Software for SVG processing


This is a non-comprehensive list of vector graphic programs that can be used to digitise your pottery drawings, and subsequently save them to SVG.

From the point of view of SVG Pottery, the most important feature is the quality of the resulting SVG file, in terms of tidy source and metadata preservation.


Inkscape is a vector drawing software, available under the GNU GPL license, for all major operating systems.

Inkscape uses SVG as its default format, but it has some additional features compared to the standard SVG specification.

Inkscape can also edit metadata of SVG documents, like title, description, creator and licensing.

Dealing with units in Inkscape

SVG is far from ideal for handling real-world units like millimeters. Some useful advice for dealing with the limitations when using Inkscape can be found here:

Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a proprietary vector drawing software, available from Adobe in the Creative Suite pack.

Illustrator has its own proprietary format, but can import and export SVG natively.

If you use Illustrator for your drawings, you can easily save them to SVG.

The basic steps to follow, besides the drawing itself, are:

  • add metadata (author, title, description) via the File ‣ File info menu item
  • File ‣ Save as… and choose SVG as format
  • the SVG Options dialog is very important:
    • be sure to enable the Include XMP option, that will include metadata in the SVG file
    • use the Show SVG Code option to have a preview of the generated SVG
    • stick to SVG 1.1 (default)

Other programs

Other vector graphics programs have poor or no support for SVG:

  • Xara Xtreme: has no support for SVG
  • Corel Draw: unknown

Editing and automation

The following tools are for automated editing and processing of SVG files.

Their use is suited for advanced users.


Batik is a complete SVG implementation for Java developers. It also has a few small tools that could be useful when post-processing your drawings, like:

  • rasterizer, an SVG-to-bitmap converter
  • svgpp, a pretty printer for SVG source code
  • squiggle, a visualization program

Ink Generator

ink-generator is an Inkscape extension to substitute text and data in automatically-generated files, starting from an SVG model and a CSV data file.


Scour is a Python module that aggressively cleans SVG files, removing a lot of unnecessary information that certain tools or authors embed into their documents. The goal of scour is to provide an identically rendered image (i.e. a scoured document should have no discernable visible differences from the original file) while minimizing the file size.


Scour is intended to be run on files that have been edited in Vector Graphics editors such as Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator. Scour attempts to optimize the file, and as result, it will change the file’s structure and (possibly) its semantics. If you have hand-edited your SVG files, you will probably not be happy with the output of Scour.

Never use scour to overwrite your original file!


xmldiff is a Python tool that shows the differences between two similar XML files.