I usually use TikZ to generate graphics in LaTeX, but a new coauthor suggested to use Inkscape and EPS files for our graphics. He thinks that we should avoid using additional packages. I never thought about it this way.

My question is whether this is a valid point and one should thus just include EPS files for the figures?

  • 2
    What is worse, one additional package or an additional application? I mean, there are a couple of reasons to prefer inkscape, but not this one. – Marco Mar 8 '12 at 18:45
  • Why not draw the pictures in tikz and use the package standalone to get a pdf version of the figure, which can then be included in the .tex file using \includegraphics? You can also use tikz itself to export the figure. See this question and answers: tex.stackexchange.com/q/452/14 – Vivi Mar 8 '12 at 20:30

The standard advice is to use whatever you are comfortable with. Nowadays the most expensive part of the system is the human's time, so optimize your effort first.

Having said this, there is one nagging problem with eps files made in Inscape and other applications: the font of the text part. More often than not people use one font in the body and another one in the illustrations, with clashes as the result (yes, I too sinned here). So if you use eps files, consider packages like psfrag to make the fonts on the illustrations the same as in the body.

  • 1
    New version of inkscape can export pdf+latex. This means that the graphic itself is exported as pdf and all text is written, together with placement information, to a tex file. You can then input/import this file in your document – Martin H Mar 8 '12 at 19:13
  • Yes, and gnuplot can do the same. This is a very useful feature – Boris Mar 9 '12 at 1:37

It depends on your journal. Many still require that figures are supplied as self contained (no psfrag of overlaid LaTeX) EPS files. On first glance this would appear to rule out TikZ, but in fact you can still use TikZ, and employing the external library with the appropriate extra bits for EPS (see Export eps figures from TikZ) will naturally spit out EPS for you. When it comes to submission time, you can comment out the TikZ figures and use \includegraphics to add the externalised EPS files like the journal wants.

Do note though, that I'm not aware of any journal that directly accepts TikZ code for figures, so either you do it this way or write each figure into its own document with standalone to output the cropped diagram.

  • In computer science, conference proceedings are fine with tikz in-document figures (not external). Elsevier features the following text mentionning that camera ready copies ought to be prepared with pdflatex, which would favor tikz (and pretty much rules out pstricks): elsevier.com/wps/find/authorsview.authors/latex-crc – Jean-Christophe Dubacq Mar 8 '12 at 20:22
  • Ah. I'm from physics, and we can be seriously backward sometimes. – qubyte Mar 9 '12 at 1:02
  • @Jean-ChristopheDubacq Actually pstricks works fine with pst-pdf package... – Boris Mar 9 '12 at 1:39
  • @Boris I suppose most of it would work; I am not familiar with pstricks (I used to do figures in Postscript directly, not using PStricks). However, tricks like absolute page coordinates will probably not work... (not that I do use them). – Jean-Christophe Dubacq Mar 9 '12 at 13:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.