KtikZ – Editor for the TikZ language

Version 0.10 is released. This version is available as an Ubuntu package for Lucid, as a Debian package for Squeeze and as a Windows installer (a patch release 0.10.1 is available). For Linux there are two versions available: KtikZ and QtikZ. KtikZ is integrated with the KDE4 platform, whereas QtikZ has the traditional Qt-only interface. Thanks go to Glad Deschrijver, Agustin Martin and Stuart Prescott for their contributions.

KtikZ is a small application helping you to create TikZ (from the LaTeX pgf package) diagrams for your publications. It requires qt4, libpoppler, LaTeX (pdflatex), the LaTeX preview-latex-style package [1] and pgf itself [2]. For the eps export functionality you also need the poppler-utils package. If you’d like to improve this little tool just check it out from svn (svn://hackenberger.at/svnroot/ktikz/trunk) and send me patches. I’ll hand out SVN accounts upon request as well.

Ktikz 0.7

Source code on GitHub
Source code tarball for ktikz 0.10
KtikZ 0.10 binary package for Ubuntu Lucid
QtikZ 0.10 binary package for Ubuntu Lucid
KtikZ 0.10 binary package for Debian Squeeze
QtikZ 0.10 binary package for Debian Squeeze
QtikZ 0.10.1 Installer for Windows (Windows-only patch release)

If you need packages for a different Ubuntu or Debian version, you can compile the source package on your own machine using pbuilder. See the Ubuntu Packaging Howto. You can get the source package from http://www.hackenberger.at/ktikz/. Installation instructions are in INSTALL file within the source distribution tarball.

[1] http://www.gnu.org/software/auctex/preview-latex.html
[2] http://www.ctan.org/tex-archive/graphics/pgf/


Version 0.10 (2010-08-26):
– KDE integration (the possibility to compile Qt-only still exists)
– template files on remote machines can be used using KIO (only in the KDE
– TikZ source files on remote machines can be loaded, saved and exported
using KIO (only in the KDE version)
– error messages while generating the preview are shown in the preview
window itself
– zooming is done in a separate thread now, so the interface is not blocked
when zooming at large sizes
– a kpart is available that can be used to view TikZ source files in
konqueror (the kpart opens files having the text/x-pgf mimetype)
– update list of tikz commands
– remove bug which causes ktikz to hang (since Qt 4.6) when typesetting
a picture
– remove bug: cannot find TikZ documentation when selecting “TikZ Manual”
in the Help menu, even if configured correctly
– display description of a newly inserted tikz command (using command
completion or menu) in the statusbar, so that the user still sees the
usage of a command after it is inserted
– add option to compile the TikZ code only when pushing a “Build” button
– add reload button
– add shell script and ktikz template to the examples directory which can
be used to generate the preview with the latex; dvips; ps2pdf sequence
instead of pdflatex (the usage is described in the shell script code)
– check whether the file has changed when ktikz gets the focus (similar
to kwrite)
– in the kpart check for file changes and reload if there are any (similar
as in okular)
– the zoom percentage field is now displayed and edited in the user’s locale
– added documentation
– remove bug: when the error box is larger than the preview and the next
compilation does not give errors, the error box is still visible outside
the area covered by the preview
– try to find or use the default hard-coded (configurable in conf.pri and
CMakeLists.txt) path to the TikZ documentation when an empty path is
stored in the local settings (this is the case e.g. when ktikz is run
for the first time)
– when inserting code using code-completion, the arguments and options that
must be filled in are marked by a bullet, the bullets can be browsed with
the Tab-key
– now also an URL to an online version of the TikZ documentation can be
specified in the configuration dialog
– an icon for Windows and an NSIS Windows Installer script are now available
– the “Insert” menu is now also translated

Version 0.9 (2009-09-10):
– remove bug that on startup the item selected in the template combobox
did not correspond to the text in the lineedit of the combobox
– correct the height of the lineedits in the configuration dialog
– the path to the TikZ documentation must now be set in the configuration
– don’t wait one second before generating the preview when a file is
loaded, the template is changed or shell escaping is toggled
– only files are used now as a template file (previously directories
and everything with a valid path was used), otherwise the default
template is used
– if the replacement text is empty, then the default template is used
instead of giving non-informative errors
– when the commands dock is visible (instead of the menu), the code that
will be inserted is visible in the status bar on hovering the item in
the list
– clicking on an item in the commands dock only includes the corresponding
code once (instead of twice)
– added file name completion to the template line edit and the line edits
in the configuration dialog
– space and tab markers resize according to the font size of the main text
– the color of the space and tab markers can be changed in the
configuration dialog
– white space and tabulator settings are separate now
– scrolling in the text edit with the arrow keys is faster now
– better completion of \begin{… and \end{…
– allow to use the icons set in KDE4 when the appropriate variable in
conf.pri is set
– remove bug that the “Next Image” and “Previous Image” buttons remained
visible when emptying the code text area
– remove bug: statustip of the toggle view actions in the Settings menu is
not shown when a toolbar or sidebar is hidden on startup
– add support for session management (open windows will be reopened after
logging out and logging in again)
– added option in the config dialog to enable/disable completion of the
tikz commands
– trying to open a file from the “Open Recent” menu that does not exist
anymore does not cause an empty window to be opened anymore, furthermore
the file is removed from the “Open Recent” list

Version 0.8 (2009-03-29):
– allow text under icons in toolbar
– remove bug: when a second ktikz window is closed while typesetting,
the cursor is not restored from busy to normal
– remove bug: when the document is untitled and not yet saved, then
opening a file opens the file in the current window, destroying the
unsaved text
– added some tikz commands to the list of commands
– disable “Save” and “Save As” actions when the file in the text editor
is the same as on disk
– replace the “Replace this occurrence” dialog by a widget shown at the
bottom of the text editor
– added filter “PGF files” in “Open File” dialog
– the previously selected templates can now be selected from a combobox
– added “Clear” button to each line edit
– remove bug: the size of the default font did not change after setting
a new font size in the config dialog
– new way of writing the temporary latex and pgf files, this also solves
the bug in which the line numbers in the log window did not correspond
to the line numbers in the editor
– each time the template is changed a new QTemporaryFile is used, this
avoids the bug that if the template contains less characters, then the
bottom of the old template is still there in the file (luckily latex
stops parsing at the first \end{document}, so this bug was not visible)
– allow to use KDE4 file dialogs when the appropriate variable in conf.pri
is set
– remove bug (I hope) that caused ktikz to crash when zooming while ktikz
is typesetting

Version 0.7 (2008-08-26):
– disable previous image button if the first image is shown, disable
next image button if the last image is shown
– the first time that the End button is pressed the cursor is moved to
the end of the line (on screen), the second time the cursor is moved
to the end of the block (end of the line in the file)
– don’t run latex on startup when no document is loaded from the command
– adjust size of the viewport in which the preview is displayed when new
items are added to the tikz picture
– added completion of the tikz commands
– the tikz commands are now loaded from an XML file
– corrected the size of the colored background around the highlighted
– remove bug in ConfigDialog::selectFont() (replace “if (&ok)” by “if (ok)”)
– the command “New” in the “File” menu now opens a new empty window,
the commands “Open” and “Open Recent” open the selected file in a new
window, a “Close” command is added which empties the current window
– the (empty) document is not typesetted anymore when the “Close” command
(which has the same behavior as the old “New” command) is executed
– add the directory in which the template file is located to the
$TEXINPUTS environment variable (useful if the template \inputs other
– layout changes in the configuration dialog

Version 0.6:
– added find and replace
– added go to line
– added indent selected paragraph
– remove crash when first character of the document is ‘\’
– allow usage of -shell-escape, so that functions can be plotted using
gnuplot from within tikz
– added highlighting of the current line in code editor
– added show white spaces
– added show matching brackets
– allow scrolling of code editor without moving the cursor with Ctrl+Up
and Ctrl+Down
– added template support for the LaTeX file in which the PGF picture
is included
– updated the icons to the latest version of Oxygen (now available at

Version 0.5:
– removed memory leaks
– added Qt logo to the “About Qt” item in the Help menu
– zooming now keeps the same object in the center of the visible area
that was previously in the center (instead of scrolling to position
– the tikz commands can be inserted from either a menu or a dockwidget
– more tikz commands are added to the menu/dockwidget
– put the preview area in a dock widget which allows more flexibility
than a splitter
– added an item in the Help menu for opening the file pgfmanual.pdf in
the PDF viewer configured in the system (if that file is located
somewhere in the LaTeX texmf tree)
– switched to poppler version 0.6
– removed bug in the config dialog which caused the table items to
not be shown as disabled upon opening the config dialog when the
highlighting is set to standard
– added a What’s This button in the configuration dialog
– remove crash when zooming at startup before loading or editing tikz
– ktikz now remembers the zoom factor from the previous session
– the application icon is now also installed and is referred to in the
desktop file (so the icon also appears in the KMenu)
– the build files (*.o *.ui moc_* qrc_*) are now put in a separate build
directory (when building), leaving the source directory clean

Version 0.4:
– added German translation
– show status tip for the “Open Recent” and “Export” submenus
– it is now possible to have more than one image in one document: just
put the different tikzpictures one below the other in the code and
then press the “Show previous image” and “Show next image” button to
browse between the previews (but it is not possible to save or export
them separately)
– the previous picture is not displayed anymore in the preview when
the text edit becomes empty (or when the user starts a new document)
– the document modification status is shown correctly now in the title bar
– the preview can be scrolled by dragging the image
– added undo, redo and select all to the Edit menu and to the toolbar
– added comment/uncomment of the current line or selection
– the scrollbars will disappear if the image becomes smaller than the
view when zooming out
– added a menu with tikz commands
– a better highlighting of the tikz code is implemented based on the
contents of the tikz commands menu
– made an application icon (I just took the kate icon from oxygen and
added the text “KTikZ”, the text in the icon is in the Fertigo font
from http://www.josbuivenga.demon.nl/fertigo.html)
– added What’s This texts for most widgets and icons
– added a configuration dialog (the highlighting colors and fonts, the
number of entries in the “Open Recent” menu and the path to pdflatex
and pdftops can be set)
– messages on standard output are only shown when compiled in debug mode
– in the log box short messages are shown instead of the contents of the
log file; the contents of the log file can be viewed by pressing the
“View Log” button
– added an “Abort typesetting” button; for example, typesetting the
following code never exits:
\begin{tikzpicture}[x=1cm,y=1cm % note the missing ]
\draw[->] (0,0) — (4,0);
– added a context menu to the preview area
– more sensible default sizes for the different widgets in the main
window on first startup

Version 0.3:
– show in the statusbar the position of the cursor in the text edit
– the preview image (in PDF format) is displayed using poppler instead
of converting the PDF file to PNG first and displaying the PNG file
(poppler version 0.5.4 is used)
– added zooming of the image (using poppler)
– export to PNG is done directly in Qt now; as a consequence (of this
and of using poppler to display the preview image) ktikz no longer
depends on ImageMagick
– added “Open Recent” menu
– if ktikz is run on the command line, then it loads the first argument
(if it is a valid file name)
– the open/save file dialog remembers the last directory in which a
PGF source file was opened/saved
– loading of translations if available
– added French translation
– changed qmake files so that the files will be installed in the correct
place (the installation prefix can be configured in the file conf.pri)
– the wait cursor is displayed while typesetting the PGF picture to PDF
Version 0.2:
– replaced the icons in XPM format by icons in PNG format from KDE4’s
Oxygen theme (obtained from
– placed the text edit and the preview area in a splitter so that their
relative width can be changed by the user
– placed the log text edit in a dockwidget (which can be hidden)
– temporary files are now put in QDir::tempPath() + “/ktikz”
(on Linux this is /tmp/ktikz), so your working directory remains clean
– closing the application now removes all temporary files and stops the
– the first time that the thread (generating the output image) is
executed is not on startup anymore, but when the user actually
changes the text or loads a file
– images can now be exported to EPS, PDF and PNG
– for some standard actions, the standard key sequence is used (e.g.
QKeySequence::Open instead of Ctrl+O)
– the toolbars can be hidden
– corrected typo “TiKz” to “TikZ”
– a function runProcess is used which makes the code of generatePdfFile
and generatePngFile easier (in tikzpngpreviewer.cpp)
– made a better about dialog

10 thoughts on “KtikZ – Editor for the TikZ language

  1. Pingback: tikz it | bok
  2. Hi,
    really nice software, I like these software. It is a useful tool to create tikz figures.
    An *.svg export would be nice. Hopefully in version 0.12.

    Best Regards,

    1. Hi Daniel,

      Nice that you appreciate it! As tikz is a latex tool, there’s no SVG output, so KTikz can’t really provide one either. But there’s the pdf2svg tool that might help you!

      Best, Florian

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