Weekend Widget: Inkscape

May 9, 2009

Before I talk about today’s software, I want to make something really clear. CorelDRAW is my vector editing software of choice. It is what I will use to complete most of my projects. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have other tools available to me for the times when they can do something better. Sometimes they only do one or two things better.

Today I’m going to tell you about Inkscape. It is a vector graphics editor that proclaims having capabilities similar to CorelDRAW. While its general purpose is similar to CorelDRAW (or Adobe Illustrator), it doesn’t have nearly as many features. To me, Inkscape has one killer feature today and that is SVG support. SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is the native file format in Inkscape and a popular vector format for open source and other online vector graphics. CorelDRAW does support import and export of SVG, though I’ve found it can’t work with all files and the files that do import can vary from the original.

The so-so SVG support in CorelDRAW is why I find it useful to have Inkscape installed on my system. I can use it to open SVG files and save them to EPS, PDF or EMF formats for import into CorelDRAW. I’m sure there are other features that would probably be useful, but import/export is the only one I have really used to date. Maybe the best thing about Inkscape is that it is free. That means you can all download a copy and try it yourself. If you find other features useful, post a comment and let us all know about it.

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4 Comments

  1. ScislaC

    In terms of features, what is Inkscape really lacking in your eyes to make it more comparable to Corel?

    We’re always trying to improve it and any useful feedback is always appreciated.

    Personally, I was an Illustrator user for over a decade and can count the features I miss on one hand… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  2. Foster D. Coburn III

    Given that I have a large library of CorelDRAW files, the inability of Inkscape to import/export CDR files is definitely the biggest feature lacking.

    It is limited to a single page.

    It doesn’t have an imposition engine.

    Those are three that came to me immediately.

    Don’t get me wrong, it has a lot of nice features. It just won’t replace CorelDRAW for me anytime soon.

    Reply
  3. ScislaC

    Import/Export of CDR files is a tricky subject… it’s a proprietary format with little information available about it. So lack of that support is more due to Corel not making necessary information available. Because trust me… we want better support for other vector formats. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hear you with the single page limitation. Definitely something that is frequently requested.

    You are the first person I’ve seen mention an imposition engine as something that Inkscape lacked. After googling (yes I didn’t know what it was), I completely agree that it would be a killer feature. Would you be willing to file a feature request?

    Let’s put it this way… if we can make inkscape more appealing and usable to you, we want to. ๐Ÿ˜€

    As an aside… I live in Avondale, AZ. Always interesting for me to know of others in the Phoenix-metro area who know of Inkscape.

    Reply
  4. Jeff Harrison

    The first time I saw Inkscape, my jaw hit the floor. The UI resembles CorelDRAW far more than Illustrator’s, and IMO that’s a sign of good taste on the developer’s behalf.
    It’s remarkable what you folks have been able to accomplish. the environment looks friendly and clear. I like the hotkey support.

    Reply

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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