I need to reproduce a frequency allocation diagram in TeX. I prefer TikZ but open to PSTricks. I can create a simple bar allocation char using \node but unsure how to create layered blocks like the dark blue Public Safety / Broadband / Guardband / LMR block in the below graphic example.

Source Image

My current code is very very wrong. The blocks are a set size, the the block length needs to correspond to the how much frequency is allocated; nor are the blocks touching. Can we write a macro that draws the block based on some input length?

\begin{tikzpicture}[node distance = 4cm, auto]

\tikzstyle{boxT}=[rectangle, draw=black!50, fill=teal, minimum width=5em, minimum height=3em, level distance=10cm,align=center, anchor=north, text=black, text width = 2.75cm]

\tikzstyle{boxB}=[rectangle, draw=black!50, fill=blue, minimum width=5em, minimum height=3em, level distance=10cm,align=center, anchor=north, text=white, text width = 2.75cm]

\node [boxT] (a) {Commercial};
\node [boxT, right of=a] (b) {Commercial};
\node [boxT, right of=b] (c) {D Block};
\node [boxB, right of=c] (d) {Broadband};
\node [boxB, right of=d] (e) {Guardband};
\node [boxB, above of=e] (f) {Public Safety};   

  • 1
    That looks a little bit like How to draw multiple Rectangles from input data file. Show us the code, preferable in a MWE, on what you accomplished so far by your self and list where you ran into troubles. Looks just like a couple of nodes and/or rectangular paths to me. Apr 24, 2013 at 18:29
  • Don’t use right of=, but use the positioning library and right=of. — You can simply use \node [boxT, text width=<necessary length>] (a) {Commercial}; Although, a combination with the chains library and a few good styles would be better … Apr 24, 2013 at 20:24
  • @Qrrbrbirlbel, I am not familiar with the chains library, can you provide an example? Apr 24, 2013 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


Here's some initial code that you can use as a starting point (I didn't place all the labels); the idea was to use some predefined styles and two chains:


  anchor=north,text width = 2.75cm,
  text height=5ex,
  text depth=2.5ex,
boxB/.style={boxT,text width=0.5cm,pin={[yshift=-6pt]below:Commercial}},
boxC/.style={boxT,text width=0.5cm,pin={[yshift=-6pt]below:Guardband}},
boxD/.style={boxT,fill=orange!90!black,text width=4.5cm,},
    \tikz\node[inner sep=3pt,fill=orange!90!black,rounded corners] {Guardband};}},
boxE/.style={boxT,text width=#1},
boxF/.style={boxT,fill=orange!90!black,text width=#1},
boxG/.style={boxT,pattern=north east lines,text width=#1},

  \node [boxD,on chain] (#1) {};
  \draw[white,line width=1pt] (#1.west) -- coordinate[pos=0.43] (aux1) coordinate[pos=0.57] (aux2) (#1.east);
  \draw[white,line width=1pt] (aux1) -- (aux1|-#1.south);
  \draw[white,line width=1pt] (aux2) -- (aux2|-#1.south);
  \node[label=below:{#2}] at (#1.north) {};
  \node[label={[xshift=-1.45cm]above:{#3}},anchor=west] at (#1.south) {};
  \node[label={[xshift=1.45cm]above:{#4}},anchor=east] at (#1.south) {};


  transform shape,
  start chain,
  node distance=2pt,
  every pin edge/.style={*-,shorten <=-10pt}

\node[boxT,on chain] (a) {Commercial};
\node[boxB,on chain] (b) {};
\node[boxT,on chain] (c) {D Block};
\node[boxC,on chain] (d) {};
\thtext{e}{Public safety}{Broadband}{LMR}
\node[boxB,on chain] (f) {};   
\node[boxT,on chain] (g) {Commercial};
\node[boxC,on chain] (h) {};
\node[boxT,on chain] (i) {D Block};
\thtext{j}{Public safety}{Broadband}{LMR}
\node[boxB,on chain] (k) {};

\node[pinA] at (e.south) {};
\node[pinA] at (j.south) {};

\begin{scope}[start chain=1,yshift=4cm,node distance=0pt,outer sep=0pt]
\node[boxE=1cm,on chain=1,anchor=east] (a1) {};
\node[boxF=25pt,on chain=1] (b1) {};
\node[boxE=3cm,on chain=1] (c1) {};
\node[boxF=20pt,on chain=1] (d1) {};
\node[boxE=3cm,on chain=1] (e1) {};
\node[boxG=5pt,on chain=1] (f1) {};
\node[boxE=20pt,on chain=1] (g1) {};
\node[boxF=20pt,on chain=1] (h1) {};
\node[boxE=2pt,on chain=1] (i1) {};
\node[boxG=25pt,on chain=1] (j1) {};
\node[boxE=20pt,on chain=1] (k1) {};
\node[boxF=15pt,on chain=1] (l1) {};
\node[boxE=45pt,on chain=1] (m1) {};
\node[boxF=15pt,on chain=1] (n1) {};
\node[boxE=4cm,on chain=1] (o1) {};
\node[boxF=15pt,on chain=1] (p1) {};
\node[boxE=2.5cm,on chain=1] (q1) {};
\draw[dashed] (a.north west) -- ( $ (k1) + (0,-30pt) $ ) -- (k1.north);
\draw[dashed] (k.north east) -- ( $ (l1) + (0,-30pt) $ ) -- (l1.north);


enter image description here

The command \thtext has four arguments:

\thtext{<name>}{<Upper text>}{<Lower left text>}{<Lower right text>}

where <name> is the name for the node, and the other argumets are self explanatory; for example (with the styles defined above),

\thtext{kk}{Upper}{Lower L}{Lower R}

will produce a node called kk and with the following layout:

enter image description here

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