# Regular polygon VS circle shapes in TikZ

This question is a kind of continuation this answer. There, it remains unclear which is the origin of the white space around the node content, if a square shape is used, and I would like to understand this. Given the following MWE

\documentclass[tikz, border=1mm]{standalone}
\usetikzlibrary{shapes.geometric}

\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}[every node/.style={draw, inner sep=0}]
\node[regular polygon,regular polygon sides=4] (a) {XX};
\node[regular polygon,regular polygon sides=100, blue] (b) {XX};
\node[circle] (c) {XX};
\foreach \a in {north,south,east,west,north east,south east,north west,south west}{
\fill[red] (a.\a) circle(0.5pt);
\fill[yellow] (b.\a) circle(0.25pt);
\fill[orange] (c.\a) circle(0.25pt);
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}


I am a bit surprised that the black circle has a radius which is smaller than that of the inscribed circle in the polygon, since the pgf manual says

[...] the border of the polygon is always constructed using the incircle, whose radius is calculated to tightly fit the node contents (including any inner sep).

To show what I would have expected and what I would like to have I added a blue "fake circle" to the MWE as a regular polygon with 100 sides. Is there a way to draw such a blue circle using the circle shape, i.e. \node[circle, ...]{XX};? Playing by hand with inner sep is not an option for me.

As clarification/additional information, I am interested in having a node shape to be used in a wider context, i.e. not in relation with the square. And also receiving an explanation about why the 4-sides polygon leaves so much space despite the inner sep=0 would be highly appreciated.

UPDATE: From the comments, indeed, there is some room of interpretation in the question. In short, I would like to answer these questions.

1. How is it possible to have a Circle shape (or Circle tikzstyle) that draws exactly the inscribed circle of the correspondent regular polygon around a given node content?
2. Where does the discrepancy between black circle and square in my MWE come from?
3. If easier (I can also use this other approach), how is it possible to have a Regular Polygon shape (or tikzstyle) that has as inscribed circle the correspondent circle around a given node content?

• You can see in the manual that for empty nodes the ratio is sqrt(2) (but I don't know why). In the manual a regular polygon with inner space equal to 0.3535cm (which is sqrt(2)/4) is tangent to circle with radius 1/2 cm. – Kpym Mar 21 '19 at 12:50
• I had noticed that strange inner sep in the example. But I had also noticed that it was about an empty node. If I have an arbitrary node content, I would then need to adjust that 0.3535cm magic number (and I should think about how). Are you suggesting something like that? – Axel Krypton Mar 21 '19 at 13:07
• This sqrt(2) factor does make sense if you assume the the content is approximately quadratic. And I do not understand the question. That is, I thought I did before I saw the answers. Could you perhaps indicate to which extent the answers address the question. I am really confused. – user121799 Mar 21 '19 at 14:19
• @marmot As I understand the answer is "How to draw a circular shape that has the same inner circle as all other regular polygons". – Kpym Mar 21 '19 at 14:32
• @marmot I think that I have answered this par of the question : the the origin of the white space around the node content is that in the definition of the regular polygon shape the inner radius is calculated differently from the circle shape (and the ratio between both depends on the shape, i.e. the aspect ratio). – Kpym Mar 21 '19 at 15:52

The "inner circle" in shapes.geometric has a radius that is half of the longest side of the content box plus the inner sep, and multiplied by 1.4142136, which is approximately sqrt(2). So to obtain a circle shape that has this behavior you can define a new shape, let's say Circle (with capital C) that is a slight modification of the existing ellipse shape.

\documentclass[tikz, border=7pt, convert={density=4200}]{standalone}
\usetikzlibrary{shapes.geometric}
\makeatletter
\pgfdeclareshape{Circle}
%
% Draws a circle around the text
% (based on the original ellipse shape)
%
{%
\savedanchor\centerpoint{%
\pgf@x=.5\wd\pgfnodeparttextbox%
\pgf@y=.5\ht\pgfnodeparttextbox%
}%
%
% Calculate height radius''
%
\pgf@y=.5\ht\pgfnodeparttextbox%
\pgfmathsetlength\pgf@yb{\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgf/inner ysep}}%
%
% Calculate width radius''
%
\pgf@x=.5\wd\pgfnodeparttextbox%
\pgfmathsetlength\pgf@xb{\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgf/inner xsep}}%
%
%
% ==============================
% added to ellipse shape to become circle
\ifdim\pgf@y>\pgf@x%
\pgf@x\pgf@y%
\else%
\pgf@y\pgf@x%
\fi%
% ==============================
\pgf@x=1.4142136\pgf@x%
\pgf@y=1.4142136\pgf@y%
%
%
\pgfmathsetlength\pgf@yc{\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgf/minimum height}}%
\ifdim\pgf@y<.5\pgf@yc%
\pgf@y=.5\pgf@yc%
\fi%
%
%
\pgfmathsetlength\pgf@xc{\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgf/minimum width}}%
\ifdim\pgf@x<.5\pgf@xc%
\pgf@x=.5\pgf@xc%
\fi%
%
%
\pgfmathsetlength{\pgf@xb}{\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgf/outer xsep}}%
\pgfmathsetlength{\pgf@yb}{\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgf/outer ysep}}%
}%

%
% Anchors
%
\anchor{center}{\centerpoint}%
\anchor{mid}{\centerpoint\pgfmathsetlength\pgf@y{.5ex}}%
\anchor{base}{\centerpoint\pgf@y=0pt}%
\anchor{north}
{
\pgf@ya=\pgf@y%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
}%
\anchor{south}
{
\pgf@ya=\pgf@y%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
}%
\anchor{west}
{
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
}%
\anchor{mid west}
{%
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
\pgfmathsetlength\pgf@y{.5ex}
}%
\anchor{base west}
{%
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
\pgf@y=0pt
}%
\anchor{north west}
{
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@ya=\pgf@y%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
}%
\anchor{south west}
{
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@ya=\pgf@y%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
}%
\anchor{east}
{%
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
}%
\anchor{mid east}
{%
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
\pgfmathsetlength\pgf@y{.5ex}
}%
\anchor{base east}
{%
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
\pgf@y=0pt
}%
\anchor{north east}
{
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@ya=\pgf@y%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
}%
\anchor{south east}
{
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@ya=\pgf@y%
\pgf@process{\centerpoint}
}%
\anchorborder{
\edef\pgf@marshal{%
\noexpand\pgfpointborderellipse
{\noexpand\pgfqpoint{\the\pgf@x}{\the\pgf@y}}
}%
\pgf@marshal%
\pgf@xa=\pgf@x%
\pgf@ya=\pgf@y%
\centerpoint%
}%

%
% Background path
%
\backgroundpath
{
\pgfutil@tempdima=\pgf@x%
\pgfutil@tempdimb=\pgf@y%
\pgfmathsetlength{\pgf@xb}{\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgf/outer xsep}}%
\pgfmathsetlength{\pgf@yb}{\pgfkeysvalueof{/pgf/outer ysep}}%
\pgfpathellipse{\centerpoint}{\pgfqpoint{\pgfutil@tempdima}{0pt}}{\pgfqpoint{0pt}{\pgfutil@tempdimb}}%
}%
}%
\makeatother

\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}[nodes={draw, inner sep=0}]
\node[regular polygon,regular polygon sides=4] (a) {XX};
\node[Circle, blue] (b) {XX};
\node[circle] (c) {XX};
\foreach \a in {north,south,east,west,north east,south east,north west,south west}{
\fill[red] (a.\a) circle(0.5pt);
\fill[yellow] (b.\a) circle(0.25pt);
\fill[orange] (c.\a) circle(0.25pt);
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document} If you want to go the other way and create a circumscribed polygon around the standard circle node style, that do not use low level tricks, you can define circumscribed polygon that use append after command to add well sized regular polygon. This is not a robust code for meany reasons, it is just a proof of concept :

\documentclass[tikz,border=7pt,convert={density=4200}]{standalone}
\usetikzlibrary{calc,shapes.geometric}

% don't tell me to not use tikzstyle ;)
\tikzstyle{circumscribed polygon}[draw]=[
append after command={
let \p1=($(\tikzlastnode.west)-(\tikzlastnode.east)$),
\n1 = {(veclen(\p1)-\pgflinewidth)/2.828427} % 2*sqrt(2) = 2.8284271247461903
in
(\tikzlastnode.center) node[regular polygon,  inner sep=\n1, #1]{}
}
]
\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}[inner sep=1mm]
\foreach~in {3,...,7}
\node[circumscribed polygon={draw=blue!~0!green,regular polygon sides=~}] {XX};
\node[circle,draw=red] {XX};
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document} • Very enlightening. I wonder if, then, rather than defining a completely new shape, it is not easier to find out a systematic way to give a proper, automatically determined inner separation to a normal circle. Analogously one could give an automatically determined negative inner sep to a regular polygon. I will think about it, but you helped already a lot! – Axel Krypton Mar 21 '19 at 16:55
• And I would also say that the pgf \inherit...[from=ellipse] commands might be useful to shorten the code, but I have to still explore this world and I might be completely wrong. – Axel Krypton Mar 21 '19 at 17:01
• Thanks for the added information, very useful, indeed. I came up with a slightly different Circle and I shared this in a separate answer. :) – Axel Krypton Mar 22 '19 at 9:02

Using through library of Tikz.

\documentclass[tikz, border=1mm]{standalone}
\usetikzlibrary{shapes.geometric,through}

\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}[every node/.style={draw, inner sep=0}]
\node[regular polygon,regular polygon sides=4] (a) {XX};
\node (b) [draw,blue, circle through=(a.north)] at (a.center) {XX};
\node[circle] (c) {XX};
\foreach \a in {north,south,east,west,north east,south east,north west,south west}{
\fill[red] (a.\a) circle(0.5pt);
\fill[yellow] (b.\a) circle(0.25pt);
\fill[orange] (c.\a) circle(0.25pt);
}

\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document} • Although strictly speaking you proposed a valid way to draw the blue circle, I was more interested in a general way to draw that shape for a node, without having to rely to another node/point (see edit question). The only way I see I could use your idea is to always have two nodes, one invisible and one that would be the node I wish. However, this is not what I am looking for. – Axel Krypton Mar 21 '19 at 12:25

Just to share a different way to achieve what Kpym did in his very nice answer declaring a new shape, I thought one could have simply a Circle style which sets properly the minimum size of a circle shape (in this particular case it is always true that the content will never exceed the minimum size since we are trying to enlarge the circle). It should work for any node content, no matter if its width is larger than its height or vice-versa. A couple of remarks:

• In this approach the node name and the node position must be declared before the options or inside them using the name and at keys, respectively.
• A Circle inner sep has to be specified before the Circle style, but it might easily be improved, if needed otherwise.

Here the code:

\documentclass[tikz, border=1mm]{standalone}
\usetikzlibrary{shapes.geometric}

\tikzset{%
Square/.style={regular polygon, regular polygon sides=4},
Circle/.style={%
circle,
/utils/exec={%
\pgfmathsetmacro\polygonIncircleDiameter{
sqrt(2)*max(width("#1")+2*\pgfshapeinnerxsep, height("#1") + depth("#1") + 2 * \pgfshapeinnerysep)
}
},
minimum size=\polygonIncircleDiameter,
node contents={#1}
}
}

\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\node[inner sep=0, Square, draw=cyan] at (0,0) {xx};
\node[inner sep=0, Circle={xx}, draw=blue];
\node[Square, draw=cyan] at (1,0) {i};
\node[Circle={i}, draw=blue, at={(1,0)}];
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document}


• Very nice ! Two remarks : it would be nice to not pass the node content as parameter to Circle but I think that this will be tricky, and probably polygonIncircleDiameter is better than to divide and then multiply by 2 the polygonIncircleRadius. – Kpym Mar 22 '19 at 9:31
• I implemented your suggestion, it definitely makes sense! :) About not passing the node content to the style, well, honestly I would not know how to then achieve the same result. Yes, it definitely looks tricky to me. – Axel Krypton Mar 22 '19 at 9:41

This wraps a polyogon around the circle.

\documentclass[tikz,border=3.14mm]{standalone}
\usetikzlibrary{calc}

\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}[every node/.style={draw, inner sep=0},
polygon with circle/.style args={#1 inscribed and #2 corners}{insert path={%
let \p1=($(#1.0)-(#1.center)$),\n1={abs(\x1)/cos(180/#2)}
in ($(#1.center)+(0:\n1)$)
foreach \X in {1,...,\numexpr#2-1}
{ -- ($(#1.center)+({360*\X/#2}:\n1)$) }-- cycle}}]
\node[circle] (c) {XX};
\draw[blue,polygon with circle=c inscribed and 12 corners] ;
\foreach \a in {north,south,east,west,north east,south east,north west,south west}{
\fill[orange] (c.\a) circle(0.25pt);
}
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document} This solution uses calc library to compute regular polygon's inner radius. This way it's possible to compute circunscribed circle's minimum width.

\documentclass[tikz, border=1mm]{standalone}
\usetikzlibrary{shapes.geometric, calc}

\begin{document}
\begin{tikzpicture}
\node[inner sep=0, regular polygon, regular polygon sides=4, draw=cyan] (a) {xx};
\path let \p1=($(a.center)-(a.side 1)$) in node[circle, inner sep=0, minimum width={2*veclen(\x1,\y1)-\pgflinewidth}, draw=blue] {};
\node[inner sep=0, draw=cyan, regular polygon, regular polygon sides=7] (b) at (1,0) {i};
\path let \p1=($(b.center)-(b.side 1)$) in node[circle, inner sep=0, minimum width={2*veclen(\x1,\y1)-\pgflinewidth}, draw=blue] at (b) {};
\end{tikzpicture}
\end{document} 