I created a hexagonal spiral, but ran into a problem while trying to number it. The spiral is created in 2 sections. I can manually number the whole thing, as I did below, but I haven't been able to find an easier method.

I read about a way to number a spiral, iterating through the rings, but it didn't seem to work very well with how TeX generates the shapes. Here is that method:

function cube_spiral(center, radius):
    var results = [center]
    for each 1 ≤ k ≤ radius:
        results = results + cube_ring(center, k)
    return results

My hexagonal grid is a variant of this grid.

What is should look like:

Hexagonal spiral

Code to generate the hexagonal spiral (with partial manual numbering):

\usepackage{ifthen} % if else statements
\usetikzlibrary{shapes} %allows hexagons

\begin{tikzpicture} [hexa/.style= {shape=regular polygon, regular polygon sides=6, minimum size=1cm, draw, inner sep=0,     anchor=south, fill=darkgray!85!white, rotate=0},numbr/.style= {white},arro/.style= {draw,red,thick}]

% base hexagon (created in 2 sections and rotated 90 degrees)
\foreach \j in {0,...,\radius}{%
  \foreach \i in {0,...,\end}{%
    \node[hexa] (h\i;\j) at ({(\i-\j/2)*sin(60)},{\j*0.75}) {}; %{\i;\j};

\foreach \j in {0,...,\shortradius}{%
  \foreach \i in {0,...,\end}{%
    \node[hexa] (h\i;\j) at ({(\i+\j/2-\shortradius*0.5)*sin(60)},{\j*0.75+\radius*0.75+0.75}) {}; %{\i;\j};

% color change(s)
\node[hexa, fill=blue!20!white] (h\radius;\radius) at ({(\radius-\radius/2)*sin(60)},{\radius*0.75}) {};

% manual numbering
\node (h4;4) at ({(4-4/2+0.5)*sin(60)},{4*0.75}) {0};

\node[numbr] (h4;3) at ({(4-3/2+0.5)*sin(60)},{3*0.75}) {1};
\node[numbr] (h3;3) at ({(3-3/2+0.5)*sin(60)},{3*0.75}) {2};
\node[numbr] (h3;4) at ({(3-4/2+0.5)*sin(60)},{4*0.75}) {3};
\node[numbr] (h3;0) at ({(3+0/2-\shortradius*0.5+0.5)*sin(60)},{0*0.75+\radius*0.75+0.75}) {4};
\node[numbr] (h4;0) at ({(4+0/2-\shortradius*0.5+0.5)*sin(60)},{0*0.75+\radius*0.75+0.75}) {5};
\node[numbr] (h5;4) at ({(5-4/2+0.5)*sin(60)},{4*0.75}) {6};

\node[numbr] (h5;3) at ({(5-3/2+0.5)*sin(60)},{3*0.75}) {7};
% ... etc ...

% special shape(s)
\foreach \i in {4,...,7}{%
  \draw[arro, ->, to path={-- (\tikztotarget)}]
    ({(\i-4/2+0.5)*sin(60)+\arrowlen/2},{4*0.75-\arrowlen}) to ({(\i-3/2+0.5)*sin(60)-\arrowlen/2},{3*0.75+\arrowlen});

  • 2
    In case you haven't seen this before, this blog post is a must read if you are working with hexagonal grids.
    – Aditya
    Oct 29, 2015 at 2:33
  • please provide the final expected output you are looking for. What are the replacements of the shifted cells in your picture?
    – CroCo
    Oct 29, 2015 at 4:17
  • @CroCo The grid I provided is the final expected output. The red arrows show where the numbering uniformly continues on the next outer ring (not the shifting/replacing of cells). Manual numbering becomes cumbersome as the grid grows.
    – Cryptc
    Oct 29, 2015 at 13:58

1 Answer 1


Here is one possible solution.

    draw, thick,
    shape=regular polygon,
    regular polygon sides=6,
    outer sep=0, inner sep=0,
    minimum size=1cm,
    \node[hexagone=0] at (0,0){};
    \foreach \r in {1,...,3}
      \foreach \t in {0,...,5}
        \foreach[evaluate={\l=int(\r*(\r-1)*3+\r*\t+\u)}] \u in {1,...,\r}
            \node[hexagone=\l] at (0+.75*\u,{0.43301270189*(2*\r-\u)}){};

enter image description here

Note: I haven't checked what is the maximal possible number of "rings", but for 21, \foreach \r in {1,...,21}, it works :)

enter image description here

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