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Drawing programs for diagrams in papers

  1. Jan 13, 2009 #1
    I don't know which forum this question pertains to.

    What are the best programs that can be used to create without too much effort good quality smooth diagrams in a scientific paper? A colleague of mine used CorellDraw.

    What do you use?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2009 #2
    Microsoft Visio is pretty good also. Adobe Illustrator is more complicated but it might also work.
     
  4. Jan 13, 2009 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    For simple diagrams I use PowerPoint. Most of the papers I read also seem to use PowerPoint.
     
  5. Jan 13, 2009 #4

    robphy

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    I think the answer depends on what specifically you want to draw.
    Is it a sketch or a diagram? or something generated with real data or geometrical information?
    Is it something done by hand or something computed?
    Is it something tedious and repetitive?

    For some things, I use the vector drawing tools in Word or Powerpoint.
    For others, I export graphics from Maple or xfig... or do screen captures from VPython.
    Sometimes I write a program (in Maple or Python) that directly produces Postscript or VRML, then rendered by some other program.
     
  6. Jan 13, 2009 #5

    Choppy

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    You mean there's another option to MS Paint?
     
  7. Jan 13, 2009 #6

    Mapes

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    For conceptual illustrations I often use Powerpoint. My advisor prefers Illustrator, which can save in .eps format (but can't handle subscripts and superscripts, which is irritating). I've also used Paint Shop Pro, which can do a lot of Photoshop-type things but is much cheaper.
     
  8. Jan 13, 2009 #7

    DaveC426913

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    For freeform diagrams, I use CorelDraw or Adobe Illustrator.
     
  9. Jan 13, 2009 #8
    Inkscape? it's open source and common on linux machines.
     
  10. Jan 13, 2009 #9
    I use Visio because it's easy. I also use it becuase I have an ancient version (before it became MICROSOFT Visio) that came free with a computer purchase (back in the 90's... an "Acer" computer that my parents bought me towards the end of college). I kept the "freeware" CD, even though the computer is long gone, and load it onto every computer.

    Granted the process of getting it into a clean form is a bit of a pain (from the old Visio format to an Adobe Acrobat .pdf (using Adobe Acrobat full version as a "printer"), then to the .eps form excepted in LaTex and cropped with The Gimp (or another image editing program... but I have the procedure written in a lab notebook.., and once I knew the procedure, my diagrams always looked clean.. and Visio made GREAT diagrams easily with a drop and drag kind of feature, and has a grid to align things well). The new Microsoft Visio does (I believe) have better options of how to save the images... but I only used a friends once... it's pricey!

    For graphs (plotting data) I have used either "Igor" or "Origin".... I prefer Origin (note.. it is more pricey than Igor, which at least used to have a cheaper student/academic version). There may be file conversion subtleties there too.
     
  11. Jan 13, 2009 #10
    grace or gnuplot for plotting data and curves, inkscape for drawing pretty pictures.
     
  12. Jan 13, 2009 #11
    Thanks all for the great answers. I simply need a program to draw lines, circles, angles, greek characters, text ... the very basic stuff you draw when solving a physics problem. The program has to be vector program not raster, to produce smooth results.

    Seems like Inkscape will fit the bill. Anything else that is more taylored to diagrams only instead of image processing?
     
  13. Jan 14, 2009 #12

    robphy

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  14. Jan 14, 2009 #13
    I know many science related fields would want you to use latex. However if your unfamiliar with it, that may be a little demanding. I would just use word/excel.
     
  15. Jan 14, 2009 #14

    Mapes

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    For the text and equations, yes, but do any journals require vector diagrams to be coded via LaTeX? I don't think so.
     
  16. Feb 2, 2009 #15
    I use latex and I just discovered the TikZ package. I've found it very easy to use for drawing diagrams; though it maybe difficult if you have never used latex.

    Here's the site I found with tons of examples:

    http://www.texample.net/tikz/examples/all/
     
  17. Feb 2, 2009 #16

    mheslep

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  18. Feb 2, 2009 #17

    mheslep

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    A tangent: Is anyone aware of a Visio compatible reader or writer for Linux? This is driving me nuts. The standard answer has been have Visio export to some linux compatible format, but that first requires Visio. Then there's backend issue of delivering back to the Visio formatted world.
     
  19. Feb 6, 2009 #18
    I'm currently trying to write a paper on General Relativity and I would like to be able to draw curves and Cauchy surfaces. What is the best program for these type of graphics?
     
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