Is there a way to scale a figure drawn in TikZ that scales the node sizes and not simply the coordinate system?

I have tried using \scalebox, but beamerposter (I assume) redefines the font sizes, so the labels in the figure get scaled up as well. One could, of course, force TikZ to make the nodes larger. I'm a little resistant to this, as I'm not very good at manipulating node sizes in general and I seem to have no sense of scale for the poster.

Is there some sort of canonical simple method of taking TikZ figures written for a typically sized document and adapting them to a poster?

2 Answers 2


Design your TikZ picture using only em, ex or relative distances like \linewidth for all distances and coordinates. So your picture will fit automagically to the current size of the surrounding text.

  • 1
    I think this is the answer for the future, at least for things that are liable to become posters. Right now, I'd rather avoid having to redo the figures.
    – hoyland
    Jul 19, 2012 at 13:21

I have my beginning LaTeX students do the following. 1) Create the graphic as a pdf or png file. 2) Then use the \includegraphics options to scale the diagram.

Example with a graphic called tikzpic created with the standalone class and then used in the main LaTeX file.


Check the documentation for \includegraphics for other options such as rotation and clipping.

  • As irritating a solution as that is to execute, it's probably the easiest. Plus, you've told me that the standalone class exists, which is surely useful.
    – hoyland
    Jul 18, 2012 at 23:18
  • If you go into the Tikz Manual you will find you can get your diagrams saved as pdf/png file without any document output and then you use\includegraphics to put at desired location and scale/rotate/clip it. I along with my students usually work with a folder of commonly used diagrams (purpose is efficient and quick completion of homework). See tex.stackexchange.com/questions/55628/… . Jul 19, 2012 at 1:00
  • The method in the TikZ manual works. Curiously, none of the examples of the external library given in other posts work. Something fails in tikzexternalshared.code.tex, but I haven't got the time or the patience to sort it out now.
    – hoyland
    Jul 19, 2012 at 2:02
  • @R.Schumacher: a scaled glyph is not always the same that a glyph with a scaled font size... In other terms, font scaling are not always a simple homothetic transformation. Jul 19, 2012 at 9:29

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