Example: Connecting text and graphics

Published 2007-04-10 | Author: Kjell Magne Fauske

With PGF 1.09 and later, it is possible to draw paths between nodes across different pictures. In this example I have used this feature to connect text with coordinate nodes placed on a picture. The picture is loaded from an external file A background grid is used to make it easier to place the coordinates manually.

Note. This only works with PDF(La)TeX, and you have to run PDFTeX twice.

Source: Inspired by a post to the latex-beamer-users list. The Daniell's pile illustration is made by Augustin E. Bolzan.

Download as: [PDF] [TEX]  •  [Open in writeLaTeX]

Connecting text and graphics

Do you have a question regarding this example, TikZ or LaTeX in general? Just ask in the LaTeX Forum.
Oder frag auf Deutsch auf TeXwelt.de.

% This example requires PGF >= 1.09 and only works wit PDFTeX
% You have to compile document twice to get correct placement of nodes.
\documentclass{beamer} %


% For every picture that defines or uses external nodes, you'll have to
% apply the 'remember picture' style. To avoid some typing, we'll apply
% the style to all pictures.
\tikzstyle{every picture}+=[remember picture]
\tikzstyle{na} = [baseline=-.5ex]


\frametitle{Daniell's pile, saline bridge version}

        % define source coordinates
            \item Anode \tikz[na] \coordinate (s-anode);
            \item Cathode \tikz[na] \coordinate (s-cathode);
            \item Saline bridge \tikz[na] \coordinate (s-bridge);
        % Use a background grid to make it easier to find coordinates
        % When the coordinates have been found, remove the 
        % 'show background grid' option. 
        \tikzstyle{background grid}=[draw, black!50,step=.5cm]
        \begin{tikzpicture}[show background grid]
            % Put the graphic inside a node. This makes it easy to place the
            % graphic and to draw on top of it. 
            % The above right option is used to place the lower left corner
            % of the image at the (0,0) coordinate. 
            \node [inner sep=0pt,above right] 
            % show origin
            \fill (0,0) circle (2pt);
            % define destination coordinates
            \path (0.7,2) coordinate (cathode)
                  (2,1.8) coordinate (bridge)
                  (2.75,2.5) coordinate (anode);

% define overlays
% Note the use of the overlay option. This is required when 
% you want to access nodes in different pictures.
        \path[->,red,thick] (s-anode) edge [bend left] (anode);
        \path[->,blue,thick] (s-cathode) edge [bend left] (cathode);
        \path[->,red,thick] (s-bridge) edge [out=0, in=-90] (bridge);




  • #1 Karl, May 29, 2009 at 12:12 p.m.

    Does not work with PGF 2.00, arrows are painted very randomly.

  • #2 Karl Beauchamp, May 29, 2009 at 12:15 p.m.

    my fault, the osx previewer didn't refresh after second pdflatex run. Works fantastic

  • #3 Jason Waskiewicz, January 14, 2010 at 12:58 a.m.

    I really appreciated this diagram. I just used the methods in this document to map arrows from a list to the parts of a leaf in a .jpg file. Very slick!

  • #4 Vladimir S., November 3, 2012 at 4:21 p.m.

    This is really great example! Thank you!

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