I am drawing a block diagram with TikZ. While everything is working like a charm, I cannot draw in the background. My code is


\tikzstyle{blockOrange}=[top color=white, bottom color=orange!60,     draw=orange!90!black!100, minimum size=1cm, rounded corners]
\tikzstyle{blockBrown}=[top color=white, bottom color=brown!60,   draw=brown!90!black!100, minimum size=1cm, rounded corners]
\tikzstyle{blockGray}=[top color=white, bottom color=gray!60, draw=gray!90!black!100,  minimum size=1cm, rounded corners]
\tikzstyle{blockBlack}=[top color=white, bottom color=black!60, draw=black!90!black!100, minimum size=1cm, rounded corners]

\begin{tikzpicture}[node distance=0.1cm,auto,>=latex']

\node [blockOrange] (MM) {\eng{Detector}};
\node [blockBrown, right of=MM, node distance=3cm] (PRE) {\eng{Pre-Amp}};
\node [blockBrown, right of=PRE, node distance=3cm] (AMP) {\eng{Amplifier}};
\node [below of=AMP, node distance=2cm] (dummy1) {};
\node [blockBlack, right of=AMP, node distance=2.7cm] (MCA) {\eng{\textcolor{red}{MCA}}};
\node [blockGray, below of=MCA, node distance=2cm] (SCOPE) {\eng{Scope}};
\node [blockGray, above of=MCA, node distance=2.5cm] (PC) {\eng{\textcolor{red}{PC}}};

\path[->] (MM) edge node {strips} (PRE);
\path[->] (PRE) edge node {energy} (AMP);
\path[->] (AMP) edge node {bipolar} (MCA);
\path[->] (MCA) edge node {} (PC);
\draw (7.3,0) -- (7.3,-2);
\draw[->] (7.3,-2) -- (8.1,-2);
\draw node at (7.9,-1) {\textcolor{red}{balun}};


    %Read Out   
    \path (PRE.east |- PRE.north)+(1,0.3) node (e) {};
    \path (SCOPE.south -| SCOPE.west)+(-0.8,-0.3) node (f) {};

    \path[top color=white, bottom color=red!60, draw=red!90!black!100, dashed, rounded corners, thick]
        (e) rectangle (f);


\caption{Block Diagram}


Any ideas on that? My output is

This is the \listitem output straight from the .log file

 *File List*
subfiles.cls    2002/06/08 Federico Garcia
verbatim.sty    2003/08/22 v1.5q LaTeX2e package for verbatim enhancements
filecontents.sty    2009/03/17 v1.2 Create an external file from within a LaTeX
    book.cls    2007/10/19 v1.4h Standard LaTeX document class
    bk11.clo    2007/10/19 v1.4h Standard LaTeX file (size option)
   babel.sty    2008/07/06 v3.8l The Babel package
 bblopts.cfg    2005/09/08 v0.1 add Arabic and Farsi to "declared" options of b
 english.ldf    2005/03/30 v3.3o English support from the babel system
   greek.ldf    2005/03/30 v1.3l Greek support from the babel system
  lgrenc.def    2008/06/17 v2.3 Greek Encoding
inputenc.sty    2008/03/30 v1.1d Input encoding file
iso-8859-7.def    2000/05/28 v1.2 Greek input encoding file
kerkis.sty    2000/02/25 v1.5 Package `kerkis.sty'
 amsmath.sty    2000/07/18 v2.13 AMS math features
 amstext.sty    2000/06/29 v2.01
  amsgen.sty    1999/11/30 v2.0
  amsbsy.sty    1999/11/29 v1.2d
  amsopn.sty    1999/12/14 v2.01 operator names
 amssymb.sty    2009/06/22 v3.00
 amsfonts.sty    2009/06/22 v3.00 Basic AMSFonts support
 amsthm.sty    2004/08/06 v2.20
resizegather.sty    2010/03/01 v1.2 Automatically resizing of too large equatio
ns (HO)
kvoptions.sty    2010/02/22 v3.7 Keyval support for LaTeX options (HO)
  keyval.sty    1999/03/16 v1.13 key=value parser (DPC)
kvsetkeys.sty    2010/03/01 v1.9 Key value parser (HO)
infwarerr.sty    2010/04/08 v1.3 Providing info/warning/message (HO)
etexcmds.sty    2010/01/28 v1.3 Prefix for e-TeX command names (HO)
graphics.sty    2009/02/05 v1.0o Standard LaTeX Graphics (DPC,SPQR)
    trig.sty    1999/03/16 v1.09 sin cos tan (DPC)
graphics.cfg    2007/01/18 v1.5 graphics configuration of teTeX/TeXLive
  pdftex.def    2010/02/14 v0.04n Graphics/color for pdfTeX
   units.sty    1998/08/04 v0.9b Typesetting units
  ifthen.sty    2001/05/26 v1.1c Standard LaTeX ifthen package (DPC)
nicefrac.sty    1998/08/04 v0.9b Nice fractions
   array.sty    2008/09/09 v2.4c Tabular extension package (FMi)
  framed.sty    2007/10/04 v 0.95: framed or shaded text with page breaks
extarrows.sty    2008/05/15 v1.0b Some extensible arrows
  cancel.sty    2000/03/12 v2.1 Cancel math terms
graphicx.sty    1999/02/16 v1.0f Enhanced LaTeX Graphics (DPC,SPQR)
geometry.sty    2010/03/13 v5.3 Page Geometry
   ifpdf.sty    2010/01/28 v2.1 Provides the ifpdf switch (HO)
  ifvtex.sty    2010/03/01 v1.5 Switches for detecting VTeX and its modes (HO)
fncychap.sty    2007/07/30 v1.34 LaTeX package (Revised chapters)
fancybox.sty    2010/05/15 1.4
colortbl.sty    2001/02/13 v0.1j Color table columns (DPC)
   color.sty    1999/02/16
   color.cfg    2007/01/18 v1.5 color configuration of teTeX/TeXLive
  xcolor.sty    2007/01/21 v2.11 LaTeX color extensions (UK)
   color.cfg    2007/01/18 v1.5 color configuration of teTeX/TeXLive
footmisc.sty    2011/06/06 v5.5b a miscellany of footnote facilities
subfiles.sty    2002/06/08 Federico Garcia
   float.sty    2001/11/08 v1.3d Float enhancements (AL)
 tocloft.sty    2010/10/13 v2.3e parameterised ToC, etc., typesetting
 hyperref.sty    2010/03/30 v6.80u Hypertext links for LaTeX
  ltxcmds.sty    2010/04/08 v1.5 LaTeX kernel commands for general use (HO)
 pdfescape.sty    2010/03/01 v1.9 Provides hex, PDF name and string conversions 
pdftexcmds.sty    2010/04/01 v0.9 Utility functions of pdfTeX for LuaTeX (HO)
ifluatex.sty    2010/03/01 v1.3 Provides the ifluatex switch (HO)
 ifxetex.sty    2009/01/23 v0.5 Provides ifxetex conditional
 hycolor.sty    2009/12/12 v1.6 Color options of hyperref/bookmark (HO)
xcolor-patch.sty    2009/12/12 xcolor patch
letltxmacro.sty    2008/06/24 v1.3 Let assignment for LaTeX macros (HO)
  pd1enc.def    2010/03/30 v6.80u Hyperref: PDFDocEncoding definition (HO)
 intcalc.sty    2007/09/27 v1.1 Expandable integer calculations (HO)
hyperref.cfg    2002/06/06 v1.2 hyperref configuration of TeXLive
     url.sty    2006/04/12  ver 3.3  Verb mode for urls, etc.
  bitset.sty    2007/09/28 v1.0 Data type bit set (HO)
bigintcalc.sty    2007/11/11 v1.1 Expandable big integer calculations (HO)
atbegshi.sty    2010/03/25 v1.12 At begin shipout hook (HO)
 hpdftex.def    2010/03/30 v6.80u Hyperref driver for pdfTeX
atveryend.sty    2010/03/24 v1.5 Hooks at very end of document (HO)
rerunfilecheck.sty    2010/03/16 v1.6 Rerun checks for auxiliary files (HO)
uniquecounter.sty    2009/12/18 v1.1 Provides unlimited unique counter (HO)
subfigure.sty    2002/07/30 v2.1.4 subfigure package
 wrapfig.sty    2003/01/31  v 3.6
rotating.sty    2009/03/28 v2.16a rotated objects in LaTeX
  lscape.sty    2000/10/22 v3.01 Landscape Pages (DPC)
fancyvrb.sty    2008/02/07
listings.sty    2007/02/22 1.4 (Carsten Heinz)
 lstmisc.sty    2007/02/22 1.4 (Carsten Heinz)
listings.cfg    2007/02/22 1.4 listings configuration
textcomp.sty    2005/09/27 v1.99g Standard LaTeX package
  ts1enc.def    2001/06/05 v3.0e (jk/car/fm) Standard LaTeX file
lstlang1.sty    2004/09/05 1.3 listings language file
pifont.sty    2005/04/12 PSNFSS-v9.2a Pi font support (SPQR) 
    upzd.fd    2001/06/04 font definitions for U/pzd.
    upsy.fd    2001/06/04 font definitions for U/psy.
  feynmp.sty    1996/12/02 v1.08 LaTeX/MetaPost Feynman Diagram Package (ohl)
    tikz.sty    2010/10/13 v2.10 (rcs-revision 1.76)
     pgf.sty    2008/01/15 v2.10 (rcs-revision 1.12)
  pgfrcs.sty    2010/10/25 v2.10 (rcs-revision 1.24)
everyshi.sty    2001/05/15 v3.00 EveryShipout Package (MS)
 pgfcore.sty    2010/04/11 v2.10 (rcs-revision 1.7)
  pgfsys.sty    2010/06/30 v2.10 (rcs-revision 1.37)
pgfsyssoftpath.code.tex    2008/07/18  (rcs-revision 1.7)
pgfsysprotocol.code.tex    2006/10/16  (rcs-revision 1.4)
pgfcomp-version-0-65.sty    2007/07/03 v2.10 (rcs-revision 1.7)
pgfcomp-version-1-18.sty    2007/07/23 v2.10 (rcs-revision 1.1)
  pgffor.sty    2010/03/23 v2.10 (rcs-revision 1.18)
circuitikz.sty    2009/11/18 The CircuiTikz circuit drawing package version 0.2.4    
multicol.sty    2008/12/05 v1.6h multicolumn formatting (FMi)
enumitem.sty    2011/07/14 v3.3 Customized lists
 makeidx.sty    2000/03/29 v1.0m Standard LaTeX package
booktabs.sty    2005/04/14 v1.61803 publication quality tables
  lgrcmr.fd    2008/06/17 v2.3 Greek Computer Modern
  ts1cmr.fd    1999/05/25 v2.5h Standard LaTeX font definitions
 nameref.sty    2010/01/25 v2.36 Cross-referencing by name of section
refcount.sty    2008/08/11 v3.1 Data extraction from references (HO)
gettitlestring.sty    2009/12/18 v1.3 Cleanup title references (HO)
    umsa.fd    2009/06/22 v3.00 AMS symbols A
    umsb.fd    2009/06/22 v3.00 AMS symbols B


I have forgoten to add \usetikzlibrary{backgrounds} in main's preamble... When I did something really weird happened... Rectangles are not filled with color, background rextangles are not filled with color as well and you can see some shading float around page.

I don't have a clue on what's going on...

  • 1
    You must have some old libraries as this appears to work just fine. -- I have 4 shaded regions that are not shown in your image. I had to define \eng as that was not defined in your MWE. Please fix your MWE so that it is compilable. Perhaps use \listfiles and post the file versions here. Oct 7 '12 at 9:07
  • @PeterGrill Thank you so much for your fast comment! What do you mean by that? A week ago I used the exact same code to produce another block diagram and it worked fine. I compiled my old code and I was shocked... Not only don't I get a background but I don't even have filled rectangles...I am going to kill myself! Sorry about \eng...I'll fix it asap!
    – Thanos
    Oct 7 '12 at 9:10
  • I certainly hope you are not going to do that. Add \listfiles before \begin{document}. It seems something has changed in your system. That will give you a list of packages and their version information. Oct 7 '12 at 9:12
  • 1
    Nothing has been done yet to fix your issue. Trying to get to the bottom of the cause. By adding the \listfiles you should have gotten a list of the package and their versions. Perhaps you need to look in the log file. Please post the version info of all the packages as part of your question. Oct 7 '12 at 9:31
  • 1
    @Thanos: No, you only declare a layer, but you don't tell TikZ in what order they shall be stacked. See the example on page 663 of the manual (82.3 Using layers). Oct 7 '12 at 13:14

You have to tell TikZ in what order to stack the layers via \pgfsetlayers{<layers>}, where <layers> is a comma separated list of layers from back to front. All commands which are not inside a pgfonlayer environment will be assigned to the layer main which is always defined. To have such commands on the right layer, main should always appear in the <layers> specification. TikZ will not throw an error when not using \pgfsetlayers{<layers>}, however it will act rather strange and leave out commands for most layers. When leaving out the \pgfsetlayers{<layers>} it didn't matter in what order background or foreground were declared or used, the backround was always shown and the foreground never, which is really strange. So I guess the advice is always to remember writing \pgfsetlayers{<layers>} as otherwise strange results may occur.



% define layers
% tell TikZ how to stack them (back to front)


\begin{tikzpicture}[rounded corners=3mm,mysquare/.style={left color=#1!10,right color=#1!90,draw=#1!50!black}]
        \fill[mysquare=green] (-1,-3) node[above right] {\Huge F} rectangle (1,3);

    \fill[mysquare=red] (-2,-2) node[above right] {\Huge M} rectangle (2,2);

        \fill[mysquare=blue] (-3,-1) node[above right] {\Huge B} rectangle (3,1);



enter image description here

  • I can give you the fixed code if you like to put it in your answer for future reference!
    – Thanos
    Oct 7 '12 at 19:34
  • 2
    I don't think that's neccessary. Answers are preferably quite abstract, so future users stumbling across a problem similar to yours don't need exactly your solution but only the main priciple to solve the problem. A little advice for further questions: try to keep the example code you present minimal. To answer the question one does not need the whole picture, a tiny part of it showing the problematic behaviour is enough. So try to strip down the code as much as possible (but not further :-). Lastly, glad Peter and me could be of assistance. Oct 7 '12 at 19:45
  • 1
    +1: @TomBombadil: I think it be a clearer illustration if the foreground layer was not the last one. Being last, it would have been on top even without the use of pgfonlayer? Oct 7 '12 at 20:24
  • @PeterGrill: Good point, I changhed the order accordingly. Oct 7 '12 at 21:21

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