R Graphics Output in LaTeX Format

Provides a graphics output device for R that records plots in a LaTeX-friendly format. The device transforms plotting commands issued by R functions into LaTeX code blocks. When included in a LaTeX document, these blocks are interpreted with the help of 'TikZ'---a graphics package for TeX and friends written by Till Tantau. Using the 'tikzDevice', the text of R plots can contain LaTeX commands such as mathematical formula. The device also allows arbitrary LaTeX code to be inserted into the output stream.


Version 0.10-1 (2016-02-09)

  • Use CDR(CDDR()) instead of CDDDR(), the latter is available only in R 3.2.0 (#136).

Changes in version 0.10 (2016-02-04)


  • Use png::writePNG() to output raster images to avoid reentrancy issues with capturing and playback and to reduce size of raster images. The tikzRasterResolution option is now obsolete (#132).

Bug Fixes

  • The setting sanitize = TRUE works even if the tikzDevice package is not attached to the search path (#129).


  • Update ggplot2 results to account for minor differences due to the package's update (#131).
  • Add test for combined rotation and reflection of raster images.
  • Add tracing code to the beginning of almost every C function.

Changes in version 0.9 (2015-11-16)


  • PNG images now use png(type = "cairo") on all platforms (#121)
  • New argument verbose to tikz() function (#117, #124)

Bug Fixes

  • Fix segfault when no file extension is provided (#101)
  • Fix quoting issue with spaces in the tempdir name (#99, #105, #106)
  • Fix the error from getMetricsFromLatex() when options(OutDec) is set to "," (#57)
  • Allow loading package even if LaTeX is not available, with a warning instead of a fatal error (#112, 125)
  • Bump dependency for filehash (#109)


  • R compatibility update: Explicit imports from recommended pacakges (#116)
  • Use crayon for coloring test output (#112)

Changes in version 0.8.1 (2015-01-07)

Bug Fixes

  • Renamed strlcpy to strlcpy_ to avoid name clashes on OS X and Solaris (#97).
  • Reduced size of archive on CRAN.

Changes in version 0.8 (2015-01-07)


  • This release doesn't work on OS X and Solaris. This will be resolved soon.


  • Thanks to Greg Jefferis, Bill Venables, Sam Mason, Gvozden Neskovic, Martin Bergner and Casper Ti. Vector for contributing to this release.


  • Add parameter timestamp to tikz to make the output of the timestamp optional (#28, #73, thanks Martin Bergner).
  • Add parameter lwdUnit to tikz to specify the physical width of a line (in points) that is 1 unit wide in R. By default, the value of option tikzLwdUnit is used; this option has a value of 0.4 at startup (#68, thanks Casper Ti. Vector).
  • Optionally use symbolic colors defined in a single external file instead of hard-coded colors defined in-place. New parameters symbolicColors, colorFileName and maxSymbolicColors; new options tikzSymbolicColors and tikzMaxSymbolicColors. The external file is only created if requested; in this case, symbolic color names are used instead of fillColor and drawColor (#70, thanks Martin Bergner).

Bug Fixes

  • Ignore fill color for lines to remove thin line (1 pixel wide) that was shown with dashed or dotted lines on some viewers (#63, thanks Martin Bergner).
  • More robust handling of metrics dictionary. Changes to the tikzMetricsDictionary option are recognized even if a metrics dictionary already has been initialized, a message is printed the first time a dictionary is used (in addition to the message that is printed when the dictionary is created). A missing dictionary file is recreated (#21).
  • Performance improvements with zero-width strings (#66, thanks Gvozden Neskovic)
  • Add parameter checkstate to allow adding annotations to a new plot (#52, thanks Sam Mason)
  • Allow raster images to be output without resampling by setting options(tikzRasterResolution = NA) (#54, thanks Sam Mason)
  • In console mode, print a \relax statement after the comment to allow using tikzDevice in a Sweave code chunk with results=tex, as advertised in the vignette. (The default is strip.white=TRUE which makes the following \begin{tikzpicture} appear on the same line as the encoding comment in the resulting .tex file.) (#47, thanks Bill Venables)


  • Use knitr as vignette builder (#37).
  • Fixed typos (#45, thanks Greg Jefferis).
  • Vignette now also compiles if the zi4 TeX package is installed instead of inconsolata. This should fix the CRAN notes and warnings on Windows.
  • Loading babel TeX package to avoid printing tilde in references (#49).


  • Tests perform strict image comparison (#18).
  • Testing now also works in RStudio.

Changes in version 0.7.0 (2013-12-10, CRAN release)


  • New package maintainers: Kirill Müller and Yihui Xie.

  • Zack Weinberg for suggestions and comments that led to optimizations in the quality and quantity of TikZ output.

  • Romain Franconville for bugreports that led to the discovery of two bugs in the raster routines.

  • corecode for fixing the getDocumentPointsize routines for corner cases

  • Sietse Brouwer for enumerating the exact list of LaTeX packages tikzDevice requires and for vignette spelling/style corrections.

  • Stéphane Laurent for reporting a bug in the detection of the document font size.

New Features

  • The tikz function now has a onefile argument that behaves similar to the onefile argument of the pdf device (#40).

  • LuaLaTeX is now supported directly and can be selected by passing engine = 'luatex' to tikz (#28).

  • New function tikzCompilerInfo, reports information concerning the compilers used by the tikzDevice

  • Updated vignette (yihui/tikzDevice#36).

Bug Fixes

  • Colorized text now obeys transparency settings.

  • The tikzDevice no longer produces output for plots that are completely empty.

  • The tikz option footer now works as described by the documentation. Previously, it had no effect (#52).

  • The tikz device can now handle raster images with negative widths or heights that arise from calling a raster plotting function using reversed axes (#53).

  • Creating raster output with the tikzDevice could mess with the behavior of some graphical paramaters such as par('mfrow'). This has been fixed (#54).

  • Calls to the filehash package have been protected from user interruptions. This should prevent rogue lockfiles and corrupted metrics dictionaries.

  • The documentDeclaration and packages arguments to the tikz function are now used in metric calculations. Previously, only global options were consulted.

  • Properly copy strings containing LaTeX info, avoiding use of freed memory.

  • Point size of main font in document is now inferred correctly (even if the option tikzDocumentDeclaration contains newlines), again fixed regexp in getDocumentPointsize (yihui/tikzDevice#34).

  • Package can be installed in R 3.0.2.

  • No C warnings when installing (#68).

  • Function grid.tikzNode works again, had no effect due to a missing S3 export.

  • Fixed formatting of documentation.

Behind the scenes

  • The tikzDevice now requires R 2.14.0 or later.

  • Semantic versioning will be used from now on

  • Package is uploaded to RForge (http://rforge.net)

  • Enable continuous integration via craigcitro/r-travis. All supported R versions are tested.

  • Upgrade documentation generation from Roxygen to Roxygen2.

  • Testing framework updated to use testthat 0.6. Earlier versions of testthat are no longer supported due to a switch from Mutatr classes to standard R Reference Classes (#56).

  • Some magic numbers that control the leading used in the margin text of base graphics were adjusted to values used by the PDF device. Hopefully this will make the spacing used by x axis labels and y axis labels a bit more symmetric (#49).

  • The tikzDevice now delays the creation of clipping scopes until a drawing operation occurs that can be clipped. This prevents empty clipping scopes from appearing in the output and can reduce the size of the output by ~3/4 in some cases (#45).

  • The code that handles line color and fill color has been completely refactored to avoid useless operations such as 0 transparency fills and draws (#46).

  • Defer starting new tikzpicture environments (#12).

  • Replace library.dynam with useDynLib (#50).

  • Reduce verbosity of start-up message.

  • Support ggplot 0.9.0.

Changes in version 0.6.2 (2011-11-13)

New Features

  • The annotation system has been improved. A new function tikzNode has been added that makes it easy to insert TikZ nodes with custom options and content. tikzCoord is now a wrapper for tikzNode that simplifies the function call required to get a plain coordinate.

  • Annotation of Grid graphics is now supported. New functions tikzAnnotateGrob, tikzNodeGrob and tikzCoordGrob allow the creation of Grid grobs that execute annotiation commands when drawn to a tikz device. Wrapper functions grid.tikzAnnotate, grid.tikzNode and grid.tikzCoord are also provided. The necessary transformations between Grid coordinates, which are viewport-centric, to absolute device coordinates are handled by a new function gridToDevice.

  • Support has been added for the dev.capabilities function in R 2.14.0.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug where the outline of the background bounding box was being drawn with the forground color instead of the background color. This was unnoticible except when a non-white background was used. Thanks to Matthieu Stigler for reporting.

Behind the Scenes

  • The tikzDevice is now checked with "visual regression testing" which compares the results of graphics tests against a set of standard images using a visual diff. If a change occurs that significantly affects font metrics or graphics primitives the effects will show up in the diff. Currently, ImageMagick's compare utility is used to calculate differences. This process was inspired by the work of Paul Murrell and Stephen Gardiner on the graphicsQC package. Future versions of the tikzDevice may use graphicsQC to perform this task.

  • The tikzDevice Vignette used to employ a rather ugly hack that re-wrote the internals of the Sweave driver during processing in order to gain more control over syntax highlighting. This hack has been replaced by TeX macros that achieve the same result without messing with R.

Changes in version 0.6.1 (2011-4-14)

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug where tikz was not applying background color to the plot canvas.

  • Fixed a Vignette bug caused by an incorrect merge that was breaking the CRAN build.

Changes in version 0.6.0 (2011-4-13)

New Features

  • Unicode Support!!!! XeLaTeX may now be used calculate metrics and widths for Unicode characters. PdfLaTeX remains the default LaTeX compiler, but this may be changed by setting the global option tikzDefaultEngine to xetex.

  • New global option tikzXelatexPackages which contains packages necessary to use unicode characters with xelatex. Specifically, the fontspec and the xunicode packages as well as the xetex option to the preview package.

  • New global option tikzUnicodeMetricPackages which contains the packages necessary to calculate metrics for multibyte unicode characters with xelatex.

  • New function anyMultibyteUTF8Characters() which will check if the given string contains any multibyte unicode characters. Exposed in the package namespace since it is general and may be useful in other applications.

  • The TikZ device now fully supports the Raster graphics primitive that was added in R 2.11.0 and no longer throws "not implemented" warnings when this functionality is used. This is accompilshed by writing raster images to PNG files, Rplots_ras#.png, which are then included in the main TeX file Rplots.tex.

  • The TikZ device now fully supports the polypath graphics primitive that was added in R 2.12.0 and no longer throws "not implemented" warnings when this functionality is used.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed a bug where the lwd parameter used to control line widths was declared by tikzDevice to be of type int when it is actually a double. This was causing line widths to be ignored or miscalculated. Many thanks to Baptiste Auguie for reporting this issue.

Depreciation Notices

  • Versions of R < 2.11.0 are no longer supported due to lack of required functions for handling Unicode strings.

Behind the Scenes

  • New Makefile for executing common development tasks.

  • Package documentation now handled by roxygen. Many thanks to Hadley Wickham and Yihui Xie for the Rd2roxygen package which facilitated this switch.

  • Package test suite completely overhauled and now based on Hadley Wickham's test_that unit testing framework.

Changes in version 0.5.3

Bug Fixes

  • R 2.12.x now throws a warning message when shell commands run via system() have non-zero exit conditions. The metric calculation runs LaTeX on a file containing an @@end command. This causes a non zero exit condition. The end result was that users were getting spammed by warning messages. These messages have been gagged for now and a better way to run LaTeX such that a non-zero condition can meaningfully indicate an error is being investigated.

  • The range of characters the default sanitizer looks for has been extended. It should now process all characters that are special to TeX with the exception of backslashes. Documentation has been improved.

  • Detection of failed string metric calculations has been strengthened and the resulting error message has been improved.

Changes in version 0.5.2


  • mlt for reporting problems with the Sanitize function that led to the discovery of two situations where buffer overflows were occurring.

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed buffer overflows and memory leaks related to string pointers in tikzDevice.c.

  • Fixed compilation of the tikzDevice vignette under R 2.12.0.

  • Reduced the verbosity of the package startup message.

Changes in version 0.5.1

Bug Fixes

  • A stub function has been added so that the polypath() function introduced in R 2.12.0 won't crash the device.

  • Fixed bug where no string output was shown when the sanitize=TRUE option was used.

  • The path to a LaTeX compiler returned by Sys.which() is now checked by file.access() to check that it is actually an executable and not an error message. This fixes issues arising from Sys.which() on Solaris.

  • On UNIX platforms, /usr/texbin/pdflatex is added to the end of the list of places to search for a LaTeX compiler. This should help people using R.app on OS X find a LaTeX compiler without having to manually specify it.

  • tikz() produces a better error message when it cannot open a file for output.

  • In the event that LaTeX crashes during a metric calculation, the LaTeX log output is echoed using message() instead of cat(). This makes it show up during operations that supperss cat() output such as R CMD build and R CMD Sweave.

Changes in version 0.5.0


  • Lorenzo Isella contributed bug reports and examples that led to the discovery of a bug in fontsize calculations that appeared when certain LaTeX commands were used to change the active font.

  • Vivianne Vilar for spotting spelling and grammar errors in the vignette.

  • Gabor Grothendieck for the idea for sending output to the screen for use with sink() (i.e. the "console" option)

New Features

  • "console" option for directing tikz() output back into the R console instead of to a file.

  • Preliminary support for a "sanitize" option which allows automatic escaping of characters that have special meaning to TeX like "$" and "%".

  • tikzAnnotate() and tikzCoord() functions. tikzAnnotate() allows arbitrary LaTeX code to be injected into the output stream of an active tikz() graphics device. tikzCoord() is a wrapper for tikzAnnotate() that inserts named locations into the graphics code. These locations may be referenced by other TikZ drawing commands.

Bug Fixes

  • Removed bad colon in the DESCRIPTION file.

  • Proper fontsize calculations now include ps from par() and fontsize from gpar(). This fixes issues with lattice-based graphics such as ggplot2.

  • Metrics are now calculated properly when commands like \renewcommand\rmdefault are used to adjust the active font.

  • Sanitization of % signs in labels.

  • The package no longer overwrites user customizations set in places like .Rprofile with default values when loaded.

  • Attempting to use new graphics functions such as rasterImage() now produces error messages instead of fatal crashes in R 2.11.0 and above.

Changes in version 0.4.0

  • Initial Beta Release

  • Support for all essential graphical parameters: colors, line types, line weights, semi-transparency, line endings and line joining.

  • String width and character metrics are calculated by direct calls to a LaTeX compiler. This is an inefficient but robust method. Some of the inefficiency of this method is compensated for by storing calculated string widths in a database managed by the filehash package. This way if we pay a computational price to compute the width of a string, we hopefully only pay it once.

Reference manual

It appears you don't have a PDF plugin for this browser. You can click here to download the reference manual.


0.12.3 by Ralf Stubner, 16 days ago


Report a bug at https://github.com/daqana/tikzDevice/issues

Browse source code at https://github.com/cran/tikzDevice

Authors: Charlie Sharpsteen [aut] , Cameron Bracken [aut] , Kirill Müller [ctb] , Yihui Xie [ctb] , Ralf Stubner [cre] , Nico Bellack [ctb]

Documentation:   PDF Manual  

Task views: Reproducible Research

GPL (>= 2) license

Imports filehash, png

Suggests evaluate, formatR, ggplot2, knitr, lattice, maps, scales, stringr, testthat, withr

System requirements: pgf (>= 2.00)

Suggested by CPAT, RankingProject, dplR, dtwSat, gMOIP, knitr, lineqGPR, mkin, wrswoR.

Enhanced by sfsmisc.

See at CRAN