XFIG Users Manual Version 3.2.5c August 29, 2013

[ English Version | Japanese Version ]

Table of Contents


Xfig is an interactive drawing tool which runs under X Window System Version 11 Release 4 (X11R4) or later, on most UNIX-compatible platforms, and e.g. under Darwin on the MacIntosh and any X server under Microsoft Windows. See the installation section for details. It is freeware, and available via anonymous ftp.

In xfig, figures may be drawn using objects such as circles, boxes, lines, spline curves, text, etc. It is also possible to import images in formats such as GIF, JPEG, EPSF (PostScript), etc. Those objects can be created, deleted, moved or modified. Attributes such as colors or line styles can be selected in various ways. For text, 35 fonts are available. Text can also include Latin-1 characters such as "a umlaut" or "c cedilla".

Here is a screen image of xfig. Click on the image below for larger version (349k).

[Screen image of xfig]

And here are some example figures extracted from the xfig distribution. Click on them to see a larger version.

[Watch]  [Power Supply]  [3D House]  [greenpig.png]  [transit.png]

Xfig saves figures in its native Fig format, but they may be converted into various formats such as PostScript, GIF, JPEG, HP-GL, etc. xfig has facility to print figures to a PostScript printer, too.

There are some applications which can produce output in the Fig format. For example, xfig doesn't have a facility to create graphs, but tools such as gnuplot or xgraph can create graphs and export them in Fig format. Even if your favorite application can't generate output for xfig, tools such as pstoedit or hp2xx may allow you to read and edit those figures with xfig. If you want to import images into the figure but you don't need to edit the image itself (like this example), it is also possible to import images in formats such as GIF, JPEG, EPSF (PostScript), etc.

Most operation are performed using the mouse, but some operations may also be performed using keyboard accelerators (shortcuts). Use of a three-button mouse is recommended, but it is also possible to use a two-button mouse (if you have a two-button mouse and your X server doesn't emulate a three-button mouse, press the Meta (or Alt) key and right mouse button together to simulate mouse button 2). Normally, mouse buttons 1 to 3 are assigned to the left, middle, and right buttons respectively.

xfig 3.2.X and fig2dev 3.2.X include code for internationalization, it allows use of local characters (e.g., Japanese) in xfig. It uses standard internationalization (I18N) mechanism of X11R5, and known to work for Japanese and Korean at this time. See Internationalization about this.

Starting xfig

xfig is started by the xfig command.
      xfig  [ options... ] [ filename ]
options are command line options which may be used to customize xfig. It is also possible to use X resources instead of specifying command line options each time when starting xfig.

If filename is given, the file will be loaded when xfig is started.

Display Windows

The following components comprise the xfig window:
- Main Menus:
Has buttons for global operations; such as load/save file, print or export figures, quit xfig, etc.
- Drawing Mode Panel:
Has buttons for drawing operations; such as circle, box, polyline, text, etc.
- Editing Mode Panel:
Has buttons for editing operations; such as move, copy, delete, scale, edit attributes, etc.
- Attribute Panel:
Has buttons to set attributes of objects; such as color, line width, line style, text font, text justification, etc. There are also buttons for global settings such as zoom scale or grid mode.
- Mouse Function Indicator:
The function of each mouse button is displayed here.  This changes with the mode of the operation (drawing, editing, etc.) to reflect the function of each mouse button.
- Rulers:
Graduations in the selected units (e.g. inches or cm) are displayed on top (horizontal) and side (vertical) ruler. The rulers are also used for scrolling the canvas.
- Depth Panel:
This panel shows the depths of all objects on the canvas. The user may hide or show any depth by clicking on the checkboxes next to the depth number.
- Units:
The scale of the drawing is displayed here, e.g. 1cm = 3m. It is also used to change the units and/or scale.
- Message Panel:
Various messages are displayed here. For example, the size of objects will be displayed here when entering objects.
- Canvas:
Area to draw figures. The canvas may be scrolled with the top and side rulers or the arrow keys on the keyboard.

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