Current PDF Support

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Revision as of 10:53, 1 October 2007 by Prokoudine (talk | contribs) (added info on PDF/AI import from release notes)
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Current PDF support

PDF Import

SVN version of Inkscape (to-be 0.46) uses poppler (0.5.4 and above) to import PDF files.

Implemented features: The new import extension can import paths, text, clippaths, masked or non-masked images, and softmasks. It supports pattern fills (XStep and YStep attributes are ignored) as well as linear and radial gradients (only those using sampled or exponential functions). Gradient meshes are imported, but they get converted to groups of small tiles (flat-colored paths) that approximate the mesh; the user can adjust the precision of this approximation.

Only one page can be imported. Users can preview pagfes and choose the one they need. This is because Inkscape dopens't support multiple pages itself.

Use of Gnulibplot

A short way for converting files to import in Inkscape is to use gsview and the command "edit/convert to vector format" to convert any pdf to svg. Easy and fast to use. Incidentally, gsview invokes a command similar to "pstoedit -f plot-svg input-file output-file" and, after downloading and installing pstoedit, this command can be run on the command line without opening gsview.

PDF Export

PDF export is now supported by main porgram, using cairo backend (choose Cairo PDF in the save as file requester).

Before there was the need from external program : pdf_output.inx exports PDF files by first saving them as Postscript and use an external converter to creat PDFs, requiring ps2pdf (Installed separately, included in ghostscript)

Strengths: Depend of Cairo version.

Weaknesses: Depend of Cairo version.

Current Postscript support

PS Import

ps_input.inx imports Postscript files by using two external conversion scripts:




PS Export

Inkscape has built-in support to write Postscript files.


  • Outputs nice readable Postscript


  • Doesn't support fill patterns and clipping, see bugs 1208874 and 1170322
  • Postscript doesn't support transparency and Inkscape doesn't emulate this, so they are just ignored, that is you get the color you would get with opacity:1

Current Adobe Illustrator support

The files used by AdobeIllustrator were earlier postscript files but are now Pdf files.

AI Import

Pre 9.0 AI files


  • requires perl



  • Only works on the old Postscript-based Adobe format
  • Code is sort of a hack
  • No maintainer exists for this code

9.0 and above AI files

SVN version of Inkscape (to-be 0.46) supports AI files based on PDF (9.0 and abopve) using same code as for PDF import. All supported features are equivalent to those in the PDF.

AI Export

ai_output.inx exports Illustrator files by first saving them as Postscript and use an external converter to creat AIs (PostScript based).


  • (requires gs)