# Aligning TikZ graphic vertically to neighbor in multicol

For my documentation of a blocks world problem in Prolog, I'd like to show the example code (using the listing package) next to the real world equivalent, which I made using TikZ. For this I used the multicolumn package and 2 columns.

Unfortunately the two frames of those two elements are not starting at the same height. I'd like the top border of those two to start at the same vertical point.

Here is the example code:

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usepackage{multicol}
\usepackage{listings}

\lstset{ %
language=Prolog,                % the language of the code
basicstyle=\scriptsize\ttfamily,     % the size of the fonts that are used for the code
numbers=left,                   % where to put the line-numbers
numberstyle=\tiny\color{gray},  % the style that is used for the line-numbers
stepnumber=1,                   % the step between two line-numbers. If it's 1, each line will be numbered
numbersep=5pt,                  % how far the line-numbers are from the code
backgroundcolor=\color{white},  % choose the background color. You must add \usepackage{color}
showspaces=false,               % show spaces adding particular underscores
showstringspaces=false,         % underline spaces within strings
showtabs=false,                 % show tabs within strings adding particular underscores
frame=single,                   % adds a frame around the code
rulecolor=\color{black},        % if not set, the frame-color may be changed on line-breaks within not-black text
tabsize=4,                      % sets default tabsize to 4 spaces
captionpos=b,                   % sets the caption-position to bottom
breaklines=true,                % sets automatic line breaking
breakatwhitespace=false,        % sets if automatic breaks should only happen at whitespace
title=\lstname,                 % show the filename of files included with \lstinputlisting;
% also try caption instead of title
keywordstyle=\color{blue},      % keyword style
stringstyle=\color{mauve},      % string literal style
}

\begin{document}
\tikzstyle{block} = [rectangle, draw, minimum height=1cm, minimum width=1cm]
\tikzstyle{table} = [rectangle, draw, minimum width=5cm, minimum height=0.5cm, fill=gray!50]
\tikzstyle{b1} = [fill=orange!50]
\tikzstyle{b2} = [fill=green!50]
\tikzstyle{b3} = [fill=cyan!50]
\tikzstyle{b4} = [fill=red!50]

This is an example paragraph.

\begin{multicols}{2}
\begin{lstlisting}[language=Prolog]
[
block(block1),
block(block2),
block(block3),
block(block4),
on(table,block2),
on(table,block3),
on(block2,block1),
on(table,block4),
clear(block1),
clear(block3),
clear(block4),
handempty
]
\end{lstlisting}

\begin{tikzpicture}
\draw(-2,-2) rectangle (5,4);
\node[block, b3] at (1.5,0) {3};
\node[block, b2] at (0,0) {2};
\node[block, b1] at (0,1) {1};
\node[block, b4] at (3,0) {4};
\node[table] at (1.5,-0.75) {Table};
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{multicols}

\end{document}


And here is the result of this, showing the issue with the top borders not being on the same vertical level:

-
Since you have some responses below that seem to answer your question, please consider marking one of them as ‘Accepted’ by clicking on the tickmark below their vote count (see How do you accept an answer?). This shows which answer helped you most, and it assigns reputation points to the author of the answer (and to you!). It's part of this site's idea to identify good questions and answers through upvotes and acceptance of answers. –  Jubobs Mar 1 at 19:16
I will do that. However, the purpose of an accepted answer is to actually solve the problem as intended. The author of the reply itself was aware, that his solution is a bit "messy" and not a one-size-fits-all solution for the whole scope this problem implies. Users that come here to find a solution, might be disappointed, if their problem does not involve a blocks world with 3 or 4 stacked blocks, but some other TikZ construct. –  Lumiukko Mar 17 at 19:40

Without using multicol, and instead fitting the listing in a tikz node, you can get the following result :

## Code

This code is pretty dirty, because it contains a lot of hard-coded lengths. In order to fully automate these measures, one would need to know precisely the height of the listing node. This is doable with the help of this question, but for some reason the listing alters the way the node is typeset, and causes the measured height to be excessive. So until I find better, I'll leave here a dirty but working code.

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
% \usepackage{multicol} % no longer necessary
\usepackage{listings}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\lstset{ %
language=Prolog,                % the language of the code
basicstyle=\scriptsize\ttfamily,     % the size of the fonts that are used for the code
numbers=left,                   % where to put the line-numbers
numberstyle=\tiny\color{gray},  % the style that is used for the line-numbers
stepnumber=1,                   % the step between two line-numbers. If it's 1, each line will be numbered
numbersep=5pt,                  % how far the line-numbers are from the code
backgroundcolor=\color{white},  % choose the background color. You must add \usepackage{color}
showspaces=false,               % show spaces adding particular underscores
showstringspaces=false,         % underline spaces within strings
showtabs=false,                 % show tabs within strings adding particular underscores
frame=single,                   % adds a frame around the code
rulecolor=\color{black},        % if not set, the frame-color may be changed on line-breaks within not-black text
tabsize=4,                      % sets default tabsize to 4 spaces
captionpos=b,                   % sets the caption-position to bottom
breaklines=true,                % sets automatic line breaking
breakatwhitespace=false,        % sets if automatic breaks should only happen at whitespace
title=\lstname,                 % show the filename of files included with \lstinputlisting;
% also try caption instead of title
keywordstyle=\color{blue},      % keyword style
stringstyle=\color{mauve},      % string literal style
}

\begin{document}
\tikzstyle{block} = [rectangle, draw, minimum height=1cm, minimum width=1cm]
\tikzstyle{table} = [rectangle, draw, minimum width=5cm, minimum height=0.5cm, fill=gray!50]
\tikzstyle{b1} = [fill=orange!50]
\tikzstyle{b2} = [fill=green!50]
\tikzstyle{b3} = [fill=cyan!50]
\tikzstyle{b4} = [fill=red!50]

\lipsum[1]

%\begin{multicols}{2}

\begin{tikzpicture}

\node at (-5,0) {
\begin{lstlisting}[language=Prolog,linewidth=5cm]
[
block(block1),
block(block2),
block(block3),
block(block4),
on(table,block2),
on(table,block3),
on(block2,block1),
on(table,block4),
clear(block1),
clear(block3),
clear(block4),
handempty
]
\end{lstlisting}
};

\draw(-1.5,-2.05) rectangle (4.5,2.8);
\node[block, b3] at (1.5,0) {3};
\node[block, b2] at (0,0) {2};
\node[block, b1] at (0,1) {1};
\node[block, b4] at (3,0) {4};
\node[table] at (1.5,-0.75) {Table};
\end{tikzpicture}
%\end{multicols}

\lipsum[2]

\end{document}


## Edit (after OP's remarks)

The following code does, to some extent, the height computation needed for the alignment.

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{calc}
\usepackage{multicol}
\usepackage{listings}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\lstset{ %
language=Prolog,                % the language of the code
basicstyle=\scriptsize\ttfamily,     % the size of the fonts that are used for the code
numbers=left,                   % where to put the line-numbers
numberstyle=\tiny\color{gray},  % the style that is used for the line-numbers
stepnumber=1,                   % the step between two line-numbers. If it's 1, each line will be numbered
numbersep=5pt,                  % how far the line-numbers are from the code
%  backgroundcolor=\color{white},  % choose the background color. You must add \usepackage{color}
showspaces=false,               % show spaces adding particular underscores
showstringspaces=false,         % underline spaces within strings
showtabs=false,                 % show tabs within strings adding particular underscores
%  frame=single,                   % adds a frame around the code
%  rulecolor=\color{black},        % if not set, the frame-color may be changed on line-breaks within not-black text
tabsize=4,                      % sets default tabsize to 4 spaces
captionpos=b,                   %
breaklines=true,                % sets automatic line breaking
breakatwhitespace=false,        % sets if automatic breaks should only happen at whitespace
%  title=\lstname,                 % show the filename of files included with \lstinputlisting;
% also try caption instead of title
keywordstyle=\color{blue},      % keyword style
stringstyle=\color{mauve},      % string literal style
}

\makeatletter
\newcommand\getheightofnode[2]{%
\pgfextracty{#1}{\pgfpointanchor{#2}{north}}%
\pgfextracty{\pgf@xa}{\pgfpointanchor{#2}{south}}% \pgf@xa is a length defined by PGF for temporary storage. No need to create a new temporary length.
}
\makeatother

\newlength{\myheight}

\begin{document}
\tikzstyle{block} = [rectangle, draw, minimum height=1cm, minimum width=1cm]
\tikzstyle{table} = [rectangle, draw, minimum width=5cm, minimum height=0.5cm, fill=gray!50]
\tikzstyle{b1} = [fill=orange!50]
\tikzstyle{b2} = [fill=green!50]
\tikzstyle{b3} = [fill=cyan!50]
\tikzstyle{b4} = [fill=red!50]

\lipsum[1]

\begin{tikzpicture}

\node[anchor=south west,inner xsep=15pt,inner ysep=5pt,draw] (listing) at (-7,0) {%
\begin{lstlisting}[language=Prolog,aboveskip=0,belowskip=0,abovecaptionskip=0pt,belowcaptionskip=0pt]
[
block(block1),
block(block2),
block(block3),
block(block4),
on(table,block2),
on(table,block3),
on(block2,block1),
on(table,block4),
clear(block1),
clear(block3),
clear(block4),
handempty
]
\end{lstlisting}};

\getheightofnode{\myheight}{listing}

\begin{scope}[shift={($- 0.5*(0,\myheight) + (0,2.5)$)}]
% The second term's y coordinate is 2.5 = height of the boxes + table
\draw (-1.5,0) rectangle ($(4.5,0) + (0,\myheight)$);
\begin{scope}[shift={($0.5*(0,\myheight) - (0,0.25)$)}] % Why do I need this 0.25?
\node[block, b3] at (1.5,0) {3};
\node[block, b2] at (0,0) {2};
\node[block, b1] at (0,1) {1};
\node[block, b4] at (3,0) {4};
\node[table] at (1.5,-0.75) {Table};
\end{scope}
\end{scope}

\end{tikzpicture}

\lipsum[2]

\end{document}


I commented out some options from the listings package, and let tikz do the framing, etc. The result is correct with respect to the height, however I am still not fully satisfied, because this still needs user input for the height of boxes (I don't plan on automating it, though), and there is this 0.2 "magical" value which is needed for the vertical alignment of the blocks. I guess my calculations are wrong somewhere.

Replacing this 0.2 magic by 0.4, it's not aligned anymore, but it looks more balanced in my eyes:

## A (half-dirty) solution in case the right-hand picture is taller

The alignment can be more or less tweaked from there. But the syntax is a bit different for that case

\documentclass[11pt]{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{calc}
\usepackage{multicol}
\usepackage{listings}
\usepackage{lipsum}

\lstset{ %
language=Prolog,                % the language of the code
basicstyle=\scriptsize\ttfamily,     % the size of the fonts that are used for the code
numbers=left,                   % where to put the line-numbers
numberstyle=\tiny\color{gray},  % the style that is used for the line-numbers
stepnumber=1,                   % the step between two line-numbers. If it's 1, each line will be numbered
numbersep=5pt,                  % how far the line-numbers are from the code
%  backgroundcolor=\color{white},  % choose the background color. You must add \usepackage{color}
showspaces=false,               % show spaces adding particular underscores
showstringspaces=false,         % underline spaces within strings
showtabs=false,                 % show tabs within strings adding particular underscores
%  frame=single,                   % adds a frame around the code
%  rulecolor=\color{black},        % if not set, the frame-color may be changed on line-breaks within not-black text
tabsize=4,                      % sets default tabsize to 4 spaces
captionpos=b,                   %
breaklines=true,                % sets automatic line breaking
breakatwhitespace=false,        % sets if automatic breaks should only happen at whitespace
%  title=\lstname,                 % show the filename of files included with \lstinputlisting;
% also try caption instead of title
keywordstyle=\color{blue},      % keyword style
stringstyle=\color{mauve},      % string literal style
}

\makeatletter
\newcommand\getheightofnode[2]{%
\pgfextracty{#1}{\pgfpointanchor{#2}{north}}%
\pgfextracty{\pgf@xa}{\pgfpointanchor{#2}{south}}% \pgf@xa is a length defined by PGF for temporary storage. No need to create a new temporary length.
}
\makeatother

\newlength{\myheight}

\begin{document}
\tikzstyle{block} = [rectangle, draw, minimum height=1cm, minimum width=1cm]
\tikzstyle{table} = [rectangle, draw, minimum width=5cm, minimum height=0.5cm, fill=gray!50]
\tikzstyle{b1} = [fill=orange!50]
\tikzstyle{b2} = [fill=green!50]
\tikzstyle{b3} = [fill=cyan!50]
\tikzstyle{b4} = [fill=red!50]

\begin{tikzpicture}

\node[anchor=south west,inner xsep=15pt,inner ysep=5pt] (listing) at (-7,0) {%
\begin{lstlisting}[language=Prolog,aboveskip=0,belowskip=0,abovecaptionskip=0pt,belowcaptionskip=0pt]
[
block(block1),
block(block2),
block(block3),
block(block4),
on(table,block2),
on(table,block3),
on(block2,block1),
on(table,block4),
clear(block1),
clear(block3),
clear(block4),
handempty
]
\end{lstlisting}};

\def\myheight{7}

\begin{scope}[shift={($- 0.5*(0,\myheight) + (0,2.5)$)}]
% The second term is 2.5 (height of the boxes + table)
\draw (-1.5,0) rectangle ($(4.5,0) + (0,\myheight)$);
\begin{scope}[shift={($(0,1.5)$)}] % Why do I need this 0.25?
\node[block, b3] at (1.5,0) {3};
\node[block, b2] at (0,0) {2};
\node[block, b1] at (0,1) {1};
\node[block, b4] at (3,0) {4};
\node[block, b2] at (0,2) {5};
\node[block, b3] at (0,3) {6};
\node[block, b4] at (0,4) {7};
\node[table] at (1.5,-0.75) {Table};
\end{scope}
\end{scope}

\draw ($(listing) - 0.5*(5,\myheight)$) rectangle ($(listing) + 0.5*(5,\myheight)$);

\end{tikzpicture}

\end{document}


-
That's quite a problem, since the blocks box needs to be bigger, because there are other examples following with 3 or 4 blocks stacked. These wouldn't fit anymore. I tried to adjust the height of the box, but it is only aligned to the bottom border. –  Lumiukko Nov 29 '12 at 21:49
I editted to include what I could achieve with "smarter" coordinate computations, however this is definitely not a full solution. How many of those blocks do you want to typeset? And also, would you want an example where the drawing is taller than the listing? –  T. Verron Nov 29 '12 at 22:42
I never thought it is that complicated to align a graphic next to a code block like this, since some books and papers are using this quite a lot. This solution works for a max of 3 stacks (sufficient for me at the moment). A 4-stack would exceed the height of the code since two "clear" lines would fall away. I appreciate your help, but if you stumble upon an easier and more complete solution, it would be great if you let me/us know. –  Lumiukko Nov 30 '12 at 8:43
@Lumiukko : I'll try to give an example on how to get a nice-looking aspect with more than 4 blocks then, but the syntax will probably be different. Also, I can't do that right now, I'll try to find time. For "some books and papers are using it quite a lot", of course, I can't promise I am showing the easiest way of doing it. –  T. Verron Nov 30 '12 at 8:51
Yea of course, just take your time. At the moment this one is sufficient as I said. I'm just curious how they are doing this normally :D –  Lumiukko Nov 30 '12 at 21:03