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Friday, May 14, 2010

Diagramming Applications

This post answers the question

So how do I create high-resolution line drawings for use in LaTeX? Journal publishers request PDF or EPS with at least 800dpi.

Najmi’s post on Drawing diagram; the cryptic way covered tikz, ditaa and graphviz. (I myself swear by tikz.) However these may be too geeky for most people’s tastes. So here’s a list of free, open source, GUI-based diagramming applications that can produce PDF or EPS files.

  • OpenOffice Draw is a diagramming/drawing program that can save to PDF format. It’ a part of the OpenOffice suite. Personally I find it a bit clunky, but if you already have OpenOffice and don’t want to install new programs, it’ a good choice. Available on Linux and Windows. Mac users should look for NeoOffice instead.
  • Dia is an old favorite among Linux users, but some people might think it looks a bit rough. It does a very good job, though, with lots of elements and icons for UML diagrams, networking diagrams, ciruits, etc, etc etc. Dia supports saving to EPS files, and is available for Linux, Windows and Mac.
  • yEd. You know, I actually like yEd. A lot. The interface is easy to use, and there are also elements for UML, “people”, machines and more — in colour. (There’s even an iPod icon!) The output it produces does look more modern and polished then Dia. yEd supports saving to SVG, EPS and PDF, and is available on Linux, Windows and Mac.


  1. Yor forget inkscape. It produces very high quality pdf or eps images.
    I find the interface quite easy yo use once you get used to it.

  2. Julius, I agree that Inkscape produces great stuff! But I was under the impression that Inkscape is more of a drawing program and belongs to the same grouping as Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP. This post is more about _diagramming_ needs, e.g. scenario or workflow schemas, UML diagrams, organisational charts, etc, hence I didn't include Inkscape in the (very) short list.