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economicron
11-01-2007, 12:34 PM
What programs do you guys use to draw graphs to use in LaTeX documents? I've been using OpenOffice Draw, since it can generate PDFs, but I'm not overly pleased with it. My major complaint is that when I try to move curves and lines around the page, they jump in eighth-inch increments, which makes it really hard to draw tangent curves.

I know there are better programs out there; what do other people use?

economicron
11-01-2007, 12:43 PM
Hey, never mind. For those of you who have OpenOffice Draw, you can turn off the "snap to grid" option in the Tools->Options menu. It's working for me now, so maybe it's not such a bad program.

Still, if anyone knows of a better graph drawing program (that's free to download!) I'd love to hear it.

Chicunomics
11-01-2007, 01:04 PM
This is a good question, I would love to hear of some good programs for this.

For the last couple of years I have often used one called 'smartdraw' which is basically like MS Word's drawing tools majorly on steroids. Way more options etc., but at the end of the day you're still doing it freehand.

What I would really like is to be able to get something to plot functions, but to do so in an environment where it's also easy to mess around with how it looks. The latest version of Mathematica (6) is getting better, and perhaps that will be as good as it gets - still need to mess around with that more next time I find the need to plot some functions...

polkaparty
11-01-2007, 02:55 PM
I use Inkscape (http://www.inkscape.org/). I don't know about OpenOffice draw or smartdraw, but you need to use a vector drawing program (svg). It is ridiculously easy to draw economics graphs using a vector based program.

Inkscape is free and produces eps files for direct use in Latex.

I usually only draw conceptual graphs, not exact functions, so I can't speak to that one. Although Mathematica is probably a good start and I think Latex can directly graph functions as well. The recently revised Latex Graphics Companion (http://www.amazon.com/Graphics-Companion-Techniques-Computer-Typesetting/dp/0321508920/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_k2a_2_txt/102-2305999-2875347?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-2&pf_rd_r=1RFY725M8GHEYZT37HGG&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=304485601&pf_rd_i=0201854694) likely discusses this. (This book is on my christmas list!)

BTW, since we're talking about graphs, I must plug the best book ever written, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (http://www.amazon.com/Visual-Display-Quantitative-Information-2nd/dp/0961392142/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-2305999-2875347?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193928852&sr=1-1). If you don't have this book yet, get it! Sometimes I think to myself I love information design even more than economics...this is the book that really got me into it.

asianeconomist
11-01-2007, 03:09 PM
Graphcalc (http://www.graphcalc.com/) is a nice piece of software.Btw,you should really rely on Matlab for serious stuff.

pragmidealist
11-01-2007, 03:47 PM
Ah, if you like that book polkaparty - Ed Tufte has actually been doing a series of one-day workshops in various cities - he did one in DC in late October. If you google his name they should come up...

polkaparty
11-01-2007, 04:15 PM
Ah, if you like that book polkaparty - Ed Tufte has actually been doing a series of one-day workshops in various cities - he did one in DC in late October.

Yeah, the fee is somewhat high, even for students it's $200, although attendees get copies of his 4 books (although I already have them). It'd be nice to meet him, but it might be scary seeing someone even more anti-powerpoint (http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/) than I am. Alas he isn't schedule to come to my state anytime soon, oh well. Here's the website (http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/courses) for anyone else who's interested.

econphilomath
11-02-2007, 02:26 AM
I use Mayura for conceptual graphs being that it is vector based program and Matlab for ploting functions or something exact. I like the fact you can move things around on a fine grid which helps get the fig exactly how you want it!

If you use matlab and add to it the export command function "laprint" you automatically get the lovely psfrag replacements in your latex document so everything is typeset in the same font, size etc. You can't get much better than that.

polkaparty
11-02-2007, 03:33 AM
I use Mayura for conceptual graphs being that it is vector based program

Mayura is not free, though, but it is easier to use than Inkscape.

econphilomath
11-02-2007, 10:20 AM
While Mayura is not free, I have been using it for years and just click on "evaluate" when I open the program up. Then when you export stuff, you just add on to the end of the file name the extension your interested in. For example equilib.md you save as equilib.eps and it get set up as an eps file.

Anyway it only costs something around 30 bucks, so not that big of a deal if your working. (I just haven't gotten around to paying for it.)

polkaparty
11-02-2007, 03:27 PM
Oh I thought there was a time out feature on it, so that you couldn't just continue to evaluate.