. Try this in your tex editor (and compile with xelatex):

\documentclass[12pt]{article} %  say
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{arrows,decorations.pathmorphing,backgrounds,positioning,fit,petri,decorations.pathreplacing}
\usepackage{fixltx2e}%get textsubscript working
\usepackage{xltxtra}
\usepackage{xunicode}
\setmainfont{Times New Roman}                    %pick the font used in paragraphs
\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}[thick]
    %MAIN STRUCTURE OF GRAPHIC
    \draw[very thick,blue] (0,0) -- (0,10) node[midway, left=4pt,black] {16G}node[midway,right=45pt,black] {24G};
    \draw[very thick,blue] (4,10) -- (4,7.5) -- (8,7.5);
    \draw[very thick,blue] (4,0) -- (4,5) -- (8,5);
    \draw[blue] (0,8.5)--(1,7)--(1,0);
    \draw[blue] (4,8.5)--(3,7)--(3,0);
    \draw[blue,dashed] (1,0) -- (1,-1);
    \draw[blue,dashed] (3,0)--(3,-1);
    %ARROWS
    \draw[<-,red] (2,9)--(2,11)node[above=4pt,black] {Na-Alginate + Bio-compound (F\textsubscript{L})};
    \draw[<-,red]  (6,6.3)--(9,6.3)node[right=4pt,black] {Sterile airflow (F\textsubscript{a})};
    \draw[->,red,dotted] (4,-.5) -- (6,-.5)node[ right=4pt,black] {Retractable Nozzle};
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}

Also, I put in there \setmainfont{Times New Roman} because you are using MS Word to write your thesis and suppose that is the font you are likely using for your document (although I recommend CMU Serif Roman). You can change the font name in the curly braces to any installed system font. Thats the beauty of XeLaTeX!

enter image description here

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It seems like \documentclass{standalone} would be better for generating a graphic to be used elsewhere. –  JohnReed May 7 '12 at 20:54
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Wow this forum is great! That looks exactly like mine only much better. Thanks for your help. I am actually not an expert in Word. I probably will invest the time in learning how tex works. I will take your advice and go with xelatex. Thanks again –  theo May 7 '12 at 20:55
    
Glad to help! Hey JohnReed, could you explain why standalone is better for generating a graphic to be used elsewhere? I am not familiar with using standalone. –  macmadness86 May 7 '12 at 20:58
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@macmadness86 The standalone document class would be preferable in this case since the output will be automatically sized to fit the diagram. The article document class output will be include the page number (not necessary) and the output bounding box will be too big (requiring manual adjustment). –  JohnReed May 7 '12 at 21:06
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Well, LaTeX would especially be helpful if you would want to write the whole thesis with it (I would definitely recommend it). If you just want this graphic to be sharper, use CorelDraw or Inkscape. Lerning TeX just to convert this graphics makes no sense (Check PSTricks 2D Examples for nice examples).

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I can recommend Open/LibreOffice Draw for drawing this type of figure. Enabling snap-to-grid, it is easy to draw straight lines. While tikz and PSTricks can produce nice output as well, it takes more time to get exactly what you want.

For inclusion in a (La)TeX document, you can export the selection to EPS (and convert to PDF with epstopdf when you use PDF(La)TeX). For inclusion into a Word document, I think EMF gives the best results.

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