Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a project I have been working on (an image) within GIMP and I would like to export it as an SVG. Is this possible, or am I going to have to stick with exporting multiple sizes of an image?

I know GIMP can read SVGs, but can it export them?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

up vote 20 down vote accepted

[There are two types of editing software in media production: vector editors and bitmap editors. GIMP is the latter type of editor and .svg is a file extension used for vector graphics.]

Inkscape Install inkscape can do even more. We can import the bitmaps we had already put so much work in to Inkscape and convert them with a few mouse clicks to nice vector graphics.

Here is how to do that:

  1. Open Inkscape.
  2. Choose "File - Import" to import a bitmap file.
  3. Choose to "embed" the image.
  4. Select the image with the select tool ().
  5. Select Path - Trace Bitmap... for settings (below shown for 2 colors = "Scans"):

    enter image description here

  6. Select "Update" for a preview until settings are fine.

  7. Start tracing with "OK".

Now a vectorized image of your original bitmap will be seen on top of the bitmap. We can resize or move this newly created object, delete the original image, or choose to "Object - Ungroup" in case we need to adapt shapes or colour of subobject created.

The advantage of a vector graphic can most rapidly be seen when we increase it's size. Shown below was zooming to 2500%. Top is the original bitmap, bottom is the vectorized object:

enter image description here
This image and object was created from your original from chat

share|improve this answer
Thanks @Takkat! I will most assuredly do that! –  RPi Awesomeness May 29 '13 at 20:00

GIMP is a raster graphics editor application. SVG is a form of vector graphics. If you want to edit SVG files, you should install the inkscape package and use Inkscape instead. Also, beware that SVG is not totally "scalable" in the sense that you will get a good image at every size you scale to, so depending on what you are creating with it, you may need to draw different sizes of the image, with different amounts of detail, so that the images will look good at those sizes. Icons for an application, for example, do need to be drawn at multiple sizes, whether they are drawn as raster or vector images.

share|improve this answer
Ok, thanks! I will look into inkscape –  RPi Awesomeness May 29 '13 at 15:21

If you need to convert a raster image to a vector image autotrace is a command line tool which does exactly that.

It's available as a debian package on Debian and Ubuntu named autotrace

An example of using it is:

autotrace input.jpg --output-file output.svg --output-format svg

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.