My quetion is twofold:

1) I want to have a timeline graph with some intervalls. This is my code:

\draw[->|] (8,5)--(10,5);
\node[] (sh4) at (9.5,5.5){$s^{\text{h}}_{4}$};
\draw[|<-] (10,5)--(13,5);
\node[] (stt4) at (11,5.5){$STT_{4}$};

The result looks like this:

enter image description here

The problem is the bold vertical line of the arrow tip. They should be exactly at the same position, such that the vartical line is thinner.

2) How can I make the arrow tips like -]? The following is not working. Seems like one must escape the ]:

\draw[-]] (8,5)--(10,5);

1 Answer 1


Previous versions of this answer used the now deprecated arrows library. The newer (but at this point old) arrows.meta library allows for a very easy solution for your first problem. The old answer can be find in the history. We'll be using Bar instead of | and Bracket instead of ], however, we will define | and ] as shorthands again (via the .tip handler).

The arrows are usually defined in a way so that they touch the point they point to. You want the | arrow parts to extend over that point. You can either use shorten >=-.5\pgflinewidth or, more comfortably, a slightly changed definition of the arrow tips. In the code below, this is denoted by the ' behind the shorthand.

Since ] will be a troublemaker in many places for options we can simply define a(nother) shorthand.


  |-|/.tip   = Bar[],
  |'-|'/.tip ={Bar[sep=0pt -.5 1]},
  [-]/.tip   = Bracket[],
  ['-]'/.tip ={Bracket[sep=0pt -.5 1]},
  (-)/.tip   = Parenthesis[],
  ('-)'/.tip ={Parenthesis[sep=0pt -.5 1]},
  % aliases
  brack/.tip  = ],
  brack'/.tip = ]',
  p/.pic={\draw[pic actions](left:.3)--(0,0);\draw[pic actions](right:.3)--(0,0);}
  row sep=1mm,
  row 1/.style={nodes={anchor=base,font=\scriptsize}},
  column 2/.style={shorten >=+-.5\pgflinewidth}
  \node{normal}; & \node{shortening}; & \node{new tip}; \\
  \pic[->|]   {p}; & \pic[->|]   {p}; & \pic[->.|']  {p}; \\
  \pic[-{]}]  {p}; & \pic[-{]}]  {p}; & \pic[-{]'}]  {p}; \\
  \pic[-brack]{p}; & \pic[-brack]{p}; & \pic[-brack']{p}; \\
  \pic[-)]    {p}; & \pic[-)]    {p}; & \pic[-)']    {p}; \\


enter image description here

  • superb answer! THX.
    – Christian
    Commented Apr 27, 2013 at 16:26
  • @Qrrbrbirlbel How would you do this with parenthesis?
    – Jon
    Commented Sep 3, 2022 at 23:20
  • @Jon I've updated my answer. The newer (but at this point also old) arrows.meta library provides a very easy interface to alter arrow tips. Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 8:28
  • @Qrrbrbirlbel Thanks for updating the answer!
    – Jon
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 13:23

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