Module unit

With the unit module PyX makes available classes and functions for the specification and manipulation of lengths. As usual, lengths consist of a number together with a measurement unit, e.g., 1 cm, 50 points, 0.42 inch. In addition, lengths in PyX are composed of the five types “true”, “user”, “visual”, “width”, and “TeX”, e.g., 1 user cm, 50 true points, 0.42 visual + 0.2 width inch. As their names indicate, they serve different purposes. True lengths are not scalable and are mainly used for return values of PyX functions. The other length types can be rescaled by the user and differ with respect to the type of object they are applied to:

user length:
used for lengths of graphical objects like positions etc.
visual length:
used for sizes of visual elements, like arrows, graph symbols, axis ticks, etc.
width length:
used for line widths
TeX length:
used for all TeX and LaTeX output

When not specified otherwise, all types of lengths are interpreted in terms of a default unit, which, by default, is 1 cm. You may change this default unit by using the module level function

unit.set(uscale=None, vscale=None, wscale=None, xscale=None, defaultunit=None)

When uscale, vscale, wscale, or xscale is not None, the corresponding scaling factor(s) is redefined to the given number. When defaultunit is not None, the default unit is set to the given value, which has to be one of "cm", "mm", "inch", or "pt".

For instance, if you only want thicker lines for a publication version of your figure, you can just rescale all width lengths using


Or suppose, you are used to specify length in imperial units. In this, admittedly rather unfortunate case, just use


at the beginning of your program.

Class length

class unit.length(f, type="u", unit=None)

The constructor of the length class expects as its first argument a number f, which represents the prefactor of the given length. By default this length is interpreted as a user length (type="u") in units of the current default unit (see set() function of the unit module). Optionally, a different type may be specified, namely "u" for user lengths, "v" for visual lengths, "w" for width lengths, "x" for TeX length, and "t" for true lengths. Furthermore, a different unit may be specified using the unit argument. Allowed values are "cm", "mm", "inch", and "pt".

Instances of the length class support addition and substraction either by another length or by a number which is then interpeted as being a user length in default units, multiplication by a number and division either by another length in which case a float is returned or by a number in which case a length instance is returned. When two lengths are compared, they are first converted to meters (using the currently set scaling), and then the resulting values are compared.

Predefined length instances

A number of length instances are already predefined, which only differ in there values for type and unit. They are summarized in the following table

name type unit
m user m
cm user cm
mm user mm
inch user inch
pt user points
t_m true m
t_cm true cm
t_mm true mm
t_inch true inch
t_pt true points
u_m user m
u_cm user cm
u_mm user mm
u_inch user inch
u_pt user points
v_m visual m
v_cm visual cm
v_mm visual mm
v_inch visual inch
v_pt visual points
w_m width m
w_cm width cm
w_mm width mm
w_inch width inch
w_pt width points
x_m TeX m
x_cm TeX cm
x_mm TeX mm
x_inch TeX inch
x_pt TeX points

Thus, in order to specify, e.g., a length of 5 width points, just use 5*unit.w_pt.

Conversion functions

If you want to know the value of a PyX length in certain units, you may use the predefined conversion functions which are given in the following table

function result
tom(l) l in units of m
tocm(l) l in units of cm
tomm(l) l in units of mm
toinch(l) l in units of inch
topt(l) l in units of points

If l is not yet a length instance but a number, it first is interpreted as a user length in the default units.

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