When one has the output of a function like TreeForm, for instance:

Can this be turned into a Graph object? I would like to be able to apply functions like VertexList, VertexDegree, AdjacencyList, and so on.

  • $\begingroup$ See my this post $\endgroup$
    – yode
    Jul 11, 2017 at 8:29
  • $\begingroup$ I am attempting to use the answer from Wjx, but I am running into a problem. I cannot apply the function Graphics2Graph directly to TreeForm, only to the output of TreeForm. For example, Graphics2Graph[TreeForm[{{a, a}, {a, {a, a}}}]] does not work. I would also be happy with a method to take such a list and make the corresponding graph. $\endgroup$ Jul 11, 2017 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ See this answer $\endgroup$
    – yode
    Jul 11, 2017 at 9:23

6 Answers 6


You can use halirutan's makeTree function from this answer. Your purpose is slightly different than the purpose in that question, so the function can be simplified a bit in this context:

makeTree[nodes_] := Module[{counter = 0},
  traverse[h_[childs___]] := With[{id = counter},
    {DirectedEdge[id, ++counter], traverse[#]} & /@ {childs}
  traverse[_] := Sequence[];
  TreeGraph[#, GraphLayout -> "LayeredDigraphEmbedding"] &@Flatten[traverse[nodes]]

Use it like this:

expr = TreeForm[{a, {a, {a, a, a}}}];
{expr, makeTree @@ expr}

Mathematica graphics

  • $\begingroup$ This method will lose all vertices information $\endgroup$
    – yode
    Jul 11, 2017 at 10:57
  • $\begingroup$ @yode You can use this Graph object with VertexDegree, AdjacancyList etc. I do not store the the labels (List, a), but it could be added. Other than that I don't lose any information. $\endgroup$
    – C. E.
    Jul 11, 2017 at 11:00
TreeFormToGraph[treeForm_] := 
 Module[{tree = ToExpression@ToBoxes@treeForm, order, pos, label},
  label = Cases[tree, Inset[name_, n_] :> Rule[n, Placed[name, Center]],Infinity];
  {order, pos} = Catenate /@ Cases[tree, 
     Line[order_] | GraphicsComplex[pos_, ___] :> {order, pos}, Infinity];
  Graph[UndirectedEdge @@@ order, VertexLabels -> label, 
   VertexCoordinates -> MapIndexed[Rule[First[#2], #] &, pos]]]

Note the result of TreeFormToGraph is Graph object.

Example 1:

Mathematica graphics

Example 2:

Mathematica graphics


Update: We can use GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph to get a one-liner that converts a TreeForm object to a Graph object:

treeFormToGraph = Apply[GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph];

treeFormToGraph @ TreeForm[{{{a,b},c},d}]

enter image description here

We can add styling to get a Graph that looks like TreeForm:

ClearAll[treeFormToGraph ]
treeFormToGraph[t_TreeForm, o : OptionsPattern[]] := 
   Module[{g = GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph[t[[1]], o, 
           VertexSize -> {"Scaled", .1}, VertexStyle -> LightYellow, 
           VertexShapeFunction -> "Rectangle"]}, 
      SetProperty[g, VertexLabels -> (PropertyValue[g, VertexLabels] /. 
              Rule[a_, b_] :> Rule[a, Placed[b, Center]])]];

treeFormToGraph[TreeForm[{{{a,b},c},d}], VertexStyle->Pink]

enter image description here

Original answer:

We can use, instead of TreeForm, GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph which produces a Graph object accepting all the options of Graph.

g1 = GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph[{{{a, b}, c}, d}, 
   VertexSize -> {"Scaled", .1}, VertexStyle -> LightYellow, 
   VertexShapeFunction -> "Rectangle"];

SetProperty[g1, VertexLabels -> (PropertyValue[g1, VertexLabels] /. 
    Rule[a_, b_] :> Rule[a, Placed[b, Center]])]

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ As my understand,this topic is about how to convert a Graphics into Graph. :) $\endgroup$
    – yode
    Jul 11, 2017 at 20:39
  • $\begingroup$ @yode, i assume you meant "convert a TreeForm into Graph". Apply[GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph]@TreeForm[{{{a,b}, c}, d}] does it:) $\endgroup$
    – kglr
    Jul 11, 2017 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ @kglr thank you for introducing me to this function! :) $\endgroup$
    – ubpdqn
    Jul 12, 2017 at 1:33
  • $\begingroup$ @kglr: Is it possible to adjust the length of the arrows. $\endgroup$ Jan 31 at 13:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ AspectRatio -> 1/3? $\endgroup$
    – kglr
    Jan 31 at 13:58

This is not ideal. It requires the tree to be output. The object elements are collected and reused for a graph:

func[ex__] := (e = {}; vn = {};
   EdgeRenderingFunction -> ({Blue, (AppendTo[e, #]; 
        Arrow[#, .3])} &), 
   VertexRenderingFunction -> ((AppendTo[vn, {#1, #2}]; 
       Text[#2, #1]) &)])
f[x_, y_] := 
 Module[{el = DeleteDuplicates[UndirectedEdge @@@ x], vl, rules},
  vl = VertexList[Graph[el]];
  rules = MapIndexed[#1 -> #2[[1]] &, vl];
  Graph[el /. rules, VertexLabels -> Rule @@@ (y /. rules)]]

An example:

func[{a, b, {c, d}, {w, r}}] (* tree must be rendered*)
graph = f[e, vn]

enter image description here


IGraph/M now includes a function to convert a Mathematica expression into a Graph similar to what TreeForm would display. It is faster than GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph, especially if you turn off vertex labelling.

IGExpressionTree[{{{a, a}, a}, a}]

enter image description here

tree = IGExpressionTree[expr = {{{a, a}, a}, a}, VertexLabels -> None, 
 GraphLayout -> {"LayeredEmbedding", "RootVertex" -> {}}]

enter image description here

The vertex names of this tree are the positions of the corresponding subexpressions. Above, the root vertex was set to {}, which is the position specification of the entire expression.

(* {{1, 1, 1}, {1, 1, 2}, {1, 1}, {1, 2}, {1}, {2}, {}} *)

Extract[expr, VertexList[tree]]
(* {a, a, {a, a}, a, {{a, a}, a}, a, {{{a, a}, a}, a}} *)

We could also have labelled the vertices with these subexpressions:

IGExpressionTree[expr, VertexLabels -> "Subexpression", 
 GraphLayout -> {"LayeredEmbedding", "RootVertex" -> {}}]

enter image description here

Should you need the vertex names to be just integers, use IndexGraph.


TL;DR : I have provided some 2021 updates and "option-feature customizabilty" for the previous ExpressionGraph and Graph solutions -- see below for the code.

Half of my answer is a 2021 update to the answer provided by Szabolcs and the answer provided by kglr. It appears that the former GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph has now been migrated to vanilla ExpressionGraph (no GraphComputation` context anymore). The posted code which previously worked doesn't translate directly into the new function, but I have performed some minor tweaks to make it work in 2021.

In addition to 2021 compatibility, I have added two features. The first feature is the ability to auto-size the VertexLabels. This includes auto-sizing the frame around the text, and setting a maximum font size, after which the text auto-shrinks. The second feature is simply some syntactic sugar to wrap some code around Graph and allow arbitrary user-specified customizations. The customizations work in a manner similar to the existing VertexLabelFunction option, and custom functions have access to all the available underlying Graph data.

I have provided one version that works with GraphComputation`ExpressionGraph and another that works with vanilla Graph, which allows a plethora of customization (e.g. via the GraphLayout option). See the reference manual pages for Graph and GraphLayout for further information.

EDIT: After re-reading the original post, I converted the code to use Graph directly instead of TreePlot (whose output is a Graph object, but the original post specifically requested the use of Graph). See the edit history if you'd like a TreePlot version; it's literally three symbols of changes (TreePlot <--> Graph wherever they appear).

Now the code...

Vanilla 2021 ExpressionGraph

   VertexLabels -> Placed[Automatic, Center],
   VertexLabelStyle -> Directive[FontSize -> [email protected]],
   VertexStyle -> LightYellow,
   VertexShapeFunction -> "Rectangle",
   VertexSize -> 3/4,
   ImageSize -> Large
   ] &@Power[Plus[a, b, c], Sqrt[c/d]]

New SizedVertices function [Compatible with both ExpressionGraph and my new ExprTreeGraph below]

SizedVertices = Function[vertexLabels,
   Function[{center, vertex, size},
      SizedInset = Inset[#, center, {Center, Center}, size*2] &,
      Styled = Style[#, FontSize -> 2*144*size[[2]]/4, Black] &,
      YellowFrame = 
       Framed[#, Background -> LightYellow, Alignment -> Center] &,
      ScaledPane = 
       Pane[#, ImageSize -> {UpTo@Full, UpTo@Full}, 
         Alignment -> Center, ImageSizeAction -> "ShrinkToFit"] &


   VertexSize -> 3/4,
   VertexShapeFunction -> 
    SizedVertices@Cases[#, _, {-1}, Heads -> True],
   ImageSize -> Large
   ] &@Power[Plus[a, b, c], Sqrt[c/d]]

New ExprTreeGraph Function [Based upon Graph, but with handy defaults and a new OptionsFunction]

With[{F = Function[f, Sequence[{v, e, lbl}, f] &, HoldAll]},
  Options[ExprTreeGraph] = {
    "VertexFunction" -> F@v,
    "EdgeFunction" -> F@Thread@Rule[e, Most@v],
    "OptionsFunction" -> F@Nothing,
    "VertexLabelFunction" -> 
     F@Thread@Rule[v, Thread@Placed[lbl, Center]],
    VertexShapeFunction -> "Rectangle",
    VertexSize -> 3/4,
    VertexStyle -> LightYellow,
    VertexLabelStyle -> Directive[FontSize -> [email protected]],
    GraphLayout -> "LayeredDigraphEmbedding"

ExprTreeGraph[expr_, o : OptionsPattern[{ExprTreeGraph, Graph}]] := 
   parts = Position[expr, _, Heads -> False],
   LabelParents = 
    Flatten@Through@Thread[FirstPosition@Drop[#, -1, -1]]@# &,
   HandleAtomic = Replace[{} -> {1}],
   HeadIf = Replace[part_?(Not@*AtomQ) :> Head@part]
  With[{v = Range@Length@parts,
    e = HandleAtomic@LabelParents@parts,
    lbl = Extract[expr, parts, HeadIf]
    OptionValue["VertexFunction"][v, e, lbl],
    OptionValue["EdgeFunction"][v, e, lbl],
    Sequence @@ Normal@Merge[First]@(FilterRules[#, Options@Graph] &)@{
         OptionValue["OptionsFunction"][v, e, lbl],
         VertexLabels -> OptionValue["VertexLabelFunction"][v, e, lbl],


ExprTreeGraph@Power[Plus[a, b, c], Sqrt[c/d]]


 Power[Plus[a, b, c], Sqrt[c/d]],
 ImageSize -> Large,
 VertexLabels -> None,
 OptionsFunction -> ((VertexShapeFunction -> SizedVertices[#3]) &)

Example output of auto-sizing function:



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