Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, Freehand, or Xara. What sets Inkscape apart is its use of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an open XML-based W3C standard, as the native format.
The design process may begin by doodles on a napkin, a sketched mindmap, a photo of a memorable object, or a mockup in software which really wouldn’t work to complete the project.
Inkscape can take you from this stage to a final, professional-grade design format which is ready for publication on the web or in physical form.
All Inkscape projects may be exported in formats friendly to web browsers or commercial printer rooms. It is cross-platform, which means it is easy to run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
If you are new to the process of creating vector graphics it may feel different, but you will quickly be pleased by the flexibility, and power Inkscape offers. Vector design is often the preferred method of image creation for logos, illustrations and art which require high scalability. The Inkscape application is used across a wide variety of industries (marketing/branding, engineering/CAD, web graphics, cartooning) and individual uses.
Features of Inkscape:
- Drawing: pencil tool (freehand drawing with simple paths), pen tool (creating Bézier curves and straight lines), calligraphy tool (freehand drawing using filled paths representing calligraphic strokes)
- Shape tools: rectangles (may have rounded corners), ellipses (includes circles, arcs, segments), stars/polygons (can be rounded and/or randomized), spirals
- Text tool (multi-line text, full on-canvas editing)
- Embedded bitmaps (with a command to create and embed bitmaps of selected objects)
- Clones (“live” linked copies of objects), including a tool to create patterns and arrangements of clones
Fill and stroke
- Color selector (RGB, HSL, CMYK, color wheel, CMS)
- Color picker tool
- Copy/paste style
- A gradient editor capable of multi-stop gradients
- Pattern fills (bitmap/vectors)
- Dashed strokes, with many predefined dash patterns
- Path markers (ending, middle and/or beginning marks, e.g. arrowheads)
- Transformations (moving, scaling, rotating, skewing), both interactively and by specifying exact numeric values
- Z-order operations (raising and lowering)
- Grouping objects (“select in group” without ungrouping, or “enter the group” making it a temporary layer)
- Layers (lock and/or hide individual layers, rearrange them, etc; layers can form a hierarchical tree)
- Alignment and distribution commands
- Multi-line text
- Uses any installed outline fonts, including right-to-left scripts
- Kerning, letterspacing, linespacing adjustments
- Text on path (both text and path remain editable)
- Text in shape (fill shape following stroke)
- Fully anti-aliased display
- Alpha transparency support for display and PNG export
- Complete “as you drag” rendering of objects during interactive transformations
Operations on paths
- Node editing: moving nodes and Bezier handles, node alignment and distribution, etc.
- Converting to path (for text objects or shapes), including converting stroke to path
- Boolean operations
- Path simplification, with variable threshold
- Path insetting and outsetting, including dynamic and linked offset objects
- Bitmap tracing (both color and monochrome paths)
- Live watching and editing the document tree in the XML editor
- PNG, OpenDocument Drawing, DXF, sk1, PDF, EPS and PostScript export formats
- Command line options for export and conversions
- Perfectly compliant SVG format file generation and editing