Since the December 20, 2013, we have new major release of the wonderful TikZ/pgf package: version 3.0.0! 1

Unfortunately, I was not able to find a nice human readable list of changes, that goes to some depth and maybe even provides some examples. This page probably comes closest to it: 2

Therefore, I would like to ask you to point out some of the new features and give examples of their usage! A bounty might be awarded ;-).

1. http://sourceforge.net/projects/pgf/
2. http://sourceforge.net/projects/pgf/files/pgf/version%203.0.0/

  • 6
    @cgnieder: It is and CTAN is working on releasing it. Once it's on CTAN it will in the distros. Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 11:29
  • 3
    @MartinSchröder It is a month and a half and still not on CTAN. Any time prognosis when this is going to be released?
    – Pygmalion
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 17:14
  • 7
    Finally pgf 3.0.0 makes it to ctan and to all its the mirrors :) Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 21:25
  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because all information is contained in the changelog which is an off-site resource. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 20:17
  • 3
    But the changelog does not give an overview like the community wiki answer below. Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 15:27

3 Answers 3


Some of the new features have already been shown on the site.

I report some examples (in alphabetical order):








  • 2
    Oh, I'm looking forward to pics!
    – quinmars
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 21:14
  • 4
    The graph drawing library is amazing. Making things so much easier! When will 3.0 reach TeXLive?
    – Ingo
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 12:08
  • 3
    What? No faded drop shadow? :(
    – recluze
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 1:43
  • texdoc tikz brings up the old documentation (v2.1 rather than 3.0), why? Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 13:23
  • @CodeMocker: make sure to copy the doc directory in your personal tree. I did that way and texdoc is opening correctly the new documentation. Commented Jan 16, 2014 at 13:28

With TikZ 3.0, you can use blend modes.

A blend mode specifies how colors mix when you paint on a canvas. Normally, if you paint a red box on a green circle, the red color will completely replace the green circle. However, in some situations you might also wish the red color to somehow "mix" or "blend" with the green circle. We already saw that, using transparency, we can draw something without completely obscuring the background. Blending is a similar operation, only here we mix colors in more complicated ways.

Note: Blending is a rather "advanced" feature of PDF. Most renderers, let alone printers, will have trouble rendering blending correctly.

Below is an example of screen blend mode (there are 16 modes: normal, multiply, screen, overlay, darken, lighten, color dodge, color burn, hard light, soft light, difference, exclusion, hue, saturation, color, luminosity).

enter image description here

\tikz [blend group=screen] {
  \fill[red!90!black]   ( 90:.6) circle (1);
  \fill[green!80!black] (210:.6) circle (1);
  \fill[blue!90!black] (330:.6) circle (1);

With TikZ 3.0 arrives math library.

This library defines a simple mathematical language to define simple functions and perform sequences of basic mathematical operations.

Here is a code from the manual (p.629), slightly modified to include function use.

  function step(\n){ return 45/\n; };
  function first(\n){ return step(\n)/2; };
  function next(\n){ return first(\n)+2*step(\n); };
  function testcircle(\a){
    real \s; \s = step(\a);
    for \k in {first(\a),next(\a),...,360}{
      % set the color
      if \k>270 then { let \c = orange; } else {
        if \k>180 then { let \c = blue; } else {
          if \k>90 then { let \c = red; } else {
            let \c = green;
      { % "print" the path command
        \path[fill=\c!50, draw=\c] (\k:0.5cm) -- (\k:1cm) --
          (\k+\s:1cm) -- (\k+\s:0.5cm) -- cycle;
    }; % end for loop
  }; % end test circle


enter image description here

  • 2
    wow, that code looks almost like one sees in normal looking languages. A normal looking function definition and even a normal looking "if then else". May be I should switch to Latex programming from now on. This is very good news. Can one call these functions from Latex outside \begin{tikzpicture}? Or these functions can only be used inside tikzpicture?
    – Nasser
    Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 9:56
  • 1
    @Nasser yes we can. If you look at the manual you can see examples outside tikzpicture. But don't be so happy : not everything is possible. It is really "math" library. You can't manipulate "strings" easily (you can still hook to standard (La)TeX for doing this). For example I was not able to create function that returns a color (like green!50) and use it after in the path. But may be somebody will tell us how to do it ;)
    – Kpym
    Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 10:08
  • 1
    @Kpym You may use return "..." to return a string. Then you may define a new .math expr handler to use math expressions for any pgf/tikz key. Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 11:01
  • @PaulGaborit I tried to return string, it works well if I use it in a node text, but I was not able to use it in a style. I'll check with .math exp (I was not aware of the existence of this handler). Thanks for the suggestion !
    – Kpym
    Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 11:08
  • @Kpym You must write your own .math expr handler like \pgfkeysdef{/handlers/.math expr}{\pgfmathparse{#1}\pgfkeysalso{\pgfkeyscurrentpath/.expand once=\pgfmathresult}} Commented Dec 27, 2014 at 11:13

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