INX extension descriptor format

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Revision as of 14:29, 18 March 2021 by Patrick87 (talk | contribs) (→‎Attributes description: clarify "needs-document" (can likely be dropped in future as it was only important for help menu extensions which were dropped for 1.0)
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In order for Inkscape to make use of an external script or program, you must describe that script to inkscape using an INX file. See the inkscape share directory for examples. The INX file allows the author to:

  • label strings for translation
  • define parameters
  • chain extensions
  • etc

Be sure to read through the INX files that come with Inkscape. Nothing beats a working example.

Translation of extensions

Extension dialog windows, described in INX files, can be prepared for translation or localisation by adding an _ (underscore) to the XML tags or attributes. Only add underscores when text need to be translated (not numeric values, for example!).


<_name>Some translatable extension name</_name>


<param name="..." type="..." _gui-text="Some translatable label text">

When extensions are included in the Inkscape Extensions Repository, various scripts will scan each INX file for translatable text and prepare translation files for others to translate.

See also: Ted's blog.

Attributes description

Attribute name Allowed values Comment
implements-custom-gui (new in 1.0) "true" | "false" (default) If set to true requires effect extension to implement custom GUI. Implementation detail: "extension is working" window is not show for this kind of extensions.
needs-document "true" (default) | "false" If set to false the effect extension will not be passed a document nor will a document be read back ("no-op" effect). This is currently a hack to make extension manager work and will likely be removed/replaced in future, so use at your own risk!
needs-live-preview "true" (default) | "false" (default) (please fill in!)


More example INX files are available in the Inkscape distribution, which takes its files from the Inkscape Extensions Repository.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<inkscape-extension xmlns="">
  <_name>{Friendly Extension Name}</_name>
  <dependency type="executable" location="[extensions|path|plugins|{location}]">program.ext</dependency>
  <param name="tab" type="notebook">  
    <page name="controls" _gui-text="Controls">
      <param name="{argumentName}" type="[int|float|string|boolean|description]" min="{number}" max="{number}"
        _gui-text="{Friendly Argument Name}">{default value}</param>
    <page name="help" _gui-text="Help">
      <param name="help_text" type="description">{Friendly Extension Help}</param>
    <object-type>[all|{element type}]</object-type>
        <submenu _name="{Extension Group Name}"/>
    <command reldir="extensions" interpreter="[python|perl|ruby|bash|{some other}]">program.ext</command>

For a full list of currently supported interpreters, please see Extension Interpreters.

DTD XML schema

The following XML schema may not fully describe the current ING file structure. The actual XML schema used is described in the next paragraph.

 <!ELEMENT inkscape-extension (name, id, dependency*, param*,(input|output|effect),(script|plugin))>
 <!ELEMENT input (extension, mimetype, filetype, filetypetooltip, output_extension?)>
 <!ELEMENT output (extension, mimetype, filetype, filetypetooltip, dataloss?)>
 <!ELEMENT effect (object-type|submenu?)>
 <!ELEMENT script (command, helper_extension*, check*)>
 <!ELEMENT plugin (name)>
 <!ELEMENT name (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT item (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT option (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT dependency (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT param (#PCDATA|page|item|option)*>
 <!ELEMENT page (#PCDATA, param*)>
 <!ELEMENT extension (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT mimetype (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT filetype (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT filetooltip (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT object-type (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT command (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT check (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT dataloss (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT helper_extension (#PCDATA)>
 <!ELEMENT output_extension (#PCDATA)>
 <!ATTLIST check reldir (absolute|path|extensions|plugins) #REQUIRED>
 <!ATTLIST command reldir (absolute|path|extensions|plugins) #REQUIRED>
 <!ATTLIST command interpreter CDATA #REQUIRED>
 <!ATTLIST dependency type (executable|extension) #REQUIRED>
 <!ATTLIST dependency location (absolute|path|extensions|plugins) #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST dependency description CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST effect needs-live-preview (true|false) #REQUIRED>
 <!ATTLIST effect implements-custom-gui (true|false) #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST page gui-text CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST param type (int|float|string|boolean|enum|notebook|description|optiongroup|color) #REQUIRED>
 <!ATTLIST param max_length CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST param precision CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST param gui-text CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST param gui-tip CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST param gui-description CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST param scope CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST param gui-hidden CDATA #IMPLIED>
 <!ATTLIST param appearance (minimal|) "">
 <!ATTLIST submenu name CDATA #REQUIRED>


The XML schema for INX files is available in the Inkscape extensions Git repository. This is a RELAX NG schema.

See Also