Q: What would be the best (I'm sure there's some subjectivity involved) way to replicate the univariate distribution relationship diagram of LeeMcq08?

univariate distribution relationship diagram of LeeMcq08

From what I can gather Inkscape and TikZ along with the inkscape2tikz plug-in would be best. But I'm a little overwhelmed with all the options out there.

I talked with the author and he said it was an Xfig LaTeX hybrid which he would not recommend.

BACKGROUND: I'd like to build graphics like those of LeeMcq08 to help organize my thoughts on a number of subjects. I'd like to do it in a way that:

  1. can create vector graphics
  2. supports both programmatic and interactive graphic building
  3. supports the addition of LaTeX to the graphic
  4. is generally extensible
  5. has community support
  • 1
    I don't understand why an Xfig-LaTeX hybrid would not be recommended. I'm sure the time spent trying to find the correct connection bends and alignment in a non-GUI environment (like coding in TiKZ or even PStricks) would take just as much time using the GUI-rich IDE of Xfig. No? I doubt whether Xfig has "programmatic graphic building", but it sure has all the rest.
    – Werner
    Sep 26, 2011 at 3:35
  • @Werner. Yeah, he did not elaborate. I agree that it would be an absolute nightmare trying to programmatically build that graphic. That's why I think doing it in Inkscape and then using the inkscape2tikz plug-in would be best. I've used neither Inkscape nor Xfig, but everything I've read suggests Inkscape is better to work with.
    – lowndrul
    Sep 26, 2011 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


You can use Ipe to ease up the replication process. After installing Ipe (if you don't have it) you might want to change how Latex is compiled. You can do this by including the relevant commands (such as small math fonts etc.) in Edit -> Document properties -> Latex Preamble option. Then, from Ipelets -> Insert Image, you can insert your image on the default alpha layer. After defining a new layer, you can start drawing on the beta layer with drawing onto the original image. When you're finished you just turn off alpha layer and import your image as .pdf, .png, .jpg etc.

Obviously, I have the quite low resolution version and the result is as the following

enter image description here

I have exaggerated the box mismatch to show you the difference and also added a couple arrow examples. They can be also changed with the smaller ones. Judging from the fact that the image above took my 2 minutes to cover a quarter of the page, the boxes and rounded rectangles are quite easy. The dashed lines, arc arrows etc. are also supported. This doesn't offer any easy way out when it comes to the equations though, that would take quite some time.

Hope it helps,

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