As mentioned by Kurt, this "preference loading syntax comes from
tcolorbox loads the package
tikz. You can do this procedure with any
tikz-based packages like
tikz when needed, additionally defines
tikzsetting option that passes options to
The explanation for this syntax can be found in
Section 12.4 of the
pgf manual (for both version 2.10 and the 2.10-CVS versions). I quote from the manual (
Many commands and environments of Tik Z accept options. These options are so-called key lists. To process the options, the following command is used, which you can also call yourself. Note that it is usually better not to call this command directly, since this will ensure that the effect of options are local to a well-defined scope.
This command will process the options using the
\pgfkeys command, documented in detail in Section 55, with the default path set to /tikz. Under normal circumstances, the options will be lists of comma-separated pairs of the form
key = value, but more fancy things can happen when you use the power of the pgfkeys mechanism, see Section 55 once more.
When a pair
key = value is processed, the following happens:
- If the key is a full key (starts with a slash) it is handled directly as described in Section 55.
- Otherwise (which is usually the case), it is checked whether
/tikz/ key is a key and, if so, it is executed.
- Otherwise, it is checked whether
/pgf/ key is a key and, if so, it is executed.
- Otherwise, it is checked whether key is a color and, if so,
color = key is executed.
- Otherwise, it is checked whether key contains a dash and, if so,
arrows = key is executed.
- Otherwise, it is checked whether key is the name of a shape and, if so,
shape = key is executed.
- Otherwise, an error message is printed.
Note that by the above description, all keys starting with
/tikz and also all keys starting with
/pgf can be used as key s in an options list.
As mentioned by Paul Gaborit in comment for
tikz, Chapter 55, Key Management, contains the complete reference for the
\tikzset options. There is a direct link to this chapter from Section 12.4. In my copy of the version 2.10-CVS, it is found in Chapter 63.