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This question led to a new package:
smartdiagram

I haven't been using PowerPoint for years, but today I immediately fell in love with its "Smart Art" feature (2010 version of PowerPoint). The idea is that an (indented) bullet list is transformed automatically into a process diagram, a tree, a Venn diagram and whatnot. This allows creating simple yet expressive graphics in less than one minute.

Input:

  • Set up / adapt

  • Run

  • Analyze

  • Modify / add

Output:

Result of "Block cycle" smart art in PowerPoint

I know that TikZ already contains code for most shapes needed to build these graphics. What would be missing is a preprocessor to convert these bulletted list to TikZ code, perhaps within (Lua)LaTeX or as standalone preprocessor. (Of course, "normal" LaTeX syntax would do just as well.) Is anyone aware of such a tool?

EDIT: Of course, TikZ can draw Lindenmayer systems, petri nets, automata etc. -- difficult to do that with PowerPoint. But, say, what about a "Process" library that would visualize process chains based on a simple syntax?

EDIT^2: Of course, we could also turn this question into a collection of diagram-producing commands, and later bundle it as something pluggable, like a package/library!

EDIT^3: The above circular process diagram is not the only "smart art" design available. There are other examples, some are more useful, some less. What is your favorite?

share|improve this question
    
But this is already available upon chains library anyway. What you want to have is to change the color and you are done. I don't think such a library would do any good. –  percusse Oct 19 '12 at 13:18
6  
+1 for making such a package. I am using Beamer for all my presentations and would love such a feature. I have never written a package before but count me in on this one. –  Ingo Oct 19 '12 at 13:18
    
@percusse: The "issue" here is that chains is far too powerful for just a simple diagram. Why do you think an abstraction layer that removes most of the complexity for the sake of a simpler usage is useless? Did you have a chance to look at what PowerPoint can do? –  krlmlr Oct 19 '12 at 13:23
    
I'd totally love such a kind of library. Thumbs up! –  Stephan Lehmke Oct 19 '12 at 13:28
    
@user946850: what I didn't clearly understand is if you really want the input should be typeset by the user as a, say, itemize environment and transformed in someway in the picture. Was your idea like this? –  Claudio Fiandrino Oct 19 '12 at 13:41

1 Answer 1

up vote 66 down vote accepted

Here is one possibility: it's based on a list, but not on itemize environments. Indeed I recall Arrows coordinates in TikZ and adapted the things to:

  • create simply the diagram
  • create the diagram automatically overlay aware.

Now you have basically to insert your list inside a command \smartart or \smartartov (for the automatic animation), but I don't know how much you will find the answer suitable for your needs.

Here is the code:

\documentclass{beamer}  
\usepackage{lmodern}
\usepackage{tikz}

\usetikzlibrary{calc,shadows} 
\makeatletter 
\@namedef{color@1}{red!30}
\@namedef{color@2}{cyan!30}   
\@namedef{color@3}{blue!30} 
\@namedef{color@4}{green!30}  
\@namedef{color@5}{magenta!30} 
\@namedef{color@6}{yellow!30}    
\@namedef{color@7}{orange!30}    
\@namedef{color@8}{violet!30}   

\newcommand{\smartart}[1]{%
\begin{tikzpicture}[every node/.style={align=center}]  

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}  {\global\let\maxgritem\xi}  

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}
{% 
\pgfmathtruncatemacro{\angle}{360/\maxgritem*\xi}
\edef\col{\@nameuse{color@\xi}}
\node[rectangle,
    rounded corners,
     thick,
     draw=gray,
     top color= white,
     bottom color=\col,
     drop shadow,
     text width=1.75cm,
     minimum width=2cm,
     minimum height=1cm,
     font=\small] (satellite\xi) at (\angle:2.75cm) {\gritem };
}%

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}
{% 
\pgfmathtruncatemacro{\xj}{mod(\xi, \maxgritem) + 1)} 
\edef\col{\@nameuse{color@\xj}}
\draw[<-,>=stealth,line width=.1cm,\col,shorten <=0.3cm,shorten >=0.3cm] (satellite\xj) to[bend left] (satellite\xi);
}%
\end{tikzpicture}  
}%

\tikzset{
    invisible/.style={opacity=0},
    visible on/.style={alt=#1{}{invisible}},
    alt/.code args={<#1>#2#3}{%
      \alt<#1>{\pgfkeysalso{#2}}{\pgfkeysalso{#3}} % \pgfkeysalso doesn't change the path
    },
  }


\newcommand{\smartartov}[1]{%
\begin{tikzpicture}[every node/.style={align=center}]  

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}  {\global\let\maxgritem\xi}  

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}
{% 
\pgfmathtruncatemacro{\angle}{360/\maxgritem*\xi}
\edef\col{\@nameuse{color@\xi}}
\node[rectangle,
    rounded corners,
     thick,
     draw=gray,
     top color= white,
     bottom color=\col,
     drop shadow={visible on=<\xi->},
     text width=1.75cm,
     minimum width=2cm,
     minimum height=1cm,
     font=\small,
     visible on=<\xi->] (satellite\xi) at (\angle:2.75cm) {\gritem };
}%

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}
{% 
\pgfmathtruncatemacro{\xj}{mod(\xi, \maxgritem) + 1)}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro{\adv}{\xi + 1)}
\edef\col{\@nameuse{color@\xi}}
\draw[<-,>=stealth,line width=.1cm,\col,shorten <=0.3cm,shorten >=0.3cm,
visible on=<\adv->] (satellite\xj) to[bend left] (satellite\xi);
}%
\end{tikzpicture}  
}%
\makeatother

\begin{document}
\begin{frame}{Smart art}
\begin{center}
\smartartov{Set up~/ Adapt,Run,Analyze,Modify~/ Add}
\end{center}
\end{frame}

\end{document}

The diagram created by means of \smartart is:

enter image description here

The animation created by means of \smartartov:

enter image description here


I've seen EDIT^3, and I agree that one could also display differently the diagram, for example as a standard flow chart. A couple of weeks ago I built a library to draw switching architectures (link) in which main problem was similar, how to display automatically in a vertical fashion a given number of modules. Putting things together, two new commands are available:

  • \smartartflow to create the flow diagram
  • \smartartflowov to create the flow diagram automatically overlay aware.

The code:

\documentclass{beamer}  
\usepackage{lmodern}
\usepackage{tikz}

\usetikzlibrary{calc,shadows} 
\makeatletter 
\@namedef{color@1}{red!30}
\@namedef{color@2}{cyan!30}   
\@namedef{color@3}{blue!30} 
\@namedef{color@4}{green!30}  
\@namedef{color@5}{magenta!30} 
\@namedef{color@6}{yellow!30}    
\@namedef{color@7}{orange!30}    
\@namedef{color@8}{violet!30}   

\pgfmathsetmacro{\moduleysep}{1.2} % default value
\newcommand{\setmoduleysep}[1]{\pgfmathsetmacro{\moduleysep}{#1}}


\newcommand{\smartartflow}[1]{%
\begin{tikzpicture}[every node/.style={align=center}]  

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}  {\global\let\maxgritem\xi}  

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}
{%
\edef\col{\@nameuse{color@\xi}}
\path let \n1 = {int(0-\xi)}, \n2={0-\xi*\moduleysep}
    in node[rectangle,
    rounded corners,
     thick,
     draw=gray,
     top color= white,
     bottom color=\col,
     drop shadow,
     text width=1.75cm,
     minimum width=2cm,
     minimum height=1cm,
     font=\small] (satellite\xi) at +(0,\n2) {\gritem};

}%

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}
{% 
\pgfmathtruncatemacro{\xj}{mod(\xi, \maxgritem) + 1)} 
\edef\col{\@nameuse{color@\xj}}
\ifnum\xi<\maxgritem
\draw[<-,>=stealth,line width=.1cm,\col,] (satellite\xj) -- (satellite\xi);
\fi

\ifnum\xi=\maxgritem
\draw[<-,>=stealth,line width=.1cm,\col,] (satellite\xj.east)--($(satellite\xj.east)+(1,0)$) |- (satellite\xi);
\fi
}%

\end{tikzpicture}  
}

\tikzset{
    invisible/.style={opacity=0},
    visible on/.style={alt=#1{}{invisible}},
    alt/.code args={<#1>#2#3}{%
      \alt<#1>{\pgfkeysalso{#2}}{\pgfkeysalso{#3}} % \pgfkeysalso doesn't change the path
    },
  }

\newcommand{\smartartflowov}[1]{%
\begin{tikzpicture}[every node/.style={align=center}]  

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}  {\global\let\maxgritem\xi}  

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}
{%
\edef\col{\@nameuse{color@\xi}}
\path let \n1 = {int(0-\xi)}, \n2={0-\xi*\moduleysep}
    in node[rectangle,
    rounded corners,
     thick,
     draw=gray,
     top color= white,
     bottom color=\col,
     drop shadow={visible on=<\xi->},
     text width=1.75cm,
     minimum width=2cm,
     minimum height=1cm,
     font=\small,
     visible on=<\xi->] (satellite\xi) at +(0,\n2) {\gritem};

}%

\foreach \gritem [count=\xi] in {#1}
{% 
\pgfmathtruncatemacro{\adv}{\xi + 1)}
\pgfmathtruncatemacro{\xj}{mod(\xi, \maxgritem) + 1)} 
\edef\col{\@nameuse{color@\xj}}
\ifnum\xi<\maxgritem
\draw[<-,>=stealth,line width=.1cm,\col,visible on=<\adv->] (satellite\xj) -- (satellite\xi);
\fi

\ifnum\xi=\maxgritem
\draw[<-,>=stealth,line width=.1cm,\col,visible on=<\adv->] (satellite\xj.east)--($(satellite\xj.east)+(1,0)$) |- (satellite\xi);
\fi
}%

\end{tikzpicture}  
}
\makeatother

\begin{document}
\begin{frame}{Smart art flow}
\setmoduleysep{1.75} % to adjust the module separation
\begin{center}
\smartartflowov{Set up~/ Adapt,{Run, Compile},Analyze,Modify~/ Add, Build}
\end{center}
\end{frame}

\end{document}

The flow diagram created by means of \smartartflow is:

enter image description here

The animation created by means of \smartartflowov:

enter image description here


The code developed in the answer has been the base of the package smartdiagram. Its macros are built on top of TikZ which is built on top of PGF: ok we can graphically see this with a priority descriptive diagram.

The code:

\documentclass{beamer}
\usepackage{smartdiagram}
\begin{document}
\begin{frame}
\begin{center}
\smartdiagramset{set color list={blue!50!cyan,green!60!lime,orange!50!red},
descriptive items y sep=1.5}
\smartdiagramanimated[priority descriptive diagram]{PGF,Ti\textit{k}Z,Smartdiagram}
\end{center}
\end{frame}
\end{document}

The result:

enter image description here

One point not yet well documented is the possibility of declaring a priori styles, for example when you want to repeat several times a diagram with the same properties. So it is sufficient to declare:

\smartdiagramset{diagram style/.style={module shape=diamond,font=\scriptsize,
module minimum width=1cm,module minimum height=1cm,text width=1cm}}

Then a possible use is:

\documentclass[11pt,a4paper]{article}
\usepackage{smartdiagram}
\usetikzlibrary{shapes.geometric} % for the diamond
\smartdiagramset{diagram style/.style={module shape=diamond,font=\scriptsize,
module minimum width=1cm,module minimum height=1cm,text width=1cm}}
\begin{document}
\begin{center}
\smartdiagramset{diagram style, arrow tip=to}
\smartdiagram[circular diagram]{Do, This, Only,For, Me}
\end{center}
\begin{center}
\smartdiagramset{diagram style, module y sep=2.5}
\smartdiagram[flow diagram]{Do, This,For, Me}
\end{center}
\end{document}
share|improve this answer
11  
This is very nice. Clearly demonstrates that a package with abstraction macros is very possible. I can use this immediately with my lesson plans. And it will be a demonstration in the Spring with my "Technical Writing with LaTeX" class for freshman math majors. –  R. Schumacher Oct 19 '12 at 14:03
1  
@R.Schumacher: thanks, I'm honored, but most the credit should go to Alain Matthes and Mohsen. :) The only new thing here is just the method to make the diagram overlay-aware. –  Claudio Fiandrino Oct 19 '12 at 14:17
2  
@user946850: yes, you should enclose in {} the label; for example: \smartartov{{Build,Set up~/ Adapt},Run,Analyze,Modify~/ Add} –  Claudio Fiandrino Oct 19 '12 at 15:54
9  
Smells to me like a new package.................... :-) –  azetina Oct 20 '12 at 2:32
2  
Well, as we are already dreaming: What I would love to see is a package that provides a "generic engine" for smart arts that then can be configured via a pgf-keys interface, so that provided layouts can easily be configured by styles and new layouts can also be implemented as styles. Something in the spirit of the TikZ libraries, such as decorations or shapes. –  Daniel Oct 26 '12 at 16:04

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