It seems PGF manual for v1.18 doesn't cover the case on how to change the position of the initial text relative to the initial transition. Accoring to the PGF manual section 19.3 the parameters of initial state allow me to change the position of the text:

– initial where=⟨direction⟩ set the place where the text should be shown. Allowed values are above, below, left, and right.

This, however, changes the position of both arrow and the text, for instance

\begin{tikzpicture}[>=latex, initial text={start}, initial where=left]
\node[state,initial] (q_0);

results in this:


What I'd like to have is the text positioned relative to the arrow, e.g. above:


Is there a standard way to achieve this?

  • 1
    I think you will have to get some more to the point. The manual for which package v1.18 do you mean? Tell us a little more about what you want to achieve and maybe post a minimal working example (MWE) to get things clearer to us. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 12:44
  • 1
    This question is really hard to be understood. I think you should clarify better things, as Benedikt suggested, because as it stands provide an answer is difficult. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 13:48
  • I think the passage cited by you from the TikZ manual is a bit misleading. The above, left,... options tell, if the arrow for the initial state should come from above, left,... direction of the node. Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


I have not seen that this feature is supported by the library automata. But the arrow with text can be disabled and the drawing can be done with usual TikZ means:



  \node[state] (q_0) {$q_0$};
  \draw[<-] (q_0) -- node[above] {start} ++(-2cm,0);



  • Actually there is two arrows on the picture. You may want to drop initial param of \node (and initial text as well.
    – ony
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 11:17
  • @ony Thanks, answer updated and simplified. Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 5:10

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