Template:Infobox Software

Inkscape is an open source vector graphics editor. Its goal is to become a powerful graphic tool while being fully compliant with the XML, SVG and CSS standards. It is a cross-platform application that runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Unix-like operating systems; however, the primary development platform is the Linux operating system.

Inkscape started in 2003 as a fork of the Sodipodi vector editor. Inkscape does not yet have as many features as the best commercial vector editors, but it is currently suitable for a wide range of applications. Inkscape's implementation of SVG and CSS standards is incomplete; most notably, it has not yet implemented animation, and SVG fonts. Inkscape is currently under active development, with new features being added regularly.


Object creationEdit

  • Drawing:
    • pencil tool (freehand drawing with stroked paths)
    • pen tool (creating paths with Bezier curves and straight lines)
    • calligraphy tool (freehand drawing with calligraphic strokes, tablet pressure/angle support)
  • Shape tools:
    • rectangles (optionally with rounded corners)
    • ellipses (optionally circles, arcs, segments)
    • stars/polygons (optionally rounded and/or randomized)
    • spirals
  • Text tool (regular, multiline or flowed text)
  • Linked bitmap images, either imported or rasterized from selected objects (a separate utility for embedding linked images comes with the program)
  • Clones ("live" linked copies of objects)

Object manipulationEdit

  • Affine transformations (moving, scaling, rotating, skewing), both interactively and by specifying numeric values
  • Z-order operations
  • Grouping objects, with a way to "select in group" without ungrouping, or "enter the group" making it a temporary layer
  • Layers, with a way to lock and/or hide individual layers, rearrange them, etc; layers can form a hierarchical tree
  • Copying and pasting objects
  • Alignment and distribution commands, including grid arrange, randomization, unclumping
  • A tool to create patterns of clones, using wallpaper symmetries plus arbitrary scales, shifts, rotates, and color changes, optionally randomized
  • Grid and guide snapping

Fill and strokeEdit

  • Color selector (RGB, HSL, CMYK, color wheel)
  • Color picker ("dropper") tool
  • Copy/paste style between objects
  • On-canvas gradient editing with draggable and mergeable handles
  • A gradient editor capable of multi-stop gradients
  • Pattern fills
  • Dashed strokes, with predefined dash patterns
  • Path markers (e.g. arrowheads)

Operations on pathsEdit

  • Node editing: moving nodes and Bezier curve handles, node alignment and distribution, scaling and rotating node groups
  • Converting to path (for text objects or shapes), including converting stroke to path
  • Boolean operations (union, intersection, difference, exclusion, division)
  • Path simplification, with variable threshold
  • Path insetting and outsetting, including dynamic and linked offset objects
  • Bitmap tracing (both color and b/w)

Text supportEdit

  • Multi-line text (SVG 1.0/1.1 <text>)
  • Flowed text in frame(s) (<flowRoot>, formerly proposed for SVG 1.2)
  • Full on-canvas editability, including styled text spans
  • Uses any outline fonts installed on the system
  • Can use any scripts and languages supported by the Pango library (e.g. Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, etc.)
  • Kerning, letterspacing, linespacing adjustments
  • Text on path (both text and path remain editable)


  • 256x maximum zoom
  • Fully anti-aliased display
  • Alpha transparency support for display and PNG export
  • Complete "as you drag" rendering of objects during interactive transformations


  • Connector tool for diagrams
  • Collaborative editing over the net ("Whiteboard")
  • Live watching and editing the document tree in the XML editor
  • PNG and PostScript export
  • Command line options for export, conversions, and analysis of SVG files
  • RDF metadata (authorship, date, license, etc.)
  • Extension support

Interface and usabilityEdit

One of the priorities of the Inkscape project is interface consistency and usability. This includes greater GNOME HIG compliance, universal keyboard accessibility, and convenient on-canvas editing. Inkscape has achieved significant progress in usability since the project started.

The number of floating dialog boxes has been reduced, with their functions now available via keyboard shortcuts and/or in the docked toolbars in the editing window. The tool controls bar at the top of the window always displays the controls relevant to the current tool.

All transformations (not only moving but also scaling and rotating) have keyboard shortcuts with consistent modifiers (e.g. Alt transforms by 1 screen pixel at the current zoom, Shift multiplies the transformation by 10, etc.); these keys work on nodes in Node tool as well as on objects in Selector. The most common operations (such as transformations, zooming, z-order) have convenient one-key shortcuts.

Inkscape provides floating tooltips and statusbar hints for all buttons, controls, commands, keys, and on-canvas handles. It comes with a complete keyboard and mouse reference (in HTML and SVG) and several interactive tutorials in SVG.

The interface of Sodipodi (Inkscape's predecessor) was partly based on those of Corel Draw and The GIMP. The current Inkscape interface has been partially influenced by that of Xara X.


Inkscape began in 2003 as a code fork of the Sodipodi project. Sodipodi, developed since 1999, was itself based on Gill, the work of Raph Levien.

The fork was led by a team of four former Sodipodi developers (Ted Gould, Bryce Harrington, Nathan Hurst, and MenTaLguY) who identified differences over project objectives, openness to third-party contributions, and technical disagreements as their reasons for forking. Inkscape, they claimed, would seek to focus development on implementing the complete SVG standard, whereas Sodipodi development had emphasized creating a general-purpose vector graphics editor, possibly at the expense of SVG.

Since the fork, Inkscape has, among other things, changed from using the C programming language to C++; changed to the GTK+ toolkit C++ bindings (gtkmm); redesigned the user interface and added a number of new features. Its implementation of the SVG standard has shown gradual improvement, but is still incomplete.

Rather than top-down governance, its developers claim to encourage an egalitarian culture where authority stems from an individual developer's abilities and active involvement in the project. As a result, the project places special emphasis on giving full access to its SCM repository to all active developers, and on participation in the larger open source community (often in the form of inter-project initiatives and spinoff projects like the Open Clip Art Library).

While the project founders are still well-represented in the decision-making process, many newcomers have also come to play prominent roles. Among them is Bulia Byak, architect of the radical user interface changes that have given Inkscape its present appearance.

After Xara announced plans to open source their own drawing application Xara Xtreme, they expressed interest in working closely with Inkscape to find ways the two projects can share code, coordinate efforts, and make open source graphics superior to anything available in the proprietary world.


  • Version 0.47 (current)
  • Version 0.46
  • Version 0.45
  • Version 0.44
  • Version 0.43 (November 19, 2005) added Connector tool, collaborative editing, tablet pressure/angle sensitivity, and Node tool enhancements.
  • Version 0.42 (July 26 2005) added flowed text support, styling text spans, enhanced effects support, and the new gradient tool.
  • Version 0.41 (February 10 2005) added the clone tiler tool and color tracing, plus many bugfixes.
  • Version 0.40 added support for layers, bitmap tracing, and text on path.
  • Version 0.39 was the first release to use the Pango library, bringing better support for more languages, as well as support for markers, clones, and pattern fills.
  • Version 0.38 was a bugfix release, but it also featured text kerning and letterspacing, multistage gradients, and many usability enhancements.
  • Version 0.37 saw the addition of boolean path operations and path inset/outset.
  • Version 0.36 was the first release with the reorganized UI using a menu bar and docked context-sensitive toolbars in the document window.
  • Version 0.35 was released October 14 2003 and was the first release of Inkscape, very similar to Sodipodi version 0.32.

See alsoEdit

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Artwork Edit

Articles Edit