A Short Comparison of Graphics Editors for LaTeX on Mac OS

Requirements:

  • Run on Mac OS (either natively or by emulation)
  • Can either use LaTeX code in text objects or export to PGF/TikZ code (I do not use PSTricks)
  • Adequate support for drawing basic graphical objects
  • Good output:
    • If PGF/TikZ code: clean enough so that I can understand and modify
    • If graphic file: must look professional with LaTeX typesetting

I tried the following applications. There is one promising software, namely tikzedt, but it only supports Windows. I tried to run it on Mac OS by Mono but it failed to produce the preview images. It looks like the authors are porting the software to Linux and have some success. Hopefully it will work on Mac OS. In the mean time, it will require either a Windows machine or some virtual machine software such as Parallel or VMWare (and of course, a Windows license).

Inkscape

  • Good vector drawing software.
  • It can export to TikZ, however:
    • It uses paths, even for ellipses and circles, so the code looks aweful and it will be hard to modify it.
    • It flips the y-coordinate by setting yscale to -1.
    • In my test, it did not export and plot arrows, which I use very often.

Conclusion: not good until the code exporter is improved.

IPE

  • Basic graphical drawing is adequate, although may take some time to get used to.
  • It cannot export to LaTeX code, not to mention PGF/TikZ code.
  • However, it can embed LaTeX code in text objects and render them correctly and beautifully. Actually it uses LaTeX to render the text and supports TeX preamble (so you can define custom macros).
  • If you change anything in the LaTeX code that is included in the graphic file, you will have to re-open, re-run LaTeX and re-save the file for the change to take effect.
  • It has good PDF/EPS output, small files.
  • A trick: IPE can only draw circles; to create ellipses, scale and rotate circles.

Conclusion: not as I want and expect but it is good enough to quickly drawing graphics that I do not need to custom much.

JPGFDraw

  • It is a bit difficult to use.
  • It exports to PGF, not TikZ, and the code is very low level and very difficult to understand or modify.
  • It does not understand LaTeX code in text objects, for example when I typed “$\alpha$” it produced “\$\textbackslash alpha\$”

Conclusion: not good to be used.

DIA (for diagrams only)

  • Seems like a good editor to create diagrams.
  • However it can only export to PGF code, which is very low level and looks aweful if you want to understand or modify it.
  • I did not test if it can embed LaTeX code in text.

Conclusion: probably drawing directly in TikZ is better, unless you are creating a very large and complex diagram.

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Weekly review: week from 2012-05-20 to 05-26

Last week

  • Work
    • [-] Robust schedulability, coding and example.
    • [ ] Scheduling my defense.
    • [ ] Safe set computation & robust on paper & mindmap.
    • [-] Outline & simulation plan for radiant systems, input to mindmap.
    • [X] Collect and process all notes of schedulability.
    • [ ] Outline of schedulability part.
    • [-] Import papers on desktop to BibTex & mindmap, put unimportant papers into one folder for later.
    • [X] Ask and find out about documents for postdoc (other students, department).
    • [ ] Habit of reviewing, updating, backing up my plan, results, references, data for thesis.
    • [ ] Habit of writing a bit each day.
    • [X] (Optional) MLE+ plan with R & W: human behavior?
    • Later: attracting set for schedulability of more general dynamics, ML – bandit, mechanism design, ML-based scheduling.
  • Personal
    • [-] Keep healthy lifestyle and exercise.
    • [X] Prepare for wife’s arrival.
    • [ ] Brainstorm and Plan.

Plan for next week

  • Work
    • [ ] Robust schedulability, coding and example.
    • [ ] Schedule my defense.
    • [ ] Safe set computation & robust on paper & mindmap.
    • [ ] Outline & simulation plan for radiant systems, input to mindmap.
    • [ ] Outline of schedulability part.
    • [ ] Import papers on desktop to BibTex & mindmap, put unimportant papers into one folder for later.
    • [ ] Air ticket to Canada.
    • [ ] Habit of reviewing, updating, backing up my plan, results, references, data for thesis.
    • [ ] Habit of writing a bit each day.
    • Later: attracting set for schedulability of more general dynamics, ML – bandit, mechanism design, ML-based scheduling.
  • Personal
    • [ ] Keep healthy lifestyle and exercise.
    • [ ] Brainstorm and Plan.

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Weekly review: week from 2012-05-13 to 05-19

Last week

  • Work
    • [X] Finish and submit RTSS.
    • [-] Robust schedulability, coding and example.
    • [X] Begin scheduling my defense (late August).
    • [ ] Finish safe set computation & robust on paper & mindmap.
    • [ ] Import all papers on desktop to BibTex & mindmap, put unimportant papers into one folder for later.
    • [-] Habit of reviewing, updating, backing up my plan, results, references, data for thesis.
    • [ ] Habit of writing a bit each day.
    • [-] Start gathering documents for postdoc, ask VEF & department.
    • [X] MLE+ plan with R & W, make sure it is well designed.
    • Later: attracting set for schedulability of more general dynamics, ML – bandit, tech report for CDC paper, mechanism design, ML-based scheduling.
  • Personal
    • [-] Keep healthy lifestyle and exercise.
    • [X] Clean up house.
    • [ ] Brainstorm and Plan.

Plan for next week

  • Work
    • [ ] Robust schedulability, coding and example.
    • [ ] Scheduling my defense.
    • [ ] Safe set computation & robust on paper & mindmap.
    • [ ] Outline & simulation plan for radiant systems, input to mindmap.
    • [ ] Collect and process all notes of schedulability.
    • [ ] Outline of schedulability part.
    • [ ] Import papers on desktop to BibTex & mindmap, put unimportant papers into one folder for later.
    • [ ] Ask and find out about documents for postdoc (other students, department).
    • [ ] Habit of reviewing, updating, backing up my plan, results, references, data for thesis.
    • [ ] Habit of writing a bit each day.
    • [ ] (Optional) MLE+ plan with R & W: human behavior?
    • Later: attracting set for schedulability of more general dynamics, ML – bandit, mechanism design, ML-based scheduling.
  • Personal
    • [ ] Keep healthy lifestyle and exercise.
    • [ ] Prepare for wife’s arrival.
    • [ ] Brainstorm and Plan.

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Weekly review: week from 2012-05-06 to 05-12

Last week

  • Work
    • [X] RTSS
    • [ ] Finish robust schedulability, coding and example.
    • [-] Finish safe set computation & robust on paper & mindmap.
    • [-] Import all papers on desktop to BibTex & mindmap.
    • [X] Gather & organize all my hand writings.
    • [-] Habit of reviewing, updating, backing up my plan, results, references, data for thesis.
    • [-] Habit of writing a bit each day.
    • [X] Check on MLE+ progress.
    • Later: attracting set for schedulability of more general dynamics, ML – bandit, tech report for CDC paper, mechanism design, ML-based scheduling.
  • Personal
    • [-] Keep healthy lifestyle and exercise.
    • [X] Insurance & credit card for wife.
    • [X] Financial management.
    • [ ] Clean up house.
    • [ ] Brainstorm and Plan.

Plan for next week

This week I must focus well on work to create a momentum to complete my thesis.

  • Work
    • [ ] Finish and submit RTSS.
    • [ ] Finish robust schedulability, coding and example.
    • [ ] Begin scheduling my defense (late August).
    • [ ] Finish safe set computation & robust on paper & mindmap.
    • [ ] Import all papers on desktop to BibTex & mindmap, put unimportant papers into one folder for later.
    • [ ] Habit of reviewing, updating, backing up my plan, results, references, data for thesis.
    • [ ] Habit of writing a bit each day.
    • [ ] Start gathering documents for postdoc, ask VEF & department.
    • [ ] MLE+ plan with R & W, make sure it is well designed.
    • Later: attracting set for schedulability of more general dynamics, ML – bandit, tech report for CDC paper, mechanism design, ML-based scheduling.
  • Personal
    • [ ] Keep healthy lifestyle and exercise.
    • [ ] Clean up house.
    • [ ] Brainstorm and Plan.

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