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I want to create a bar chart that looks like the one in the picture. diagram

For each x value I have the minimum and maximum value that represent the height that each bar should have. My problem though is: how to create the bars given the maxinum and minimum value since in the manual I only found how to create them given coordinates like in the following code.

\begin{tikzpicture}
  \begin{axis}[
    x tick label style={
      /pgf/number format/1000 sep=},
      ylabel=Population,
      enlargelimits=0.05,
      legend style={at={(0.5,-0.15)},
      anchor=north,legend columns=-1},
    ybar interval=0.7,
  ]
  \addplot
    coordinates {(1930,50e6) (1940,33e6)
    (1950,40e6) (1960,50e6) (1970,70e6)};

  \addplot
    coordinates {(1930,38e6) (1940,42e6)
    (1950,43e6) (1960,45e6) (1970,65e6)};

  \addplot
    coordinates {(1930,15e6) (1940,12e6)
    (1950,13e6) (1960,25e6) (1970,35e6)};

  \legend{Far,Near,Here}
  \end{axis}
\end{tikzpicture}
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I think for this you can also just make use of TikZ. Here is a possible solution that allows to customize axis (x and y), bars (aspect and width) and to insert labels (on both x and y axis).

Now an example is shown and after it some explanations on commands are provided.

The complete example show the same graphic twice by using different options:

\documentclass[svgnames]{article} % the option is required for xcolor already called by tikz

\usepackage{xstring}
% Retreive an element from a list - Jake's code from
% http://tex.stackexchange.com/a/21560/13304
\newcommand*{\GetListMember}[2]{%
    \edef\dotheloop{%
    \noexpand\foreach \noexpand\a [count=\noexpand\i] in {#1} {%
        \noexpand\IfEq{\noexpand\i}{#2}{\noexpand\a\noexpand\breakforeach}{}%
    }}%
    \dotheloop
    \par%
}%

\usepackage{tikz}  
\usetikzlibrary{calc,backgrounds}
\pgfdeclarelayer{gridlayer}
\pgfdeclarelayer{barlayer}
\pgfsetlayers{background,gridlayer,barlayer,main}

% Declarations
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\scaley{1}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\scalex{1}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\minycoord{-5}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\step{1}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\maxycoord{5}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\minxcoord{-5}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\maxxcoord{5}
\pgfmathsetmacro\barwidth{0.3}

\usepackage{xparse}

% Settings
\newcommand{\setyscale}[1]{\pgfmathtruncatemacro\scaley{#1}}
\newcommand{\setxscale}[1]{\pgfmathtruncatemacro\scalex{#1}}
\newcommand{\setminycoord}[1]{\pgfmathtruncatemacro\minycoord{#1/\scaley}}
\newcommand{\setmaxycoord}[1]{\pgfmathtruncatemacro\maxycoord{#1/\scaley}}
\newcommand{\setmaxxcoord}[1]{\pgfmathtruncatemacro\maxxcoord{#1/\scalex}}
\newcommand{\setminxcoord}[1]{\pgfmathtruncatemacro\minxcoord{#1/\scalex}}
\NewDocumentCommand{\setbarwidth}{m}{\pgfmathsetmacro\barwidth{#1}}

% Specific commands
\NewDocumentCommand{\drawbar}{o m m m o}{
\begin{pgfonlayer}{barlayer}
\draw[#1] ($(#2/\scalex,#3/\scaley)+(-\barwidth,0)$)rectangle($(#2/\scalex,#4/\scaley)+(\barwidth,0)$);
\end{pgfonlayer}
\IfNoValueTF{#5}{}{
\node[below, text width=\step cm,font=\footnotesize,align=flush center] at (#2/\scalex,#3/\scaley) {#5};
}
}

\NewDocumentCommand{\drawaxes}{O{stealth} m m}{
\pgfmathparse{add(\maxycoord,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\finaly\pgfmathresult
\ifnum\minycoord=0
\draw[-#1,very thick](0,\minycoord)--(0,\finaly) node[left]{#3};
\else
\pgfmathparse{subtract(\minycoord,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\startingy\pgfmathresult
\draw[#1-#1,very thick](0,\startingy)--(0,\finaly) node[left]{#3};
\fi
\pgfmathparse{add(\maxxcoord,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\finalx\pgfmathresult
\ifnum\minxcoord=0
\draw[-#1,very thick](\minxcoord,0)--(\finalx,0)  node[below right]{#2};
\else
\pgfmathparse{subtract(\minxcoord,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\startingx\pgfmathresult
\draw[#1-#1,very thick](\startingx,0)--(\finalx,0)  node[below right]{#2};
\fi
}

\NewDocumentCommand{\setlabelyaxes}{o O{0.1}}{
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\startingy\minycoord
\pgfmathparse{add(\startingy,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\secondy\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\lasty\maxycoord
\IfNoValueTF{#1}{% true
\foreach \y [evaluate=\y as \scaledy using \y*\scaley] in {\startingy,\secondy,...,\lasty}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\labely\scaledy
\draw[very thick] (#2,\y)--(-#2,\y) node[left] {\labely};
}{% false
\pgfmathparse{abs(subtract(\startingy,\lasty))}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathsetmacro\dimyaxes\pgfmathresult
\foreach \axisitems [count=\axisitem] in {#1}  {\global\let\totaxisitems\axisitem}
\pgfmathparse{subtract(\totaxisitems,1)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\numstep\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathparse{divide(\dimyaxes,\numstep)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathsetmacro\incrstep\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathparse{add(\startingy,\incrstep)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathsetmacro\seconditemy\pgfmathresult

\foreach \y [count=\yi] in {\startingy,\seconditemy,...,\lasty}
\draw[very thick] (#2,\y)--(-#2,\y) node[left]{\GetListMember{#1}{\yi}};
}
}

\NewDocumentCommand{\setlabelxaxes}{O{0.1}}{
% X-axis
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\startingx\minxcoord
\pgfmathparse{add(\startingx,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\secondx\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\lastx\maxxcoord
\foreach \x [evaluate=\x as \scaledx using \x*\scalex] in {\startingx,\secondx,...,\lastx}{
  \pgfmathtruncatemacro\labelx\scaledx
  \pgfmathparse{notequal(\labelx,0)}\pgfmathresult
  \ifnum\pgfmathresult=1
  \draw[very thick] (\x,#1)--(\x,-#1) node[below] {\labelx};
  \fi
}
}

\NewDocumentCommand{\setytickaxes}{O{0.1}}{
% Y-axis
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\startingy\minycoord
\pgfmathparse{add(\startingy,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\secondy\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\lasty\maxycoord
\foreach \y[evaluate=\y as \scaledy using \y*\scaley]  in {\startingy,\secondy,...,\lasty}{
 \pgfmathtruncatemacro\labely\scaledy
  \pgfmathparse{notequal(\labely,0)}\pgfmathresult
  \ifnum\pgfmathresult=1
  \draw[very thick] (#1,\y)--(-#1,\y);
  \fi
}
}

\NewDocumentCommand{\setxtickaxes}{O{0.1}}{
% X-axis
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\startingx\minxcoord
\pgfmathparse{add(\startingx,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\secondx\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\lastx\maxxcoord
\foreach \x [evaluate=\x as \scaledx using \x*\scalex] in {\startingx,\secondx,...,\lastx}{
  \pgfmathtruncatemacro\labelx\scaledx
  \pgfmathparse{notequal(\labelx,0)}\pgfmathresult
  \ifnum\pgfmathresult=1
  \draw[very thick] (\x,#1)--(\x,-#1);
  \fi
}
}

\NewDocumentCommand{\drawgrid}{o}{
\pgfmathparse{add(\maxxcoord,\step)}\pgfmathresult
\pgfmathtruncatemacro\finalx\pgfmathresult
\IfNoValueTF{#1}{
\begin{pgfonlayer}{gridlayer}
\draw[help lines] (\minxcoord,\minycoord)grid(\finalx,\maxycoord);
\end{pgfonlayer}
}{
\begin{pgfonlayer}{gridlayer}
\draw[help lines,#1] (\minxcoord,\minycoord)grid(\finalx,\maxycoord);
\end{pgfonlayer}
}
}

\begin{document}

\begin{figure}
\centering
\begin{tikzpicture}[scale=0.8,transform shape]
% Customization of elements
\setyscale{200}
\setxscale{200}
\setminycoord{-1000}
\setmaxycoord{1000}
\setminxcoord{0}
\setmaxxcoord{1400}
\setbarwidth{0.4}
% Axes
\drawaxes{$x$}{$y$}
\setlabelyaxes[label one, label two,label three,label four,label five]
% Bars
\drawbar[top color=gray!10, bottom color=gray!70,thick]{200}{-250}{832}[label a]
\drawbar[top color=orange!10, bottom color=orange!70,thick]{400}{-300}{250}[label b]
\drawbar[fill=AliceBlue!40,thick]{600}{-600}{423}[label c]
\drawbar[top color=BlueViolet!5, bottom color=BlueViolet!70,thick]{800}{-450}{1000}
\drawbar[top color=white, bottom color=FireBrick!80,thick]{1000}{-71}{150}[label d]
\drawbar[top color=GreenYellow!10, bottom color=GreenYellow!70,thick]{1200}{-500}{733}[label e]
\drawbar[top color=Aqua!10, bottom color=Aqua!70,thick]{1400}{-361}{124}[label f]
\end{tikzpicture}
\caption{This a very long caption that incidentally could overwrite the y axis, but actually it doesn't}
\end{figure}

\begin{figure}
\centering
\begin{tikzpicture}[scale=0.8,transform shape]
% Customization of elements
\setyscale{200}
\setxscale{100}
\setminycoord{-1000}
\setmaxycoord{1000}
\setminxcoord{0}
\setmaxxcoord{700}
\setbarwidth{0.45}
% Axes
\drawgrid[dashed]
\drawaxes[latex]{my x axis}{my y axis}
\setlabelyaxes
\setxtickaxes
% Bars
\drawbar[top color=gray!10, bottom color=gray!70,thick]{100}{-250}{832}[label a]
\drawbar[top color=orange!10, bottom color=orange!70,thick]{200}{-300}{250}[label b]
\drawbar[fill=AliceBlue!40,thick]{300}{-600}{423}[label c]
\drawbar[top color=BlueViolet!5, bottom color=BlueViolet!70,thick]{400}{-450}{1000}
\drawbar[top color=white, bottom color=FireBrick!80,thick]{500}{-71}{150}[label d]
\drawbar[top color=GreenYellow!10, bottom color=GreenYellow!70,thick]{600}{-500}{733}[label e]
\drawbar[top color=Aqua!10, bottom color=Aqua!70,thick]{700}{-361}{124}[label f]
\end{tikzpicture}
\caption{The caption}
\end{figure}

\end{document}

The commands that start with \set<element> allow to customize the <element>. The grid could be drawn by the command \drawgrid and the optional argument customizes its aspect while \drawaxes displays the axes, but just the style of the arrows could be customized. For drawaxes two parameters are mandatory that are the labels characterizing the axes.

There are now some commands to set axis ticks and labels: they are distinct for x and y axis; to just set ticks one could use \setxtickaxes and \setytickaxes while \setlabelyaxes inserts not only ticks but also axis marks. If one needs to insert its own labels, it is possible to use setlabelyaxis[<list of labels>]: this modality display axis ticks and labels based on the number of elements in the list. The two examples (figures will be inserted right now) show this difference. There's no \setlabelyaxis equivalent for the x axis; the reason behind this is that IMHO is much more simple set x labels while drawing bars. The command for this is \drawbar and it needs as mandatory arguments the x position, the ymin and ymax coordinate to draw the bar. As optional parameters, one can customize the bar aspect and to insert a label. Thus the syntax of this command is:

\drawbar[<customization>]{<x>}{<ymin>}{<ymax>}[<label>]

Here are the figures of the two examples (the problem with the caption is fixed). In the first one y axis labels are inserted manually by means of \setlabelyaxes[label one, label two,label three,label four,label five] and x ticks are not displayed (personally I prefer this way).

enter image description here

Notice also the options [scale=0.8,transform shape] given to the tikzpicture environment to avoid the picture be too much big.

In the second example y axis labels are given automatically, x ticks are displayed as the grid.

enter image description here

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I really like the version after the second update but it gives me some problems. When I add a caption in the figure (including the tikzpicture) the caption is relatively close to the plot. That also happens with the text above the plot as well, especially on some scale values. Moreover is it possible somehow to put labels on the axis (xlabel,ylabel, not ticks)? Lastly how can we modify the drawbar to allow drawing the xticks as well? –  gkaran89 Sep 6 '12 at 8:00
1  
As soon as possible I'll have a look to this ;). –  Claudio Fiandrino Sep 6 '12 at 8:26
1  
I've updated my answer! –  Claudio Fiandrino Sep 7 '12 at 8:09
    
I have to say it is amazing! Thanks for the great help! –  gkaran89 Sep 7 '12 at 8:31
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You can use PGFPlots to do this. Compared to pure TikZ solutions, this has the advantage of taking care of data scaling for large values, making it easy to provide data in a variety of different formats, and allowing for the many convenient features of PGFPlots such as automatic legends, tick marks, color cycle lists, etc.

You'll just need to split up the negative and positive parts of the columns, and add forget plot to the negative part:

\documentclass[border=5mm]{standalone}

\usepackage{pgfplots}

\pgfplotstableread{
Year    FarMin  FarMax  NearMin NearMax HereMin HereMax
1930    -20     50      -10     30      -15     40
1940    -10     60      -15     60      -20     70
1950    -15     78      -20     20      -32     42
1960    -20     30      -15     40      -20     10
1970    -5      30      -30     40      -15     20
}\datatable


\begin{document}%
\begin{tikzpicture}
  \begin{axis}[
    x tick label style={
      /pgf/number format/1000 sep=},
      ylabel=Population,
      ybar,
      enlarge x limits=0.15,
      bar width=0.8em,
    after end axis/.append code={
        \draw ({rel axis cs:0,0}|-{axis cs:0,0}) -- ({rel axis cs:1,0}|-{axis cs:0,0});
    }
  ]
  \addplot +[forget plot] table {\datatable};
  \addplot table [y index=2] {\datatable};

  \addplot +[forget plot] table [y index=3] {\datatable};
  \addplot table [y index=4] {\datatable};

  \addplot +[forget plot] table [y index=5] {\datatable};
  \addplot table [y index=6] {\datatable};
  \legend{Far,Near,Here}
  \end{axis}
\end{tikzpicture}

\end{document}
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Here you a more of less automatic version for monochromatic or colored bars:

The Code

\documentclass[parskip]{scrartcl}
\usepackage[margin=15mm]{geometry}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{arrows}

\pgfdeclarelayer{background}
\pgfsetlayers{background,main}

\newcommand{\drawstacks}[3]% low/high value, baroptions, gridoptions
{   \xdef\minvalue{0}
    \xdef\maxvalue{0}
    \foreach \low/\high [count=\c] in {#1}
  { \fill[#2] (\c-0.8,\low) rectangle (\c-0.2,\high);
    \xdef\stacknumber{\c}
    \pgfmathsetmacro{\lower}{min(\minvalue,\low)}
        \xdef\minvalue{\lower}
        \pgfmathsetmacro{\higher}{max(\maxvalue,\high)}
        \xdef\maxvalue{\higher}
  }
  \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\lowbound}{\minvalue}
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\highbound}{\maxvalue}
  \begin{pgfonlayer}{background}
        \draw[#3] (0,\lowbound-1) grid (\stacknumber,\highbound+1);
    \end{pgfonlayer}
    \draw[thick,-latex] (0,0) -- (\c+0.5,0);
    \draw[thick,-latex] (0,\lowbound-1) -- (0,\highbound+1.5);
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\a}{\lowbound-1}
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\b}{\highbound+1}
    \foreach \x in {\a,...,\b}
    {   \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\label}{\x}
        \draw (0.07,\x) -- (-0.07,\x) node[left] {\label};
    }
}

\newcommand{\drawcolorstacks}[2]% low/high/color, gridoptions
{   \xdef\minvalue{0}
    \xdef\maxvalue{0}
    \foreach \low/\high/\fillcolor [count=\c] in {#1}
  { \fill[\fillcolor,draw=\fillcolor!50!black] (\c-0.8,\low) rectangle (\c-0.2,\high);
    \xdef\stacknumber{\c}
    \pgfmathsetmacro{\lower}{min(\minvalue,\low)}
        \xdef\minvalue{\lower}
        \pgfmathsetmacro{\higher}{max(\maxvalue,\high)}
        \xdef\maxvalue{\higher}
  }
  \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\lowbound}{\minvalue}
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\highbound}{\maxvalue}
  \begin{pgfonlayer}{background}
        \draw[#2] (0,\lowbound-1) grid (\stacknumber,\highbound+1);
    \end{pgfonlayer}
    \draw[thick,-latex] (0,0) -- (\c+0.5,0);
    \draw[thick,-latex] (0,\lowbound-1) -- (0,\highbound+1.5);
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\a}{\lowbound-1}
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\b}{\highbound+1}
    \foreach \x in {\a,...,\b}
    {   \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\label}{\x}
        \draw (0.07,\x) -- (-0.07,\x) node[left] {\label};
    }
}

\colorlet{cola}{red!50!gray}
\colorlet{colb}{orange!50!gray}
\colorlet{colc}{yellow!50!gray}
\colorlet{cold}{green!50!gray}
\colorlet{cole}{blue!50!gray}
\colorlet{colf}{violet!50!gray}
\colorlet{colg}{gray}

\begin{document}

\begin{tikzpicture}
    \drawstacks{-2.1/4.3,-1.8/7.1,-5.6/3.7,-4.5/3.5,-3.9/2.0,-6.3/1.7,-1.8/2.4}{red!50,draw=red!50!black}{gray}
\end{tikzpicture}
\begin{tikzpicture}
    \drawcolorstacks{-2.1/4.3/cola,-1.8/7.1/colb,-5.6/3.7/colc,-4.5/3.5/cold,-3.9/2.0/cole,-6.3/1.7/colf,-1.8/2.4/colg}{gray, thick, densely dotted}
\end{tikzpicture}

\end{document}

The Result

enter image description here


To draw high values here's a new version: it has a new optional parameter by which all data is divided for plotting, it's defaults is 500 but can be changed:

The code

\newcommand{\drawhighstacks}[3][500]% low/high/color, gridoptions
{   \xdef\minvalue{0}
    \xdef\maxvalue{0}
    \foreach \low/\high/\fillcolor [count=\c] in {#2}
  { \fill[\fillcolor,draw=\fillcolor!50!black] (\c-0.8,\low/#1) rectangle (\c-0.2,\high/#1);
    \xdef\stacknumber{\c}
    \pgfmathsetmacro{\lower}{min(\minvalue,\low)}
        \xdef\minvalue{\lower}
        \pgfmathsetmacro{\higher}{max(\maxvalue,\high)}
        \xdef\maxvalue{\higher}
  }
  \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\lowbound}{\minvalue/#1}
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\highbound}{\maxvalue/#1}
  \begin{pgfonlayer}{background}
        \draw[#3] (0,\lowbound-1) grid (\stacknumber,\highbound+1);
    \end{pgfonlayer}
    \draw[thick,-latex] (0,0) -- (\c+0.5,0);
    \draw[thick,-latex] (0,\lowbound-1) -- (0,\highbound+1.5);
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\a}{\lowbound-1}
    \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\b}{\highbound+1}
    \foreach \x in {\a,...,\b}
    {   \pgfmathtruncatemacro{\label}{\x*#1}
        \draw (0.07,\x) -- (-0.07,\x) node[left] {\label};
    }
}

The result

\begin{tikzpicture}
    \drawhighstacks{-1632/927/cola, -412/1250/colb, -777/1965/colc, -1234/1984/cold, -981/1984/cole, -1004/590/colf, -766/1318/colg}{gray, thick, dashed}
\end{tikzpicture}
\begin{tikzpicture}
    \drawhighstacks[300]{-1632/927/cola, -412/1250/colb, -777/1965/colc, -1234/1984/cold, -981/1984/cole, -1004/590/colf, -766/1318/colg}{gray, thick, dashed}
\end{tikzpicture}

enter image description here

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This looks great. But what happens when I have large values? For example -1200/1023/cola? In this occasion I get a Dimension too large error and using a scalebox didn't help me. How can that be solved? –  gkaran89 Sep 2 '12 at 18:15
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