I want to draw mathematical pictures like graphs but just simple ones like a quick sketch of an exponential decay crossing at a point marked A or something like that, and I want to draw a picture of a diagram of some equipment, like a lens and a light ray being sent through a pinhole and projected onto a screen. Diagrams like this: Picture of what I want to draw, but I want it neater

But so they look more like this:
Wikipedia picture of circuit
Wikipedia picture of lens diagram

Is there any software on Ubuntu that'll let me do this easily and accurately?

  • i m also searching for something like that Jan 15, 2015 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


I would suggest KiCad. It is an application that helps you create professional schematics and printed circuit boards.

enter image description here

You can easily install it by adding the following PPA to your system:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:adamwolf/kicad-testing-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kicad kicad-doc-en
  • KiCad, I haven't heard of that, thanks, I'll give it a go. Is it just for KDE? Is there an equivalent already in the software centre? Dec 9, 2012 at 21:35
  • @captainjamie It works on GNOME (Look at the screenshot above). There is also a tool called DIA (It is basically an editor for charts, diagrams, graphs etc). It is available in the Software Center. Dec 9, 2012 at 21:55
  • Oh, now DIA is good, just installed it. That's just what I've been looking for. I'll have a look for some tutorials to get started, thank you! Dec 9, 2012 at 22:03

In the past I have used xfig for such projects. Dispite the interface being very outdated (and the requirement for a three button mouse), the figures it generates are of high quality. You can install it using

sudo apt-get install xfig

Recently I have started to use Inkscape for figure generation. The program can import/export from/to eps, pdf, svg, and even Latex (through PSTricks).

For drawing circuit diagrams you could import existing SVG graphics of the various components as there are plenty out there on the internet (i.e. see this). Drawing a converging lens diagram like you have above should be fairly easy.

sudo apt-get install inkscape

Please beware that the learning curve for inkscape is steep. The documentation on how to use the program is good and there are several video tutorials on how to do complex tasks already on YouTube (although frequently for graphical design, rather than technical figures) to help you learn.

Edit: I just read a post on superuser that suggests Inkscape isn't the best for such drawings. Instead they suggest Google SketchUp for the technical portion and Inkscape to add extra features to your graphics.

  • Yeah, I know about inkscape but it's so broad because you're supposed to be able to draw anything that just drawing something simple gets really complicated. I'll have a look at xfig, thanks. Dec 9, 2012 at 22:05
  • Yes, I used to use Google SketchUp on Windows but I don't think it's available on Ubuntu is it? Dec 9, 2012 at 22:21

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