Index of /tex-archive/graphics/circuit_macros
* Circuit_macros Version 7.9, copyright (c) 2014 J. D. Aplevich under *
* the LaTeX Project Public License. The files of this distribution may *
* be redistributed or modified provided that this copyright notice is *
* included and provided that modifications are clearly marked to *
* distinguish them from this distribution. There is no warranty *
* whatsoever for these files. *
This is a set of macros for drawing high-quality line diagrams to
include in TeX, LaTeX, web, or similar documents, with support for
SVG and other formats. Fundamental electric circuit elements and
basic logic gate based on IEEE and European standards are included
with several tools and examples of other types of diagrams. Elements
can be scaled or drawn in any orientation and are easy to modify.
The advantages and disadvantages of such a system are similar to those
of TeX itself, which is macro-based and non-wysiwyg, with ordinary
The macros are to be processed by an m4 macro processor, and evaluate to
drawing commands in the pic "little language," which is easy to read and
learn. The diagram is then automatically translated into TiKZ, PSTricks,
or other formats for processing by LaTeX or other applications. Pic
is well suited to line drawings requiring parametric or conditional
components, fine adjustment, significant geometric calculations,
repetition, or recursion. Arbitrary text for formatting by LaTeX can
be placed at will in the diagram. Free interpreters for m4 and pic
are readily available.
GNU m4, dpic (see below), LaTeX, PSTricks, dvips
m4, dpic, LaTeX or PDFLaTeX, TikZ-PGF
The dpic interpreter can translate pic input into several forms:
a .tex file for processing by latex with PSTicks or pgf/Tikz (also
pict2e or eepicemu for simple diagrams), or an mfpic, MetaPost, xfig,
SVG, or postscript file.
The GNU m4 macro processor is assumed since its -I option and M4PATH
environment variable simplify file inclusion (see INSTALLATION below).
Early versions of these macros required absolute path names to be
used in include statements, which is still possible.
m4, GNU pic (gpic), TeX or LaTeX, and a driver recognizing tpic specials
The GNU pic interpreter produces tpic special commands.
Also possible for some diagrams:
m4 and dpic with output in the following formats:
LaTeX graphics or LaTeX eepic (for simple diagrams), mfpic, xfig,
MetaPost, SVG, Postscript
First-time users should read the Quick Start section of CMman.pdf.
The following describes basic usage. See below for integration
with other tools. Suppose a source file, cct.m4 say, has been
created and the top two lines are
The file is processed as shown, assuming that you have set the M4PATH
environment variable in the INSTAllATION instructions:
m4 pstricks.m4 cct.m4 | dpic -p > cct.tex
If you have not set the M4PATH environmental variable then the command is
m4 -I <path> pstricks.m4 cct.m4 | dpic -p > cct.tex
where <path> is the absolute path to the directory containing the macros.
If M4PATH is defined and, in addition, the first line of cct.m4 is
include(pstricks.m4), then this command can be simplified to
m4 cct.m4 | dpic -p > cct.tex
To use the gpic processor, the command is
m4 gpic.m4 cct.m4 | gpic -t > cct.tex
with the -I <path> option added if M4PATH has not been defined.
The resulting file cct.tex is normally inserted into a document to
be processed by LaTeX, and the resulting dvi file is converted to
postscript using dvips. Read Section 2 of the manual to see how to
process the diagram source from within the .tex source.
In the case of PGF, pgf.m4 is read instead of pstricks.m4 and the dpic
option is -g, so the command is
m4 pgf.m4 cct.m4 | dpic -g > cct.tex
or, using include(pgf.m4) in cct.m4,
m4 cct.m4 | dpic -g > cct.tex
The document is processed either by LaTeX to produce postscript
or PDFLaTeX to produce pdf directly.
1. Decide where you will be installing the .m4 library files. In
principle, they can go anywhere, $HOME/Circuit_macros or in your
localtexmf folder such as c:\localtexmf\Circuit_macros, for example.
Copy the Makefile and the .m4 files from the top-level directory
of the distribution to the installation directory, or simply expand
the .tar.gz or .zip distribution file to create the installation
2. Copy boxdims.sty (see Section 9 of the manual) from the top
distribution directory to where LaTeX will find it, typically
localtexmf/tex/latex/local/ or C:\localtexmf\tex\latex\local,
and refresh the LaTeX filename database.
3. Define the environment variable M4PATH to point to the installation
directory determined in step 1. On Cygwin, for example, add the
following to your .bashrc file:
but modify the path to the installation directory as necessary.
On a Unix or Linux machine, the line might be
depending on where you have installed the files.
4. This is optional. You can change the definition of the default
processor to dpic with (for example) PSTricks or pgf (ie tikz)
by editing the include command near the top of libgen.m4. To do
this automatically, copy Makefile from the top-level directory to
the installation directory and type
"make psdefault" to make dpic with PSTricks the default
"make pgfdefault" to make dpic with Tikz pgf the default
"make gpicdefault" to restore gpic as the default.
WORKFLOW: The basic commands given above suffice for documents of moderate
size and complexity; otherwise, a "make" facility or equivalent should be
used or, for modest documents, diagram processing can be controlled from
within the tex document source as described in the manual. Special-purpose
editors and project tools such as TeXnicCenter or Cirkuit can be employed.
Otherwise, a scripting language can automate the steps as done by
Latexmk, for example.
NOTE: One of the configuration files (gpic.m4, pstricks.m4, pgf.m4,
postscript.m4, mpost.m4, mfpic.m4, svg.m4, or xfig.m4) must be
read by m4 before (or at the beginning of) any of the other files,
depending on the required form of pic output. Otherwise, libgen.m4 can
be read first to use the default configuration file, which is gpic.m4
in the distribution.
To test your installation, go to the examples directory and create
a test circuit in the file test.m4. Copy ex01.m4, for example, or
quick.m4 from the doc directory into test.m4.
On a system with a "make" facility, first check the definitions at
the top of the Makefile, and then type "make tst1" to produce the
file tst.ps. If the source requires processing twice, type "make
tst" instead. To process one of the example .m4 files in the
examples directory, simply type "make name.ps" to process name.m4.
If these tests work to your satisfaction, try typing simply "make" to
produce examples.ps. To test .pdf files, go to the pgf directory,
copy name.m4 there, and type either "make name.ps" or "make name.pdf"
to test the file under pdflatex and TikZ PGF.
No "make" facility? You have to test by hand (but see below for
diagram production software). Copy a test file as above into
test.m4. Assuming you have dpic installed, type the following:
m4 -I <path> pstricks.m4 test.m4 > test.pic
dpic -p test.pic > test.tex
dvips tst -o tst.ps
For several years, these macros were developed and tested on a Solaris
operating system. More recently, they have been maintained on a PC
with Cygwin, MiKTeX, and dpic.
M4 is widely available on Unix systems. PC source and executables are
also available: http://gnuwin32.sourceforge.net/packages/m4.htm
A large set of Unix-like Windows tools, including m4, is available via
DJGPP versions are available as m4-NNb.zip (where NN is the current
release number) on web archives and at
There are several sources of hints on m4 usage; some places to look are
The m4 (computer language) article in Wikipedia gives a concise overview.
An academic discussion of the language can be found in
Gpic is part of the GNU groff distribution, for which the latest
source is available from http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/groff/, but there are
mirror sites that archive these sources, and others that distribute
Dpic is not included here you say? If you want to try the LaTeX
picture objects, mfpic, PSTricks, TikZ-PGF, MetaPost, xfig, SVG, or
Postscript output provided by dpic, the current free source and
Windows executable can be obtained from
View or print CMman.pdf in the doc directory.
The original pic manual can be obtained at
http://www.cs.bell-labs.com/10thEdMan/pic.pdf. A more extensive
manual is found in the documentation that comes with GNU pic, which
is typically installed as gpic. The latest version can be found in
the groff package at http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/groff/ . A pdf copy
is included with the dpic distribution and a version can be found
on the web at http://www.kohala.com/start/troff/gpic.raymond.ps
The dpic distribution includes a manual containing a summary of the pic
language and discussion of features unique to dpic.
EXAMPLES AND INTEGRATION WITH OTHER TOOLS:
A set of examples is included in this distribution, showing electric
circuits, block diagrams, flow charts, signal-flow graphs, basic use
of colour and fill, and other applications.
Read the manual CMman.pdf and view or print the file examples.ps in the
examples directory. For the possibly unstable development version, try
The examples directory Makefile automates the generation of .ps, .eps,
.png, and .pdf files for individual diagrams. Subdirectories of the
examples directory are for testing metafont, metapost, pdflatex, pgf,
psfrag, and xfig examples.
Installation and usage of the macros has evolved a little since the
beginning so archived instructions on the net may be slightly more
complicated than currently necessary.
A set of examples and hints intended for his colleagues has been
produced by Alan Robert Clark at http://ytdp.ee.wits.ac.za/cct.html
A website describing usage and tools for Circuit_macros has been created
by Peter-Jan Randewijk at
The site includes examples ranging from basic circuits to block diagrams.
Tools for creating pdf and web diagrams are included, along with
Circuit_macro customizations for the Kile LaTeX editor, which are described at
A KDE interface created by Matteo Agostinelli can be found at
A previewer script written by Collin J. Delker is available at
An introduction to installation and use on OS X by Felipe Cavalcanti is at
For more examples in the context of a textbook, have a look at
Aplevich, J.D., "The Essentials of Linear State-Space Systems," New
York: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2000. In Canada, look at Andrews,
G.C., Aplevich, J.D., Fraser, and R.A., MacGregor, C.G.,
"Introduction to Professional Engineering in Canada," (Third edition)
Toronto: Prentice Hall, Pearson Education Canada, Inc., 2008. Some
samples from these books can be found at
For an example of the use of dpic in a wiki (thanks to Jason Grout),
Another web-based pic application can be found at http://figr.org/
A collection of pic resources and related material is available at
http://www.kohala.com/start/troff/troff.html Some of the example pic
macros found there need minor tuning to work under dpic.
A pic tutorial on the web is found at
The examples in this distribution include some flowchart elements
in Flow.m4. For a pic-only version that does not require m4, look at
The use of the pic language and pic macros for drawing graphs is
described at http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~west/gpic.html
MetaPost examples: Go to the examples/mpost directory. Check the
Makefile as described in the README file, type "make", and stand well back.
TikZ-PGF: Check the Makefile in the examples/pgf directory as described
in the README file, and type "make" or "make examples.pdf".
PDFLaTeX: Check the Makefile in the examples/pdflatex directory as described
in the README file, and type "make". These examples use Metafont as an
intermediate format and are made somewhat obselete by the above TikZ-PGF
Postscript with embedded psfrag strings:
Type "make" in the examples/psfrag directory to process examples
using dpic -f for creating .eps files with embedded psfrag strings.
Postscript, CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator:
Circuits and other diagrams not requiring LaTeX-formatted text can be
processed through m4 and dpic -r to produce encapsulated Postscript
output. This output can also be imported into CorelDraw or Adobe
Illustrator. However, Postscript is not a word processor, so any
LaTeX formatting instructions in the source are not obeyed. These programs
also import svg output produced by dpic -v.
SVG output, Inkscape:
Dpic -v produces svg output. If the result is to be directly
inserted into html, then as for Postscript output, the diagram source
file has to be adapted to remove any LaTeX formatting. A switch in these
macros deletes explicit LaTeX markup from the defined elements and provides
other macros in svg.m4 for xml text formatting.
If SVG is the ultimate goal, then it may be advisable to use the tool
dvisvgm to convert dvi to svg. I haven't tried it yet.
SVG is the native file format for the Inkscape graphics editor.
Therefore, elements defined by these macros can be output by dpic -v
in svg format for later manipulation by Inkscape. Recent Inkscape versions
can export graphics to eps or pdf format and text to tex format, so
that labels can be formatted by LaTeX and overlaid on the graphics
file. This process allows the use of Inkscape to place and embellish
A basic library of circuit elements created from these macros for
importing into Inkscape is found in examples/svg/svglib.m4.
The file examples/mf/cct.mf is a Metafont source for a few variants of
the basic elements, produced using the mfpic output of dpic. It may
be of interest to persons who cannot otherwise implement the macros.
To see the elements (assuming a typical installation), type "make"
in the mf directory.
The file examples/xfig/xfiglib.fig contains circuit elements in xfig
3.2 format produced by dpic. The file is a prototype because many
more elements could be included. Logic gates often have many labels,
and xfig is not a word processor, so some fine tuning of labels is in
order. Translation between languages always involves a loss of
information and idiom, but Xfig can store diagrams in pic format, so
it is possible to alternate between xfig and dpic.
The file libgen.m4 contains basic macro definitions and is included
automatically by other libraries. The file libcct.m4 defines basic
circuit elements. Binary logic-circuit elements are in liblog.m4.
Macros for drawing 3D projections are in lib3D.m4, and some macros
for drawing double-line arrows are in darrow.m4.
Macros such as these inevitably will be modified to suit individual
needs and taste. They continue to evolve in my own library as I use
them and as others send comments. No such collection can hope to
include all possible circuit-related symbols, so you will probably
find yourself writing your own macros or adapting some of these. Be
careful to rename modified macros to avoid confusion. The learning
curve compares well to other packages, but there is no trivially easy
way to produce high-quality graphics.
Feel free to contact me with comments or questions. I have retired
from full-time work but continue the hobby of maintaining these files.
I may now be able to spend more time on individual requests but I may
not reply instantly to email.
aplevich (AT) uwaterloo (DOT) ca