How can I do this in TikZ:
I want to draw a circular node with a sine curve in it to resemble the symbol of a short sine wave like in the diagram shown in the link below. I can draw a circle but I don't know how to put the sine curve inside. the diagram

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    – user31729
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 4:10

2 Answers 2


A simple way of doing this is with a path picture. Using some extra magic, the path picture can be set up so (-1,-1) is the lower left corner and (1,1) is the upper right corner of the picture. This makes it quite straightforward to specify path picture elements.

  do path picture/.style={%
    path picture={%
      \pgfpointdiff{\pgfpointanchor{path picture bounding box}{south west}}%
        {\pgfpointanchor{path picture bounding box}{north east}}%
  sin wave/.style={do path picture={    
    \draw [line cap=round] (-3/4,0)
      sin (-3/8,1/2) cos (0,0) sin (3/8,-1/2) cos (3/4,0);
  cross/.style={do path picture={    
    \draw [line cap=round] (-1,-1) -- (1,1) (-1,1) -- (1,-1);
  plus/.style={do path picture={    
    \draw [line cap=round] (-3/4,0) -- (3/4,0) (0,-3/4) -- (0,3/4);
\begin{tikzpicture}[minimum size=0.75cm]
\node [circle, draw, sin wave] at (-1, 0) {};
\node [circle, draw, plus]     at ( 0, 0) {};
\node [circle, draw, cross]    at ( 1, 0) {};

enter image description here

  • Thanks a lot. I have another problem,when using this command to generate a small node of circle, I find the changing of minimum size doesn't work. for example, the node of circle doesn't become smaller when I change the minimum size from 0.05 cm to 0.01 cm. \node[circle,draw=black,minimum size=0.05cm](W) at (0,0){};
    – Lu Zhang
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 8:35
  • @LuZhang probably you need to add inner sep=0pt to the node options. This is by default set to .333ex (or maybe it's .333em) which - depending on the font - will make the node bigger than 0.05cm, even when it is empty. Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 10:22
  • It really works. Thank you, but now I have another problem, I want to generate a node with |.| inside it and a node with ^2 inside it(These have been shown in the diagram of my question). I just type this in {}, but I don't get what I want. Could you please solve this puzzle for me?
    – Lu Zhang
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 11:58
  • 1
    I can only get the sine wave displayed correctly when setting minimum size=5cm at least, which cannot fit into my existing drawings :(
    – f10w
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 17:42

You can put a sine curve as a tikz picture inside a node.

\node[draw,circle,inner sep=-0.4pt] at (0,0)
{\tikz \draw[scale=0.15,domain=-3.141:3.141,smooth,variable=\t]
plot (\t,{sin(\t r)});};

enter image description here

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