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I often have to generate cashflow diagrams.

I was wondering if anyone has a good tool to generate them in either $\LaTeX$ or a picture?

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2 Answers

Aside from TikZ approach that you've found, these scripting languages would work:

  • MetaPost
  • PSTricks
  • Asymptote
  • MATLAB, see cfplot
  • Mathematica, see Cashflow

Vector graphics are most suitable for the task, so if you prefer GUI point-and-click:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • CorelDRAW
  • Inkscape (free)
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Beyond a list of software packages, can you give examples of how someone would create the plots? Like are there some MetaPost commands the OP could copy and paste? –  chrisaycock Apr 17 '13 at 2:09
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Yes I could, but it appears from his question that he asked for a good tool, not specific commands. –  kristine Apr 17 '13 at 18:44
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I found a nice example on this page using the pgf/tikZ package for $\LaTeX$.

The website is giving the code for $\LaTeX$, if you are using LyX, in order to get the same sample than the website you have to do the following. First edit the document preamble using Document->Settings:

 \usepackage{siunitx}
 \usepackage{tikz}
 \usetikzlibrary{calc,matrix}

and then the following in a code block:

 \begin{tikzpicture}[>=stealth,ultra thick]
    \draw[->] (0,0) -- (10,0);
    \draw (-1,0) node[below] {n} (-1,0.5) node[above] {PMT};
    \foreach \x/\n in {1/0,3/1,5/2,7/3,9/4}
      \draw (\x,0) node(\n)[below] {\n} -- (\x,0.5);
    \foreach \x/\n in {1/0,3/1,5/2,7/3}
      \draw (\x,0.5) node[above] {\num{5000}};
    \matrix (calc) [matrix of math nodes,matrix anchor=north west,nodes={anchor=east}] at (9,-1) {%
      \$ \num{5300.00} & = & \num{5000}\times (\num{1.06})^1 \\
      \$ \num{5618.00} & = & \num{5000}\times (\num{1.06})^2 \\
      \$ \num{5955.08} & = & \num{5000}\times (\num{1.06})^3 \\
      \$ \num{6312.38} & = & \num{5000}\times (\num{1.06})^4 \\
      \$ \num{23185.46} \\
    };
    \draw[thick] (calc-5-1.north west) -- (calc-5-1.north east);
    \foreach \n/\l in {0/4,1/3,2/2,3/1}
      \draw[->,gray!50] (\n) |- ($(calc-\l-1.west)+(-0.5,0)$);
  \end{tikzpicture}
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Why do you think this requires LyX? –  chrisaycock Apr 16 '13 at 12:50
    
It does not, I just gave the steps to use it with LyX, will edit to clarify. I put the steps for $LyX$ because I know many people who are not familiar with working directly with $\LaTeX$ files. –  BlueTrin Apr 16 '13 at 12:51
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