[texhax] Q: graphicx, pdflatex ; size scale, position re-adjust?

Phil Sackinger pasacki at sandia.gov
Tue Feb 3 16:46:35 CET 2004

On Mon, 2004-02-02 at 16:36, Robin Fairbairns wrote:
> > (1) I've set my screen size and slide sizes very close to USLetter
> > landscape (8.5 in high, 11 in wide). But my xfig drawings are limited to
> > about 3 in high and no more than about 5 in wide. They get magnified
> > when going through xfig's "Export LaTeX/PDF" and re-imported in
> > pdflatex! Why? Is seminar or pdflatex redefining my unit of length?
> i would guess the problem is in the latex produced in your export command.
> it sounds as if its \includegraphics command is limiting the width of
> the image to half the width, as in
>   \includegraphics[width=0.5\textwidth]{pdf-file-name}

I've looked at the TeX snippet that xfig exports and the 
\includegraphics does not use any optional arguments, just the name of
the PDF file. So, whatever scaling is being done is happening somewhere
else, perhaps in the PDF figure itself. I'm vaguely familiar with
PostScript, but not PDF, so it's hard for me to tell if scaling is being
done there.
> why export this way?  why not just as pdf, and then write your own
> \includegraphics command?

The idea was to draw a figure and to place LaTeX rendered text on the
figure. Among my sources of inspiration is


Xfig does a nice job with standard PostScript fonts, but occasionally
it's desirable to put something like a partial differential equation or
boundary condition expression on the figure, and in a particular place,
too. Equations are where TeX excels and plain PostScript font strings

> > (2) Are there graphicx options or TeX commands to fiddle with the
> > position after the special graphics object has been inserted?
> > Preferably, something portable to both pdflatex and latex would be nice.
> > (Sometimes after inserting a figure I'd prefer to "backup" to the left,
> > upward, etc.) Is something like \hspace*{-0.5in} and \vspace*{-0.5in}
> > workable or considered gauche?
> the simple commands are probably workable, but terribly unsatisfactory,
> since they involve you in visual placing.

I'm accustomed to repeated previews using acroread or ghostview;
sometimes the "nonlinear" nature of TeX formatting means it is hard to
converge to the best looking result, though.

>   far better to place things on
> the "slide" on a designed basis, perhaps using a picture-like
> environment.
> what slide class are you using?

Seminar by Timothy van Zandt, including seminar.bug from Denis Girou.
I understand it was developed ten years ago before pdflatex and online
presentations were common; I wasn't sure what the current consensus was
on the best LaTeX presentation tools - TeXPower and PPower4 seemed a
little bit on the bleeding edge still.

>   doesn't it provide placement
> facilities?  (the one i use, beamer, does most of the placement
> remarkably well, automatically.)

It's unfortunate in some ways, but being able to predict formatting of
presentations is more important than for printed documents or even for
web pages. 

In some ways I wish I could use xfig as the enveloping environment, but
create arbitrarily placed minipages and parboxes for text and then
export multi-slide presentations to PDF.

I think it's possible to import EPS into xfig, and to use dvips to
create EPS, but I'm not sure that exporting the overall composite slide
to PDF would work well.

I'll take a look at beamer; thanks for the suggestion.


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