LaTeX is one of the most widespread markup languages for writing scientific research papers. However, despite using it frequently, most users only resort to a fraction of tools and packages that LaTeX has to offer. I personally found that in particular with respect to graph and table plotting, many users appear to prefer generating figures outside LaTeX, even though LaTeX offers excellent tools for doing so. Similarly many plots that I see in research papers were not created natively in LaTeX.
In this tutorial I am going to give an introduction to:
- PGF (Portable graphics format)
- TikZ (Tikz ist kein Zeichenprogramm - TikZ is not a drawing tool)
Aside from discussing benefits and drawbacks of using these tools as opposed to gnuplot or SVG-drawing programs, I will mostly focus on how the above tools can be integrated into an efficient paper writing workflow.