Create and edit vector graphics for free

Dec 20, 2008
Updated • Jan 17, 2013

Creating graphics on a computer affordably can prove a difficult task, especially for images besides rasters. Some people need to create images which can be expanded on massive scales; they need a vector editing application. Adobe Illustrator CS4, the leading vector editor for Mac and Windows, costs £567… a pretty high price tag, you must agree!

Expensive software like Illustrator appears to make editing vectors simply unaffordable. Fortunately, this is untrue! Inkscape is a free, open-source and cross-platform vector editor. Whilst it will no doubt lack behind Illustrator in certain aspects, in my opinion it suffices the requirements of any non-professional graphic designer. Inkscape, for example, cannot utilise gradient meshes or have multiple strokes, or fills, for one object. Yet, it has much better support for the SVG format (utilised by Wikipedia) and beats Illustrator on several minor usability issues (Inkscape, for example, allows anchor points to be edited with a keyboard). Key features, such as the ability to trace bitmaps, are also included.

Inkscape's interface, like that of most graphics programs, is quite complex but I find myself being able to adopt to its much quicker than I adapted from PSP to Photoshop.

There are a few issues with Inkscape. The version for OS X requires X11 to be upgraded and several work-arounds to be implemented prior to it functioning and the upgrade to OS X 10.5.2 prevented Inkscape from working without further updates to X11. It appears to function much better under Linux and Windows.

Inkscape serves the needs of any home user and is such a substantial saving, of both disk space (being about 100MB big) and money, it can make Illustrator nearly useless for such customers. Its support for SVGs is also useful, as Firefox can open some SVGs meaning the recipient of a file Inkscape produces often does not need Inkscape to view the file as a vector.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Diseño Web said on September 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks a lot for sharing!!

  2. rob said on December 22, 2008 at 11:41 am

    you might be interested in other similar free vector editors as well

  3. Rico said on December 21, 2008 at 6:24 am

    Vectorization is definitely better in Inkscape over Illustrator CS2, but i just wish the Windows version of Inkscape performed as fast or without graphical errors (particularly redraw errors) not present in the native Linux version.

    Thanks for the recommendation of Xara Xtreme, Hlinker. i completely forgot they were working on a Linux version.

  4. Hlinker said on December 20, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    I tried it, good software
    there are also Xara Xtreme
    it is easy to use compared to Inkscape but the windows version is not free (30 days trial), otherwise the linux version is open-source (

  5. Nurseb911 said on December 20, 2008 at 3:22 am

    Thanks for the tips!

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