Euler diagrams drawn with ellipses area-proportionally (Edeap)

Michael Wybrow, Peter Rodgers, Fadi K. Dib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Area-proportional Euler diagrams are frequently used to visualize data from Microarray experiments, but are also applied to a wide variety of other data from biosciences, social networks and other domains. Results: This paper details Edeap, a new simple, scalable method for drawing area-proportional Euler diagrams with ellipses. We use a search-based technique optimizing a multi-criteria objective function that includes measures for both area accuracy and usability, and which can be extended to further user-defined criteria. The Edeap software is available for use on the web, and the code is open source. In addition to describing our system, we present the first extensive evaluation of software for producing area-proportional Euler diagrams, comparing Edeap to the current state-of-the-art; circle-based method, venneuler, and an alternative ellipse-based method, eulerr. Conclusions: Our evaluation—using data from the Gene Ontology database via GoMiner, Twitter data from the SNAP database, and randomly generated data sets—shows an ordering for accuracy (from best to worst) of eulerr, followed by Edeap and then venneuler. In terms of runtime, the results are reversed with venneuler being the fastest, followed by Edeap and finally eulerr. Regarding scalability, eulerr cannot draw non-trivial diagrams beyond 11 sets, whereas no such limitation is present in Edeap or venneuler, both of which draw diagrams up to the tested limit of 20 sets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number214
Number of pages27
JournalBMC Bioinformatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


  • Area proportional
  • Diagram generation
  • Ellipses
  • Euler diagrams
  • Multi-criteria optimization

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