I'm looking for a simple tool (preferably online or at least that works on Linux) to draw stencils. When teaching and creating notes for students, I often feel that it would make understanding in some topic much easier if I could draw stencils like the one below. But doing stencils like that by hand (with tools like Gimp of by typing code) can be very cumbersome.

Is there any tool specifically designed to make things like this easy?

enter image description here

I'd whip up something in LaTeX using TikZ (see for example Cremer's short tutorial, the full documentation is a real bear; or snoop around in TeX.stackexchange.com).

For standalone, I'd probably use something like xfig (for hand drawing) or asymptote (for "programming" a more complex figure). Under Linux, there probably are Mac (and even Windows) versions available.

Excel comes to mind. This took just a few seconds to make:

enter image description here

I've made some fairly nice graphics using Sage. I think that it uses matplotlib, at least partly, as a backend. It can render to a variety of image formats and supports LaTeX in labels.

Edited to add what the code referenced in the comment produces.


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