I'm a bit baffled by this. I have a number of arrows in a series of diagrams, and I'm defining the arrowheads using Bézier curves such as

test =  Graphics[{AbsoluteThickness[8], 
    3 {{-1, -0.5}, {-0.7, -0.2}, {-0.3, -0.07}, {0, 0}, {-0.3, 
       0.07}, {-0.7, 0.2}, {-1, 0.5}}]}, 
  PlotRange -> {{-4, 1}, {-2, 2}}, ImageSize -> 200]

I would then like to export these diagrams, ideally to pdf since the display will be large and I want a vector version to use with pdflatex. However, exporting to pdf results in a blunt arrow:

Export["~/Desktop/test.pdf", test]

This is surprising because (i) the front end displays this with a sharp kink, and (ii) exporting to png does the same.

Export["~/Desktop/test.png", test]

Is there a way to get a sharp kink when exporting to pdf?

  • $\begingroup$ I heavily suspect this might be OS dependent. Also what version of Mathematica are you using? $\endgroup$
    – chuy
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 18:45
  • $\begingroup$ This is v10.4.0 on Ubuntu 15.10. I don't have access to any other OSs, though. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ On Windows (with M- 10.4) the arrow is blunted in the front end $\endgroup$
    – chuy
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:03
  • $\begingroup$ @chuy Thanks. That probably means I'm banking on buggy behaviour, then =|. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ my thinking is the blunt end is the mathematically correct form. To achieve that corner in eps/pdf you need to render two separate curves that are joined so that the behavior is controlled by linejoin . Sorry I don't know off hand how to do that from within mathematica. $\endgroup$
    – george2079
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


On MMA 10.3 on OSX 10.10.5 I get the same behaviour as @chuy - blunt on the front end and both export formats.

I think the implementation is kind of buggy as one might expect the option JoinForm -> "Miter" to solve the problem, however it changes nothing.

However, using the additional option JoinForm -> {"Miter",d} does create the desired behaviour for sufficiently high d (which curiously can't be inf...):

test = Graphics[{
   JoinForm[{"Miter", 100}], 
   BezierCurve[3 {{-1, -0.5}, {-0.7, -0.2}, {-0.3, -0.07}, {0, 0}, {-0.3, 0.07}, {-0.7, 0.2}, {-1, 0.5}}]
}, PlotRange -> {{-4, 1}, {-2, 2}}, ImageSize -> 200]

Give for the front-end, PDF, and PNG

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, that works like a charm. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 20:45

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