50

...i.e. I want to control the spacing between lines in a hatch pattern. Is that possible at all with the predefined patterns from the pattern library, like north east lines? Or should I just create my own pattern? I tried the step modifier, but it has no effect as in the minimal non-working example below. ;)

\begin{tikzpicture}
    \draw [step=0.5cm, pattern=north east lines] (0,0) rectangle (1.4,1.4);
\end{tikzpicture}

EDIT: I changed the code a bit, because I would like to control the spacing in any type of pattern and originally in the example was grid.

2
  • 3
    Related: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/54358/… Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 10:26
  • If you are not locked into tikz, you can consider using pstricks with the package pst-fill. This package provides many options to customize the pattern fillsep[x,y], fillangle, fillcycle[x,y] fillmove[x,y].
    – Hotschke
    Commented Oct 18, 2018 at 10:15

4 Answers 4

14

As Gonzalo says the patterns are not customizable. So, here is one way you can customize the code for the grid pattern to accept a variable that allows you to control the density by adjusting the GridSize=1pt. The default is GridSize=3pt

\documentclass{standalone}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{patterns}

\makeatletter
\pgfdeclarepatternformonly[\GridSize]{MyGrid}{\pgfqpoint{-1pt}{-1pt}}{\pgfqpoint{4pt}{4pt}}{\pgfqpoint{\GridSize}{\GridSize}}%
{
  \pgfsetcolor{\tikz@pattern@color}
  \pgfsetlinewidth{0.3pt}
  \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{3.1pt}}
  \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{3.1pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfusepath{stroke}
}
\makeatother

\newdimen\GridSize
\tikzset{
    GridSize/.code={\GridSize=#1},
    GridSize=3pt
}

\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}[grid/.style={pattern=MyGrid}]
   \draw [GridSize=1pt, pattern=MyGrid] (0,0) rectangle (1.4,1.4);
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}
3
  • Sorry, that's not what I really want, I'd like to set the spacing for any pattern...
    – Count Zero
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 17:38
  • Ok have updated the solution to provide a way to control the spacing of the grid. This is similar to Gonzalo's solution, but has an extra feature of an adjustable parameter to control the size. Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 18:05
  • 7
    Peter, is this still true now? I mean, maybe there have been updates of the library. Are we still unable to set the distance beween lines?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Apr 6, 2013 at 15:52
19

The answer of Peter works only for \GridSize smaller than 4pt, if you want to modify the pattern in order to accept all \GrideSize you have to use the following code:

\makeatletter
\pgfdeclarepatternformonly[\GridSize]{MyGrid}{\pgfqpoint{-1pt}{-1pt}}{\pgfqpoint{\GridSize}{\GridSize}}{\pgfqpoint{\GridSize}{\GridSize}}%
{
     \pgfsetcolor{\tikz@pattern@color}
     \pgfsetlinewidth{0.3pt}
     \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
     \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{\GridSize + 0.1pt}}
     \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
     \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{\GridSize + 0.1pt}{0pt}}
     \pgfusepath{stroke}
}
\makeatother

\newdimen\GridSize
\tikzset{
    GridSize/.code={\GridSize=#1},
    GridSize=3pt
}

Then if you want to modify al type of patterns to accept this density option you have to modify all pattern's codes inserting them in your preamble or directly in the file pgflibrarypatterns.code.tex. Here there are other two example of such modified patterns:

\makeatletter
\pgfdeclarepatternformonly[\LineSpace]{my north east lines}{\pgfqpoint{-1pt}{-1pt}}{\pgfqpoint{\LineSpace}{\LineSpace}}{\pgfqpoint{\LineSpace}{\LineSpace}}%
{
    \pgfsetcolor{\tikz@pattern@color}
    \pgfsetlinewidth{0.4pt}
    \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
    \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{\LineSpace + 0.1pt}{\LineSpace + 0.1pt}}
    \pgfusepath{stroke}
}

\pgfdeclarepatternformonly[\LineSpace]{my north west lines}{\pgfqpoint{-1pt}{-1pt}}{\pgfqpoint{\LineSpace}{\LineSpace}}{\pgfqpoint{\LineSpace}{\LineSpace}}%
{
    \pgfsetcolor{\tikz@pattern@color}
    \pgfsetlinewidth{0.4pt}
    \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{\LineSpace}}
    \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{\LineSpace + 0.1pt}{-0.1pt}}
    \pgfusepath{stroke}
}
\makeatother

\newdimen\LineSpace
\tikzset{
    line space/.code={\LineSpace=#1},
    line space=3pt
}

In any case there is a problem of color specification (see Modified pattern does not see the pattern color option)

1
  • The line pattern generated in this way consists of bunch of dashed-look lines... Is it possible to make them solid lines? I tried to tweak everything free parameters, though nothing helped.
    – TurbPhys
    Commented Sep 12, 2023 at 16:22
13

A quick look at the file pgflibrarypatterns.code.tex reveals that the predefined patterns do not accept modifications through keys. You will have to create your own pattern, or modify the existing ones to make them key-aware.

The following code shows the definition of a my grid (more dense grid) pattern, side by side with the predefined grid:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{patterns}

\pgfdeclarepatternformonly{my grid}{\pgfqpoint{-2pt}{-2pt}}{\pgfqpoint{4pt}{4pt}}{\pgfqpoint{2pt}{2pt}}%
{
  \pgfsetlinewidth{0.4pt}
  \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{3.1pt}}
  \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{3.1pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfusepath{stroke}
}
\begin{document}

\begin{tikzpicture}
    \draw [step=0.5cm, pattern=my grid] (0,0) rectangle (1.4,1.4);
    \draw [step=0.5cm, pattern=grid] (2,0) rectangle (3.4,1.4);
\end{tikzpicture}

\end{document}

enter image description here

Here's the oritional definition of the grid pattern:

\pgfdeclarepatternformonly{grid}{\pgfqpoint{-1pt}{-1pt}}{\pgfqpoint{4pt}{4pt}}{\pgfqpoint{3pt}{3pt}}%
{
  \pgfsetlinewidth{0.4pt}
  \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{3.1pt}}
  \pgfpathmoveto{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfpathlineto{\pgfqpoint{3.1pt}{0pt}}
  \pgfusepath{stroke}
}
-4

Or you can use \hatchsep=3pt or more, so the lines separate more and have less of them.

2
  • 3
    Could you elaborate a little more on your suggested solution? Does this work with tikz as in the OP?
    – Werner
    Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 15:47
  • This is not an answer at all. It might be a comment to one of the other answers, but I cannot find \hatchsep on this page.
    – Scz
    Commented Sep 8, 2014 at 15:25

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