I have the following problem. I am using the tikz package to draw figures. I am drawing some sort of a data structure. This includes having nodes and lines which connect nodes. Sometimes, a line has to start with a dot and end with an arrow. I have the following code (using arrows and patterns tikz libraries):



       bmp/.style={rectangle,draw,pattern=north east lines},
      \node(root)     at ( 0.00, 0.00)                           {\verb=root=};
      \node(in1)      at ( 0.00,-0.60)          [internal,minimum width=3mm,label=left:I1]        {};

      \node(cn1)      at ( 0.00,-1.2)           [internal,minimum width=6mm,label=left:C1]        {};
      \node(cn1bmp)   at (-0.15,-1.2)           [bmp,minimum width=3mm]             {};
      \node(cn1arr1)  at ( 0.15,-1.2)           [internal,minimum width=3mm]        {};

      \node(k1)       at ( 0.50,-1.8)                                               {$k_1$};

      \node(cas)      at ( 0.8,-0.20)                              {\verb=CAS=};
      \draw[->, shorten >=2pt](cas)--(in1);

      \node(lab)      at (-0.70,-1.80) [internal]     {C};

\caption{Trie examples}

This yields the following picture:

enter image description here

Now, as you can see, the arrow pointing to k1 (corresponding to \draw[*-stealth](cn1arr1.mid)--(k1);) starts a little bit to the right. When I have more arrows, this looks nasty - they all seem to have offsets in various directions.

Is there any way to force the arrow to start in exactly the center (cn1arr1.center doesn't work - it puts it too low)?


  • Could you edit your question to make the sample code a complete working example, starting from \documentclass and including all the libraries necessary? That makes it a lot easier for everyone who wants to try out the code.
    – Jake
    May 27 '11 at 9:16
  • You're right, I should do that. I'm on it.
    – axel22
    May 27 '11 at 9:16
  • You shouldn't use \verb to get tt font, simply use \texttt{..} instead.
    – Martin Scharrer
    May 27 '11 at 9:17
  • @Martin Scharrer: Should that be so in general, or just in figures? The LNCS styleguide says that I should use the verbatim package for code examples.
    – axel22
    May 27 '11 at 9:22
  • @axel22: For source code you should use verbatim, but it isn't required for normal words.
    – Martin Scharrer
    May 27 '11 at 9:52

Simple solution: Use the shorten < = <length> syntax, which will move the arrow tip (the circle in your case) a specified length along the path. Using

\draw[*-stealth,shorten <=-2.5pt](cn1arr1.center)--(k1);

works quite well in this case.

A more correct way would be to define a new arrow tip using \pgfdeclarearrow{start name}{end name}{extend code}{arrow tip code}, where the extend code (which moves the arrow tip along the line) is left empty. Here's an implementation that is based on the original * arrow tip code, so the circle diameter will be identical to the original one, but it will be centered on the start of the line:

  \advance\pgfutil@tempdima by.2\pgflinewidth%
  • Interesting - I would have thought that shorten shortens the line in the direction it is pointing to. However, what it does is, it just lifts it directly up a little bit, when its starting point is set to center. Thanks!
    – axel22
    May 27 '11 at 9:35
  • @axel22: You're right, shorten does move the tip along the line. Try setting a large positive value to see it move, and also to see that the actual line starts at the specified point (actually it doesn't start exactly at the specified point because the line is shortened a bit by the arrow tip command, but it's pretty close).
    – Jake
    May 27 '11 at 9:46

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