Creating Beautiful Graphics With Latex: An Overview

Enhancing Documents Visually with LaTeX

LaTeX provides robust tools for enhancing documents visually through the inclusion of high-quality graphics. From importing external image files to drawing custom diagrams, LaTeX empowers users with publication-ready graphics capabilities.

Importing and Embedding Images

External image files such as JPEGs, PNGs, and others can be imported directly into LaTeX documents. The \usepackage{graphicx} package enables the \includegraphics command for inserting files with custom sizing and positioning.


Scale images by adjusting width/height parameters. Position with [h] placement specifiers like [h!]. Add captions with the figure environment and \caption command.

  \caption{Image caption example} 

Drawing Diagrams

The TikZ package is perfect for graphically constructing diagrams directly in LaTeX. It defines commands for drawing basic shapes like rectangles, circles, arrows, and nodes with text in intricate detail.

  \draw (0,0) rectangle (2,2);
  \draw (1,1) circle [radius=0.5cm];

Diagrams like flowcharts, mind maps, circuit schematics come together by arranging nodes and joining them with path connectors. Apply color, shading, opacity, line styles for enhanced aesthetics. Annotate elements with embedded text.

\tikzstyle{startstop} = [rectangle, rounded corners, minimum width=3cm, minimum height=1cm,text centered, draw=black, fill=red!30]

\begin{tikzpicture}[node distance=2cm]
  \node (start) [startstop] {Start};
  \node (pro1) [process, below of=start] {Process 1};
  \node (pro2) [process, below of=pro1] {Process 2};
  \node (stop) [startstop, below of=pro2] {Stop};
  \draw [arrow] (start) -- (pro1);
  \draw [arrow] (pro1) -- (pro2);
  \draw [arrow] (pro2) -- (stop);

Creating Professional Charts

LaTeX generates publication-quality charts through the pgfplots package. It bolsters capabilities for data visualization by providing commands tailored to different chart types. Customize styles, labels, ticks, legends, color schemes for professional aesthetics.

Bar Charts, Pie Charts with pgfplots

Plot categorical data as bar charts. Map value frequencies to slice sizes in pie charts. The axis and legend commands style the coordinate space. Apply fill colors and text labels directly on graph elements.

    ylabel=Quantity Sold,
    nodes near coords, 
  \addplot coordinates {(Apples, 7) (Oranges, 12) (Beans, 3)};

Plotting Functions, Data

Visualize mathematical functions by supplying formula syntax for the \addplot command. Alternatively, provide table data points comma separated. Plot multiple functions each colored and labeled uniquely. Customize tick marks, grid lines, legend styles, etc.

  \addplot {x^2-x+4};
  \addplot [color=red] {2*x+5}
    \addlegendentry{$2x + 5$}

Customizing Styles and Labels

Control colors, marker symbols, line types fully. Draw smooth curves rather than straight line segments between points. Format axis tick label text syntax, precision. Multiplot different graphs in matrix layouts under shared legends. Affine transform the coordinate space.

    xlabel={Input Voltage (V)},
    ylabel={Current (A)}, 
    legend style={at={(0,1)}, anchor=north west}
\addplot [color=blue, mark=square] 
  coordinates { (2,1) (4,2) (6,3) };
\addlegendentry{Measurement 1}

\addplot [color=red, smooth] 
  coordinates { (1,0.5) (3,1) (5,2.5) };
\addlegendentry{Measurement 2}  

Building Tables and Matrices

Organize data in clean, structured grids with LaTeX's tabular environment. Column headers often employ multicolumn cells styled distinctly from body rows. Apply color, trimming, borders row or column-wise.

Multirow and Multicolumn Cells

Span table headers vertically using \multicolumn{cols}{pos}{text}. Stack text in cells with multicolumn and multirow while merging underlying rectangles. Column specifiers like {lcr} left-center-right justify cell content.

  \multicolumn{2}{c}{\textbf{Multiheader Spanning}} \\
  Left   & Center & Right \\ 
  1      & 2      & 3     \\
  4      & 5      & 6     

Coloring Rows, Columns

Shade alternate rows differently for readability. Generate zebra striping effects through LaTeX macros that toggle a color switch.\arrayrulecolor{color} sets border tint globally or per \hline. The colortbl package colors text, background singly or in combination.

  Name & Phone & Email \\
  John & 1234 & [email protected] \\
  Mary & 5678 & [email protected]

Merging Cells, Styling Borders

Combine cells across columns and rows with \multicolumn and multirow. Draw lines between rows (\hline), columns (\vline), outlining, cross-points, selectively. Improve readability through well-structured grids and borders.

  \multicolumn{2}{c}{\textbf{\large Totals}} & 100 \\ 
  Subtotal & 50 & \\
  Tax\vline & 15 \vline& \\ 
  Discount & -5 & \\

Employing Thematic Cartography

Craft maps, annotate geographic data sets visually with TikZ mapping libraries. Transform point coordinates into image spaces using common projections. Shape overlays, legends convey high information density.

Maps with tikz-mapping Package

The tikz-mapping collection renders filled polygons bounded by paths from KML coordinate data. Style land, water differently. Inherit colors, shadings from included themes. Highly customizable all aspects.

  \draw (0,0) node[below left] {0};
  \fill[blue!30] \kmllastpolygon;
  \fill[green!30] \kmllastpolygon;

Annotating Geographic Data

Reference cities, landmarks, routes by name using node placemarkers. Plot geographic visualizations from custom data sources. Overlay shapes, maps with positioning scopes. Calibrate to real-world scales.

  \draw (0,0) node[below left] {0};
  \node [pin=left:{New York}] at (1,.5) {}; 
  \node [pin=right:{Boston}] at (2.5,1) {};
   mark=at position 0.5 with {\arrow[>=stealth]{>}}},
  ] (1,.5) -- (2.5,1);

Projections, Scales, Legends

Transform spherical coordinates to flat image planes with projection functions like azimuthal equidistant, mollweide, albers. Adjust figure scales using \pgfmapssetscale command. Automatically generate legends from style/color/marker mappings.

  longitude/latitude overlay,
  map projection={azimuthal equidistant},
  \begin{axis}[xlabel=$longitude$, ylabel=$latitude$]
    \addplot [] coordinates {(0,0) (10,0) (10,10) (0,10)}; 
    \legend{$Polygon Shape$}

Producing High-Quality Typesetting

LaTeX generates aesthetically appealing documents through powerful typographic tools. Beyond standardizing presentation, it enables minute style customization for optimal reading experience.

Choosing Fonts, Styles, Sizes

Select font families like Times, Helvetica, Garamond and styles (bold, italic) either document-wide or per logical structure. Scale text size in points (10pt, 12pt) or relative units like \Huge. Change line heights, letter spacing, indentations.



\section{\huge Introduction}

Body text displays in \textit{times italic} at \textbf{12pt} by default.


Kerning, Ligatures for Enhanced Readability

Activate text microtypography through font features like kerning (letter-spacing) and ligatures (merged glyphs) for optimal reading continuity. Enable/disable on font-by-font basis.

\DisableLigatures[f]{encoding = *, family = * }

Body text with kerning \textit{and} ligatures disabled.  

Formatting Pages, Margins, Headers

Style logical document segments with customized page designs. Define paper sizes, orientations, margin widths separately for chapters, sections, appendixes. Repeat headers, footers, page numbers, logos in outer rims.

\chead{\textbf{Chapter Title}}

\usepackage[left=2cm, right=5cm, top=2cm, bottom=2cm]{geometry}  

Conclusion: Leveraging Graphics Capabilities for Publication-Quality Output

Through native inclusion of high-resolution visuals to fine-grained typesetting adjustments, LaTeX furnishes an integrated toolchain for generating publication-ready documents. Its versatile graphics and extensive style customization empower users to tailor output precision to usage scenarios spanning articles, books, posters, presentations.

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