How would you build a grid using a nested foreach, defining one node for each iteration?

If I were coding in Python, I would write:

nodes = {}
for i in range(10):
    for j in range(5):
         node = nodes[(i, j)] = create_node(location=(i, j), text="node text")
         if (i-1, j) in nodes:
             add_path(nodes[(i-1, j)], node, style=hstyle)
         if (i, j-1) in nodes:
             add_path(nodes[(i, j-1)], node, style=vstyle)

My code needs to be more complicated than this (it's not a simple grid), but doing this would be a great start.

  • 1
    Not sure what you mean by linking? It would be better to know exactly what you want to accomplish, and what you have attempted so far as a MWE. Sep 26, 2011 at 0:55
  • By linking, I mean the add_path calls, which I am using as a Python equivalent of tikz's path.
    – Neil G
    Sep 26, 2011 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


I'm not entirely sure what the Python code does (does add_path(<node>) link the current node to the one specified in the argument?), but I gave it a shot anyway.

Here's my interpretation:


    every node/.style={draw,text width=0.5cm},
\foreach \i in {1,...,10} {
    \foreach \j [
        evaluate=\j as \jprev using int(\j-1),
        evaluate=\i as \iprev using int(\i-1)] in {1,...,5} {
        \node (\i-\j) at (\i,-\j) {\i\,\j};
        \ifnum \jprev = \i
            \draw [red, very thick] (\i-\jprev) -- (\i-\j);
        \ifnum \iprev = \j
            \draw [red, very thick] (\iprev-\j) -- (\i-\j);

  • Wow, I think this might work! I'm going to see if I can adapt this to my more complicated case and post a comment if I have any problems. Are these (\i-\j) node names? Can I say (xnode-\i-\j)?
    – Neil G
    Sep 26, 2011 at 1:04
  • @NeilG: Yes, yes and simply use ({1 + 2 * \i}, {2 + 3 * \j}) for the at part in \node.
    – Caramdir
    Sep 26, 2011 at 1:22
  • Thanks, I'm getting this weird error: ! Package PGF Math Error: Unknown operator e' or ev' (in 'int(1-1) evaluate') (Also, thanks Caramdir for explaining how to apply transformations to nodes. My research turned up the dollar sign notation, which is uglier, I think. I'll use yours.)
    – Neil G
    Sep 26, 2011 at 1:22
  • My fault. I think I got this working. Thanks a lot!!
    – Neil G
    Sep 26, 2011 at 1:31

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