# TikZ Positioning Nodes Relative to Other Nodes in Command

So I am a new user to TeX. I have extensive experience in HTML and CSS, and boy is this a whole different ball game.

I have the following command:

\newcommand{\header}[4]{
\begin{tikzpicture}[remember picture, overlay]
\node [below right, fill=#1, minimum height=\hdrheight, minimum width=\paperwidth, outer sep=0] (name) at (current page.north west) {};
\node[text=white, anchor=east, xshift=-10mm] (nametext) at (name.east) {
\fontsize{40pt}{32pt}\color{white}
{\titlefont #2}
};
\end{tikzpicture}
}


It works well enough. However, say I wanted to reuse it. If I called \header again, it would write right over the top of the previous one. How do I properly position it so it will draw under the previous node? Each of these is like a header for a section on a flyer or whatever. Under it would be proper text for the section. So then it would follow that the element be positioned where the last ends.

Thanks

• Please provide a complete example. As far as I can tell right now, you want the second header to go over the top of the text in the previous section, which sounds odd. – cfr Apr 6 '17 at 3:22
• If these are section headings, though, you would be better off adapting \section to meet your needs. It isn't entirely clear whether they are page headers of section headings. – cfr Apr 6 '17 at 3:29
• Welcome to TeX.SE. Try removing the remember picture, overlay options and replace the (current page.north west) with (0,0). Then it should appear in the place where you invoke. Also, while code snippets are useful in explanations, it is always best to compose a fully compilable MWE that illustrates the problem including the \documentclass and the appropriate packages so that those trying to help don't have to recreate it. – Peter Grill Apr 6 '17 at 6:22
• The usual way to set page headers in LaTeX is using the fancyhdr package. For a simple example see page 5. – jakun Apr 6 '17 at 6:31
• Sorry about that @cfr, I should have posted everything. But about what you said about what you can tell, I did say I knew what it did now, and explained what I wanted it to do. Everyone else, thank you for the input! I hope to learn this stuff better. Design and that stuff isn't my biggest strength. I'm a backend programmer mostly. – XVicarious Apr 6 '17 at 13:23

To place nodes relatively to each other in tikz use \usetikzlibrary{positioning}:

\node (a) {node a};
\node (b) [above=of a] {node b};


where in front of the of the distance can be given.

The following code places the headers below each other, because that is easier than above each other:

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

\newlength{\hdrheight}
\setlength{\hdrheight}{1cm}

\begin{tikzpicture}[remember picture, overlay]
\def\positionKey{at}
\def\positionVal{(current page.north)}
\else
\def\positionKey{below}
\fi
\node[anchor=north, fill=#1, minimum height=\hdrheight, minimum width=\paperwidth, outer sep=0, \positionKey=\positionVal] (header-\theheadercounter) {};
\node[text=white, anchor=east, xshift=-10mm, text=white, font=\fontsize{40pt}{32pt}] at (header-\theheadercounter.east) {#2};
\end{tikzpicture}%
}

\begin{document}
\header{orange}{and a third one}{arg3}{arg4}%
content...
\end{document}


Note how I have used % characters to comment out line breaks in order to avoid undesired spaces. (Spaces inside of a tikzpicture are ignored - that's why I have not done it there.)

Also, please note that this is for one page only. If you want to use this on another page again you need to reset the counter with \setcounter{headercounter}{0}.

The usual way to set headings in LaTeX is using the fancyhdr package. For a simple example see page 5 of it's documentation.

The following code places the headers above each other. In order to do that the \header command now merely saves the header in different commands and when all headers have been specified the \setheaders command loops over all of them and places them below each other in reversed order.

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

\newlength{\hdrheight}
\setlength{\hdrheight}{1cm}

\newcommand{\header}[4]{% #1: background color, #2: text, #3: ?, #4: ?
\begin{tikzpicture}[remember picture, overlay]
\def\positionKey{at}
\def\positionVal{(current page.north)}
\else
\def\positionKey{below}
\fi
\node[anchor=north, fill=#1, minimum height=\hdrheight, minimum width=\paperwidth, outer sep=0, \positionKey=\positionVal] (header-##1) {};
\node[text=white, anchor=east, xshift=-10mm, text=white, font=\fontsize{40pt}{32pt}] at (header-##1.east) {#2};
\end{tikzpicture}%
}%
}%
}
\loop
\repeat
}

\begin{document}
\header{orange}{and a third one}{arg3}{arg4}%
content...

\newpage
content...
\end{document}


EDIT: If you want to customize \section command and friends titlesec is the way to go:

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{titlesec}
\usepackage{tikz}
\usetikzlibrary{positioning}

\newlength{\hdrheight}
\setlength{\hdrheight}{1cm}

\else
\fi
\begin{tikzpicture}[remember picture, overlay]
\def\positionKey{at}
\def\positionVal{(current page.north)}
\else
\def\positionKey{below}
\fi
\node[anchor=north, fill=#1, minimum height=\hdrheight, minimum width=\paperwidth, outer sep=0, \positionKey=\positionVal] (header-\theheadercounter) {};
\node[text=white, anchor=east, xshift=-10mm, text=white, font=\fontsize{40pt}{32pt}] at (header-\theheadercounter.east) {#2};
\end{tikzpicture}%
}

\newcommand{\setTitleBackgroundColor}[1]{%
\def\theTitleBackgroundColor{#1}%
\ignorespaces
}
\setTitleBackgroundColor{black}

\newcommand{\sectionformat}[1]{%
#1%
}

% default values copied from titlesec documentation page 23
% parameters of \titleformat command are explained on page 4
\titleformat%
{\section}% <command> is the sectioning command to be redefined, i. e., \part, \chapter, \section, \subsection, \subsubsection, \paragraph or \subparagraph.
{\normalfont\Large\bfseries}% <format>
{}% <label> the number
{0em}% <sep> length. horizontal separation between label and title body
{\sectionformat}% code preceding the title body  (title body is taken as argument)

\usepackage{blindtext}
\begin{document}
\tableofcontents
\newpage

\setTitleBackgroundColor{yellow}
\section{Section~1}
\blindtext
\setTitleBackgroundColor{green}
\section{Section~2}
\Blindtext
\setTitleBackgroundColor{orange}
\section{Section~3}
\Blindtext
\setTitleBackgroundColor{brown}
\section{Section~4}
\blindtext
\setTitleBackgroundColor{blue!30}
\section{Section~5}
\blindtext
\setTitleBackgroundColor{green!70!blue!30}
\section{Section~6}
\blindtext
\setTitleBackgroundColor{rgb,255:red,255; green,194; blue,0}
\section{Section~7}
\blindtext
\end{document}


If you want to customize the spacing of \section you can use \titlespacing{\section}{<left-margin>}{<space-above-the-heading>}{<space-below-the-heading>}.

If you want to know more about how to specify colors see the xcolor package documentation and this answer.

• Thank you so much! Does fancyhdr only do "headers"? I mean I call this thing a header, but it really isn't a proper header. It is just for the title of a section. – XVicarious Apr 6 '17 at 16:09
• @XVicarious That is precisely what I said confused me in your question. You suggested everyone else understood it. Fair enough - if so, maybe I'm just being dumb. But apparently others do not understand what you mean either. – cfr Apr 6 '17 at 17:30
• @XVicarious fancyhdr does headers and footers. Nothing else. As I suggested, probably you want the \section command. – cfr Apr 6 '17 at 17:31