xfig(1) Facility for Interactive Generation of figures under X11


xfig [options] [file]


Xfig is a menu-driven tool that allows the user to draw and manipulate objects interactively under the X Window System. It runs under X version 11 release 4 or higher and requires a two- or three-button mouse. file specifies the name of a file to be edited. The objects in the file will be read at the start of xfig.

The bulk of the documentation fori xfig is in an HTML-based reference guide. See the Help menu in xfig or point your browser at Doc/html/index.html (provided with the xfig distribution, usually in the Doc/www directory). There are both English and Japanese versions.

When using a two-button mouse use the <Meta> key and the right button at the same time to effect the action of the middle button.

Xfig is available from https://sourceforge.net/projects/mcj/.

The TransFig package is used when printing or exporting the output from xfig. The fig2dev program from the TransFig package is automatically called by xfig as a back-end processor to produce various types of output:

LaTeX, Metafont, PostScript or Encapsulated PostScript, tk (tcl/tk tool command language/tool kit package), GIF, JPEG, PCX, PNG, PPM, TIFF, XBM, XPM, AutoCAD Slide, IBM-GL (HP/GL), Pic PiCTeX, box, epic, eepic and eepicemu.

See man fig2dev for all options.

The TransFig package is available from https://sourceforge.net/projects/mcj/.



Print all command-line options for xfig and quit.


Allow panning into the negative region of the canvas. This is the default

-au[torefresh] Make xfig look at the timestamp on the .fig file and automatically load it and display it everytime it changes.

-bal[loon_delay] msec

Cause popup information balloons to be delayed by msec milliseconds. The default is 500 milliseconds.

-bol[d] font

Cause the font used for displaying the file name and confirmation messages to be font (default = 8x13bold).

-butt[on] font

Cause the font used for most buttons to be font (default = 6x13).

-but_[per_row] number

Specify the number of buttons wide the mode panel should be. This is useful in conjunction with the -pheight parameter to reduce the canvas height for small screens.

-cbg color

Use color as the background color for the canvas. If you want to set the background of everything in xfig (e.g. menus, etc.) use the general -bg option.


Set the print option to print the figure centered on the page. This is the default.


Make centimeters the unit of choice. See also -metric.

-cfg color

Use color as the default color for objects. If you want to set the foreground of everything in xfig (e.g. menus, etc.) use the general -fg option.


Normally, fig2dev uses 1/80 inch for font size increments (for historical reasons), instead of the more proper ``points'' (1/72 inch) that xfig uses. This option makes xfig call fig2dev with the -F option to make it use points (1/72 inch).


Turn on debugging mode. Prints various debugging messages like font names etc.


Choose depth of visual desired. Your server must support the desired visual and depth chosen. Use xdpyinfo to see what visuals and depths are supported. See also the -visual option.


Don't allow panning into the negative region of the canvas. The default is to allow panning in the negative region.


Prevents xfig from popping up the information balloons. See also -showballoons.


Don't show lengths of lines as they are being drawn. This is the default.


Don't show axis zero lines on the canvas. The default is to show them.


Prevents xfig from switching to a private colormap if there aren't enough colors available in the default colormap. See also -max_image_colors.

-enc[oding] encoding

Encode character set using encoding when exporting LaTeX text. The default is 1. This is used for the ISO-8859 encoding of character sets. Allowed values are 0 (no encoding), 1 (ISO-8859-1) or 2 (ISO-8859-2).

-exportL[anguage] language

Specifies the default language to be used for when exporting a fig file. Choices are:

Name              Language
Vector formats:
box               LaTeX box (figure boundary)
latex             LaTeX picture
epic              LaTeX picture + epic macros
eepic             LaTeX picture + eepic macros
eepicemu          LaTeX picture + eepicemu macros
pictex            PiCTeX macros
hpl               HPGL (IBMGL)
eps               Encapuslated PostScript
eps_ascii         Encapuslated PostScript with ASCII preview
eps_mono_tiff     Encapuslated PostScript with monochrome binary (TIFF) preview
eps_color_tiff    Encapuslated PostScript with color binary (TIFF) preview
ps                PostScript
pdf               PDF (Portable Document Format)
pstex             Combined PS/LaTeX (both PS and LaTeX parts)
pdftex            Combined PDF/LaTeX (both PDF and LaTeX parts)
textyl            Textyl special commands
tpic              TPIC
pic               PIC
mf                MF (MetaFont)
mp                MP (MetaPost)
mmp               MMP (Multi-MetaPost)
cgm               CGM (Computer Graphics Meta file)
bcgm              Binary CGM (Computer Graphics Meta file)
emf               Enhanced Meta file)
tk                Tk (of the tcl/tk fame)
svg               SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics (XML variant))
Bitmap formats:
gif               GIF
jpeg              JPEG (JFIF)
pcx               PCX
png               PNG
ppm               PPM (portable pixmap package)
sld               (AutoCad slide)
tiff              TIFF
xbm               X11 Bitmap
xpm               X11 Pixmap (XPM3 package)

-export_m[argin] width

Set the size of the border margin around the figure for exporting to bitmap, PostScript, Encapsulated PostScript, or HTML MAP formats. This is in units of pixels (1/80th inch). The default is 0.


Flip left/right mouse indicator messages for mice whose buttons have been switched. The default is to NOT flip the messages.


Set the print option to print the figure flush left. The default is to center the figure on the page.

-free[hand_resolution] resolution

Set the resolution of the freehand drawing mode to resolution pixels. This is the number of pixels the mouse must move before xfig adds another point to the object being drawn.

-geom[etry] [WxH][+X+Y]

You may use the -geometry option or resource to size and/or position the xfig window, or you may use -pwidth and/or -pheight to specify the canvas size in inches or centimeters. If you use the -geom option to make the xfig window smaller than the default, you may have to use the -but_per_row option to tell xfig to put 3 or 4 buttons per row on the left mode panel.

-gh[ostscript] postscript-interpreter

Select the PostScript (tm) interpreter of your choice. The default is ghostscript (gs). This is needed when importing Encapsulated PostScript files.

-grid_c[olor] color

Draw the grid on the canvas in this color (default: red).

-grid_u[nit] unit

Only used when in inches mode to choose between showing fractions or decimal inches in the rulers and grid. Any of the following may be used to force decimal inches: "ten", "tenth", "10, "1/10". If any other value is used for this option, the rulers will show 1/16 inch divisions.


Start xfig with the hidden text mode for text objects. The Hidden attribute is used for figures that will be used with LaTeX and is applicable only to the display of the document in xfig. It means that the text itself is not shown onscreen, but only the string ``<text>''. This is to keep long sequences of LaTeX formatting commands from making the screen messy and hard to read. The default for the Hidden flag is off.


Hide the depth manager panel. The default is to show the panel.


Show the library objects as icons. This is the default. The other mode is -list_view.

-iconG[eometry] +X+Y

Specifies the position for the icon.

-im[age_editor] editor

Specify bitmap editor to use when ``Edit Image'' button is pressed in Picture Object panel.

-inc[hes] (or-imperial)

Make inches the unit of choice. This is the default.


Install own colormap. Normally, xfig uses the current colormap.

-internalBW width

Use lines of width width between all buttons and panels (default = 1).


Switch on international support (mainly Japanese and Korean), users of ISO Latin 1 (ISO-8859-1) probably should not use this, therefore the international support is switched off by default for locales using ISO-8859-1* codesets. For all other locales this option is already used by default.

-jpeg[_quality] quality

Set the quality factor for exporting to the jpeg format. The default is 75.

-k[eyFile] compose-key-file

Use compose-key-file instead of CompKeyDB for compose (meta) key database. If there are no ``/''s in the name, the file must reside in the xfig library directory, $XFIGLIBDIR, usually /usr/local/lib/X11/xfig. If there are any ``/''s in the name it is taken as is (not relative to $XFIGLIBDIR). If there is a leading ``~/'' in the string then the ``~'' is expanded to the user's home directory.


Make xfig come up in landscape mode (10.5" x 8"). This is the default; however as the orientation is stored with Fig files, when you load a Fig file the orientation will change as required. This is only true for files of version 3.0 or higher.
See also -portrait.


Start xfig with LaTeX font selection. Normally, the PostScript fonts are available as the default. This flag selects the LaTeX fonts to start.


Change the position of the side panel window to the left of the canvas window. This is the default.

-library_d[ir] directory

Specify directory where Fig object libraries are located. There may be sub-directories there and sub-sub-directories, etc.

-library_i[con_size] size

Specify the size of the icons shown for library objects. The default is 60 pixels, with the minimum being 40 and the maximum being 120.


Show the library objects as a list of names. The default mode is -icon_view.

-mag[nification] mag

Set export and print magnification in %.

-max[_image_colors] numcols

Limit the number of colors used for imported images to numcols (default 64).


Make centimeters the unit of choice. The option -centimeters may also be used.
After xfig is started you may change the units from metric to imperial or vice versa from a popup menu available by pressing mouse button 3 in the units box where the two rulers meet.


Use black and white only.


Sets multiple page mode for print or export. See also -single.


When exporting in multiple page mode, causes no overlap from page to page. This is the default. See also -overlap.

-nor[mal] font

Cause the font used for the message window to be font. This font is also used on the canvas when the selected font is not available in an X11 font (default = 6x13).


Disables use of the X11R5 or OpenWindows scalable fonts. You might want to use this for debugging.


Don't show the startup splash screen. The default is to show it ( -splash ).


Turn off cursor (mouse) tracking arrows.


When saving a drawing into an existing .fig file xfig will first rename that file by appending ".bak" to the name. This option disables this feature.


When exporting in multiple page mode, causes overlap from page to page of about 10%. See also -nooverlap.

-pag[eborder] color

Draw the page border on the canvas in this color (default light blue). The page border is turned on by the -showpageborder option (resource Fig.showpageborder), and shows the edges of the current export paper size.

-pap[er_size] size

Set the initial paper size for Export and Print. Choices are

Option     Paper      Size

letter Letter 8.5in x 11in legal Legal 8.5in x 14in tabloid Tabloid 17in x 11in a ANSI A 8.5in x 11in b ANSI B 11in x 17in c ANSI C 17in x 22in d ANSI D 22in x 34in e ANSI E 34in x 44in a9 ISO A9 37mm x 52mm a8 ISO A8 52mm x 74mm a7 ISO A7 74mm x 105mm a6 ISO A6 105mm x 148mm a5 ISO A5 148mm x 210mm a4 ISO A4 210mm x 297mm a3 ISO A3 297mm x 420mm a2 ISO A2 420mm x 594mm a1 ISO A1 594mm x 840mm a0 ISO A0 840mm x 1189mm b10 JIS B10 32mm x 45mm b9 JIS B9 45mm x 64mm b8 JIS B8 64mm x 91mm b7 JIS B7 91mm x 128mm b6 JIS B6 128mm x 182mm b5 JIS B5 182mm x 257mm b4 JIS B4 257mm x 364mm b3 JIS B3 364mm x 515mm b2 JIS B2 515mm x 728mm b1 JIS B1 728mm x 1030mm b0 JIS B0 1030mm x 1456mm

Note that this doesn't affect the size of the drawing canvas. Use the -pheight and -pwidth options for that.

-ph[eight] height

Make the xfig canvas height high (where height is either cm or in, depending on the -metric setting).


Make xfig come up in portrait mode (8.5" x 9"). See note about landscape mode.

-pw[idth] width

Make the xfig canvas width wide (where width is either cm or in, depending on the -metric setting).


Change the position of the side panel window to the right of the canvas window (default: left).


Start xfig with the rigid text mode for text objects. The Rigid attribute forces text to remain the same size even if inside a compound object that is scaled up or down. The default is off.


Set the height(width) of the top(side) rulers in pixels. The default (and minimum) is 24.


Allows use of the X11R5 or OpenWindows scalable fonts (this is the default). If the scalable fonts aren't available xfig will automatically switch to non-scaling fonts.

-scale_factor scale

Scale every figure read in by this value. This is useful in conjunction with the -update option to do batch scaling of figures.


Show all the xfig indicator buttons instead of only those relevant to the current drawing mode. Normally, the buttons line width, area-fill, grid mode, text size, etc. are only visible when they are relevant to the current drawing mode. The -showallbuttons option makes all of the indicator buttons visible at all times. This takes up more screen real estate, but allows the user to see all settable parameters.


Forces xfig to pop up the information balloons when the mouse passws over a button. This is the default. See also -dontshowballoons .


Show the depth manager panel. This panel lets one show or hide objects at various depths. This is the default.


Makes xfig show the lengths of lines being drawn, in red text near the line itself. Also, when points are moved or added. In addition, imagine a triangle formed with the line segment as the hypotenuse, and a vertical and horizontal line forming the other two sides. These lines and their lengths are also drawn in red as the point is moved or added. This mode is ignored when drawing in freehand mode.
This flag may be toggled by pressing <Meta>i (default).


With this option, xfig will draw all objects with a red number next to each vertex. This is generally only useful for debugging.


Makes xfig show the border of the current paper size in the color specified by the -pageborder option (default: light blue).


Show axis zero lines on the canvas. This is the default


Sets single page mode for print or export. This is the default. See also -multiple.

-sm[ooth_factor] factor

Enable smoothing when exporting to the bitmap formats (e.g. GIF, PNG, etc.). The allowed values are 0 (no smoothing), 2 or 4 (most smoothing). This parameter is passed to ghostscript in the -dTextAlphaBits -dGraphicsAlphaBits options to smooth the figure.


Start xfig with the special text mode for text objects. Special text means that special characters in the string are not specially processed but are passed directly to LaTeX. This is most useful for writing LaTeX equations. If this flag is not set, then the backslash character '\' is changed to the \backslash command, a brace '{' is turned into a brace command \{, etc.

-spel[lcheckcommand] command

Use command for the external spell checking program when using the spell check/search/replace popup. The string command should include the string ``%s'' which is replaced by a temporary filename. Default is ``spell %s''.

-spinner_d[elay] msec

The delay (in milliseconds) before the spinner will automatically count up or down when the button is pressed. Spinners are the (numeric) text widgets with an up- and down-arrow, which when clicked, cause the value to be incremented/decremented. The default is 500 milliseconds.

-spinner_r[rate] msec

The rate (in milliseconds) at which the spinner will count when the up- or down-arrow is pressed.

-startfi[llstyle] stylenumber

Set the starting fill style for area fill (-1 to 21).

-startfo[ntsize] pointsize

Set the default font size for text objects (default = 12pt).

-startg[ridmode] modenumber

Set the starting grid mode (0 to 3). Mode 0 is no grid. In imperial (inches) mode, grid mode 1 is 1/4 inch, mode 2 is 1/2 inch and mode 3 is 1 inch. In metric mode, grid mode 1 is 2mm, mode 2 is 5mm and mode 3 is 1cm.

-startla[texFont] font

Set the starting font name for LaTeX fonts.

-startli[newidth] width

Set the starting line width.

-startpo[snmode] modenumber

Set the starting point positioning mode (0 to 4) In imperial (inches) mode, positioning mode 0 is ``any'', mode 1 is 1/16 inch, mode 2 is 1/4 inch, mode 3 is 1/2 inch and mode 4 is 1 inch. In metric mode, mode 0 is ``any'', mode 1 is 1mm, mode 2 is 5mm, mode 3 is 10mm and mode 4 is 20mm.

-startp[sFont] font

Set the starting font name for PostScript fonts.

-startt[extstep] stepsize

Set the starting text step.


Specifies that xfig should use the input tablet instead of the mouse for drawing. You must have the XInputExtension in your X server and an input tablet for this to work. Also, you must modify the Imakefile to include the USETAB and TABLIB variables.


Turn on cursor (mouse) tracking arrows (default).

-tran[sparent_color] color_number

Make the transparent color for GIF export color_number. This number is the color number according to the xfig color panel, starting at 0 (black) and ending at 31 (gold), or may be a user-defined color number, which is 32 or higher.

-update file [ file ... ]

Run xfig in an "update" mode, where it will read each Fig file specified on the command line and write it out to the original file, in the current file format for the version of xfig being run. The original Fig file will be preserved with the suffix .bak attached to the name.
In this mode, xfig doesn't connect the X server, so no window is opened, and it exits when finished.

-users[cale] scale

Set the multiplier for displayed line lengths etc. This factor is multiplied by the actual length, radius or diameter of the object currently being drawn on the canvas. It is useful for making scale drawings, where e.g. 1 inch = 1 foot (userscale = 12.0) or 1cm = 1m (userscale = 100.0).

-useru[nit] units

The units string is printed with the length information when drawing objects. For example if the userscale = 1.0 and the userunit = ft then a line which is 3 inches long on the canvas would be displayed as ``length = 3 ft'' when it is being drawn.
After xfig is started you may change the userscale and the userunit from a popup menu available by pressing mouse button 3 in the units box where the two rulers meet.

-visual visualname

Use visualname as the visual for xfig. The names are TrueColor (case is not important), StaticColor, DirectColor, StaticGray, GrayScale and PseudoColor. xfig uses the default visual unless this is specified. Your server must support the desired visual. Use xdpyinfo to see what visuals and depths are supported. See also the -depth option.


When saving a drawing into an existing .fig file xfig will first rename that file by appending

-zoom zoomscale

Set the starting zoom scale.


The overall widget name(Class) is xfig(Fig). These resources correspond to the command line arguments:

Name                Type    Default         Command-line equivalent
allownegcoords      boolean true            -allownegcoords (true),
                                            -dontallownegcoords (false)
autorefresh         boolean false           -autorefresh
axislines           string  pink            -axislines
balloon_delay       integer 500 (ms)        -balloon_delay
boldFont            string  8x13bold        -bold
but_per_row         integer 2               -but_per_row
buttonFont          string  6x13            -button
canvasbackground    string  white           -cbg
canvasforeground    string  black           -cfg
correctfontsize     boolean false           -correctfontsize
debug               boolean false           -debug
depth               integer *               -depth
dontswitchcmap      boolean false           -dontswitchcmap
euc_encoding        boolean false           (n/a)
locale_encoding     boolean false           (n/a)
encoding            integer 1               -encoding
save8bit            boolean false           (n/a)
exportLanguage      string  eps             -exportLanguage
export_margin       integer 0               -export_margin
flipvisualhints     boolean false           -flipvisualhints
flushleft           boolean false           -flushleft (true),
                                            -center (false)
freehand_resolution integer 25              -freehand_resolution
grid_color          string  black           -grid_color
grid_unit           string  1/16 (inch)     -grid_unit
                            0.1 (metric)
hiddentext          boolean false           -hiddentext
icon_view           boolean true            -icon_view (true),
                                            -list_view (false)
image_editor        string  xv              -image_editor
inches              boolean true            -inches (true),
                                            -imperial (true),
                                            -centimeters (false),
                                            -metric (false)
installowncmap      boolean false           -installowncmap
internalborderwidth integer 1               -internalBW
international       International           booleanfalse-international
jpeg_quality        integer 75              -jpeg_quality
justify             boolean false           -left (false),
                                            -right (true)
keyFile             string  CompKeyDB       -keyFile
landscape           boolean true            -Landscape (true),
                                            -landscape (true),
                                            -Portrait (false),
                                            -portrait (false)
latexfonts          boolean false           -latexfonts
library_dir         string  ~/xfiglib       -library_dir
magnification       float   100             -magnification
max_image_colors    integer 64              -max_image_colors
monochrome          boolean false           -monochrome
multiple            boolean false           -multiple
normalFont          string  6x13            -normal
overlap             boolean true            -overlap (true),
                                            -nooverlap (false)
pageborder          string  lightblue       -pageborder
paper_size          string  Letter (inch)   -paper_size
                            A4 (metric)
pheight             float   8.5 (landscape) -pheight
                            9.5 (portrait)
pwidth              float   11 (landscape)  -pwidth
                            8.5 (portrait)
rigidtext           boolean false           -rigid (true)
rulerthick          integer 24              -rulerthick
scalablefonts       boolean true            -scalablefonts (true),
                                            -noscalablefonts (false)
scale_factor        float   1.0             -scale_factor
showallbuttons      boolean false           -showallbuttons
showaxislines       boolean true            -showaxislines (true),
                                            -dontshowaxislines (false)
showballoons        boolean true            -showballoons (true),
                                            -dontshowballoons (false)
showdepthmanager    boolean true            -showdepthmanager (true),
                                            -dontshowdepthmanager (false)
showlengths         boolean false           -showlengths (true),
                                            -dontshowlengths (false)
shownums            boolean false           -shownums (true),
                                            -dontshownums (false)
showpageborder      boolean true            -showpageborder (true),
                                            -dontshowpageborder (false)
single              boolean true            -single
smooth_factor       integer 0               -smooth_factor
specialtext         boolean false           -specialtext
splash              boolean true            -splash (true),
                                            -nosplash (false)
spellcheckcommand   string  spell %s        -spellcheckcommand
spinner_delay       integer 500 (ms)        -spinner_delay
spinner_rate        integer 100 (ms)        -spinner_rate
startfillstyle      integer 0               -startfillstyle
startfontsize       float   12              -startfontsize
startgridmode       integer 0               -startgridmode
startlatexFont      string  Default         -startlatexFont
startlinewidth      integer 1               -startlinewidth
startposnmode       integer 1               -startposnmode
startpsFont         string  Times-Roman     -startpsFont
starttextstep       float   1.2             -starttextstep
tablet              boolean false           -track,
trackCursor         boolean true            -track (true),
                                            -notrack (false)
transparent_color   integer -2 (none)       -transparent_color
userscale           float   1.0             -userscale
userunit            string  in (inches)     -userunit
                            cm (metric)
visual              string  *               -visual
write_bak           boolean true            -write_bak
zoom                float   1.0             -zoom
* Default visual and depth depend on the X server. Use xdpyinfo to see what visuals
and depths are supported.


Please send bug reports, fixes, new features etc. to:
[email protected]

When reporting a bug, please first check if the problem is mentioned in the FAQ section of the HTML files (xfig Help menu).

If it is not mentioned there, be sure to report the operating system you are using (e.g. SunOS 4.1.3), type of X server and version (OpenWindows 3, X11R6.4, XFree86 3.2.2, etc) and color depth (e.g. 8bpp, 16bpp), and most importantly the version of xfig or fig2dev that is having the problem.

Because of the difference of some fonts in some X servers and the PostScript fonts on printers, text alignment can be problematic.

Not all operations employ smart redrawing of objects which are altered as a by product of the operation. You may need to use Redraw in these cases.

Some servers do not allow bitmaps/pixmaps taller than the screen height or wider than the screen width. That is why there is a limit on the width of the top ruler and height of the side ruler. If you need wider/taller rulers AND your server allows bigger pixmaps, you may define MAX_TOPRULER_WD and/or MAX_SIDERULER_HT in your Imakefile in the DEFINES line. For example, to have a maximum top ruler width of 1160 pixels, add -DMAX_TOPRULER_WD=1160 to your DEFINES line in the Imakefile.

If the image is panned or the xfig window iconified and de-iconified during the middle of an operation (e.g. while drawing a line), the picture will be distorted. This can be corrected using Redraw after the operation is complete.

When zoomed very large, the length of dashes in dashed lines will top out at 255 pixels long. This is due to a restriction in X that the dash list is defined by char (255 pixels maximum for a dash). The figure will print correctly, however.

When you do a copy/rotate with multiple copies, only the creation of the last object can be undone with the Undo button.

Modifications to text using the popup search/update/replace/spell check panel cannot be undone.

See the README file for troubleshooting.


(From the original author, Supoj Sutanthavibul): Many thanks goes to Professor Donald E. Fussell who inspired the creation of this tool.

(From Brian Smith): Thanks to all the users who have contributed to xfig, especially Paul King who, besides adding many features, revamped the look and feel which became version 2.1.


Original Copyright (c) 1985 by Supoj Sutanthavibul
Parts Copyright (c) 1994-2013 by Brian V. Smith
Parts Copyright (c) 1991 by Paul King
Other Copyrights may be found in various files

Any party obtaining a copy of these files is granted, free of charge, a full and unrestricted irrevocable, world-wide, paid up, royalty-free, nonexclusive right and license to deal in this software and documentation files (the "Software"), including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish and/or distribute copies of the Software, and to permit persons who receive copies from any such party to do so, with the only requirement being that this copyright notice remain intact.


PostScript is a trademark of Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Parts Copyright (C) 1989 by Jef Poskanzer.
Copyright notice for pbmplus code:

Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice appear in all copies and that both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear in supporting documentation. This software is provided ``as is'' without express or implied warranty.


Data base of compose (meta) key sequences for 8-bit characters. Must be installed in $(XFIGLIBDIR) with ``make install'', or may be specified with command line option -keyFile or X toolkit resource keyFile. See the Imakefile.
This directory contains the documentation.
This directory contains the above mentioned CompKeyDB file, and a directory of libraries containing Fig objects such as electrical symbols, logic symbols, etc.
Fig.ad and Fig-color.ad
Application defaults files which are automatically installed in the system app-defaults directory with the make install command.
Description of Fig file format.
Installation instructions and troubleshooting.
Description of bug fixes/new features.


Many people have contributed to xfig. Here is a list of the people who have contributed the most (in chronological order):

Version 1:

Original author:
Supoj Sutanthavibul, University of Texas at Austin

The LaTeX line drawing modes were contributed by:
Frank Schmuck, Cornell University

Original X11 port by:
Ken Yap, Rochester

Variable window sizes, cleanup of X11 port, right hand side panel:
Dana Chee, Bellcore

Cleanup of color port to X11 by:
John T. Kohl, MIT

Version 2.0:

Area fill, multiple line thicknesses, multiple fonts and font sizes, bottom panel, line style/thickness, (and anything else that wasn't written by the others) by:
Brian Smith
(standard disclaimer applies)
([email protected])

Popup change-object menu by:
Jon Tombs
Frank Schmuck

Zooming and panning functions, shift key select mechanism by:
Dieter Pellkofer
Henning Spruth

Depth feature by:
Mike Lutz

Cut/Paste by:
Tom Tkacik

Version 2.1:

Indicator panel, file menu popup, print menu popup, panning with rulers, mouse function window, regular polygon, rubberbanding of circles/ellipses, filled splines on canvas, dashed/dotted splines on canvas, update button, arbitrary angle rotation of objects, alignment in compound, object scaling, constrained copy/move, corner markers for compound, context sensitive corner markers, smarter redraw, undo for compound and point move for boxes, cancel object creation, point positioning to three resolutions, TransFig scalable text, hidden text, special text, save of figure on crash by:

Paul King ([email protected])
with help from:
Brian Smith and Micah Beck ([email protected])

Encapsulated PostScript importing by:
Brian Boyter

Pan/zoom with ctrl key/mouse by:
Henning Spruth

International characters by:
Herve Soulard

Directory Browser based on XDir by:
Win Treese, Digital Equipment Corporation

Rotated ellipses by:
James Tough, Dept. of Computer Science, Heriot-Watt University, Scotland

Rotated text from the xvertext package by:
Alan Richardson, Space Science Centre, School of MAPS, University of Sussex

Popup scale menu and dynamic switching between inches and cm by:
Paul King ([email protected])

Extensive man page formatting revisions by:
David W. Sanderson

Display Postscript code for IBM RS/6000 by:
Dave Hale ([email protected])

Version 3.0:

New arrowhead types, separate pen/fill colors, new file protocol, more colors with extended color popup panel, new arc style, new fill patterns (bricks, etc), new line join and cap styles, export offset and file load offset, XPM import, XBM import and export (and anything else that wasn't written by the others) by:
Brian Smith
(Note: the color popup panel was based on xcoloredit by Richard Hesketh)

GIF header reading code by:
David Koblas from the giftoppm part of the pbmplus package

XPM export code (using XPM3 libraries) by:
Karel van Houten ([email protected])

Higher figure resolution (1200dpi) by:
Ross Martin ([email protected])

Color quantization using neural network by:
Anthony Dekker ([email protected])
[NEUQUANT Neural-Net quantization algorithm by Anthony Dekker, 1994. See ``Kohonen neural networks for optimal colour quantization'' in ``Network: Computation in Neural Systems'' Vol. 5 (1994) pp 351-367. for a discussion of the algorithm.]

Floyd-Steinberg algorithm for dithering color images on monochrome displays lifted from the Pbmplus package by Jef Poskanser.

rotate/flip objects around/about selected anchor point and multiple copies of objects by:
Uwe Bonnes ([email protected])

Input tablet extension by:
Greg LaCoste ([email protected])

Version 3.1:

The only difference between protocol version 3.0 and version 3.1 is that the position of the ``magnet'' has been shifted by 14 fig units. In the 2.1 and older versions of xfig the grid was in multiples of 5 fig units, but they were on intervals 4, 9, 14, 19, etc. When version 3.0 was created, coordinates were simply multiplied by the ratio of the resolutions (1200/80 = 15) so values like 4 became 60 instead of 74 ((4+1)*15 - 1).

The JPEG import/export code uses the Independent JPEG Group software (see jpeg/README for details)

Image browser, editor and screen capture features by:
Jim Daley ([email protected])

Version 3.2:

The changes to the version 3.2 file protocol are the addition of the paper size, print/export magnification, single/multiple page indicator and a transparent color name used for GIF export to the header of the file.
The other difference in the version 3.2 protocol is the mathematical model used for splines. The new version uses X-splines which allows the user to mix interpolation and approximation points in a same curve. More precisely, it means that an X-spline curve is neither an interpolated spline nor an approximated one, it is BOTH (the behaviour of each point is controlled by one single parameter called ``shape factor''). For additional information about X-splines, see:

  "X-Splines: A Spline Model Designed for the End User"
  by C. Blanc and C. Schlick, Proceedings of SIGGRAPH'95

Caveat: Because previous spline models (quadratic B-splines and Bezier with hidden points) are no longer supported, curves that are present in version 3.1 and older files are automatically converted to X-splines. This translation is only an approximation process. It means that the converted curves are not exactly the same as the original ones. Though they are usually very close, some hand-fitting may be needed in some pathological cases.

Inclusion of X-splines by:
Carole Blanc ([email protected])
Christophe Schlick ([email protected])
Note: the initial implementation was done by C. Feuille, S. Grosbois, L. Maziere and L. Minihot as a student practice (Universite Bordeaux, France).

Open/close compound feature written by
Bill Taylor ([email protected])

Library feature written by
Stephane Mancini ([email protected]) (object preview by Brian V. Smith)

The library objects in the Electrical and Logic libraries were done by
Peter Hiscocks ([email protected])

The library objects in the Computer, Networks, and Hospital-Equipment libraries were extracted from the clipart example files by
Bill Chimiak ([email protected])

Version 3.2.3 and newer:

Please see the CHANGES file for credits for newer releases.


Many bug fixes/cleanups etc. by a host of faithful users

See the CHANGES file for all the credits

The TransFig package was written by Micah Beck and is maintained by Brian Smith