Inkscape SVG Editor

Updated 21-Sep-2023

Open Source Vector Graphics Editor

Inkscape Vector Graphics

Inkscape is an amazing vector graphics editor. It is free and open source and works on a variety of platforms, including Linux, Windows and OSX. Inkscape replaces Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator and can read their files, and is a first class citizen among these other editors.

Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator

Inkscape is a complete replacement for Adobe Illustrator. I regularly work with graphic artists who use Adobe Illustrator and I am able to open their .ai files, and edit them. The same, they are able to open my .svg Inkscape files and edit them. While there may be edge cases where some elements are different, for the vast majority of needs, everything ports back and forth nicely (including complex layouts and gradients).

Inkscape on Linux (Debian)

There are a few ways to install Inkscape. I prefer apt and then AppImages but there is also Flatpak for those who use it. Unfortunate the apt repositories are not kept up to date and so AppImages (or Flatpack) is recommended.

sudo apt install flatpak -y
sudo flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub
sudo flatpak install flathub org.inkscape.Inkscape
sudo flatpak update -y

Adjust the shortcut to run flatpak run org.inkscape.Inkscape

Inkscape on OSX

Unfortunately the mainstream OSX release runs on xQuartz which is slow and doesn't support the standard OSX keystrokes and menus. Plus the windowing is not flexible enough. The main branch has continued development while the idea is to get a native release working with Gtk 3, but it is unclear if or when that will take place.

For years I have used an old 2013 release from Valerio Aimale. There is now a 2017 release for Inkscape 0.92.2 but it doesn't run on OSX 10.01 (Yosemite), so I am unable to test or use.

While s_uv was working on a next version of OSX with Gtk integration (called OSX Menu, last updated 2017), it is still wrapped in xQuartz, with the same issues.

As of 2021 and v. 1.x of Inkscape, Valerio Aimale has stated that there is no need for the custom build and it is not being updated.

Inkscape on Windows

Inkscape Features and Functionality

I use Inkscape as a drawing and illustrating tool and also for editing images in terms of compilations, extraction and svg-ification, logos, book covers, basically everything under the sun. As with any tool, getting efficient with Inkscape is a discovery process with a learning curve. As well, I happen upon a variety of features that continue to amaze, including:

  • Barcode generation: > Extensions > Render > Bar Code

Inkscape supports extensions including:

Inkscape vs. Adobe Illustrator

Note that this video is already out of date as many things mentioned lacking in Inkscape are already released in the 1.0 version.