Export Command Line Options

Inkscape can be used to convert SVG files to another form. Right now, the command line can be used to generate Portable Network Graphic (PNG), PostScript (PS), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), Portable Document Files (PDF), Enhanced Metafile Files (EMF-Windows only), and plain SVG files. More options are available from within Inkscape using the Save As or Export Bitmap dialogs.

The export options can be divided into three classes: those that specify the output format, those that specify the region to export, and those that specify properties such as background color in the exported image.

Format Options

The output filename must be given (except for the --print option).


Transparency is not supported in exports to PS and EPS files.

-e, --export-png

Export a PNG file.

-P, --export-ps

Export a PS file.

-E, --export-eps

Export an EPS file.

-A, --export-pdf

Export a PDF file.

-l, --export-plain-svg

Export a plain SVG file. A plain SVG has all the Inkscape-specific information and the RFD metadata removed. A program that displays SVG files should ignore all such information according to the SVG specification, so this option should not in principle be necessary.

-p, --print

Outputs PS data that can be used as input to another program via a pipe (|) or dumped into a file via >. The parameters to this option must be quoted properly.

For example, on Linux to send the output to a file, use:

inkscape --print '> test.ps' test.svg

-M, --export-emf

Outputs an EMF (Enhanced Metafile) file. Only available on Windows.

Export Region Options

At the moment, these options only affect bitmap export except the --export-bbox-page, which applies to EPS exports.


Most PostScript display programs will only display what is inside the rectangle defined by the PostScript BoundingBox parameter (if it is set). EPS files must contain a BoundingBox. It is optional for PS files. By default, Inkscape sets the BoundingBox to the page area for PS files and to the drawing bounding box for EPS files (both at 72 dpi).

-a, --export-area

Specifies the rectangular region that should be exported. Requires the coordinates of the lower-left corner and the upper-right corner in the format: x0:y0:x1:y1. (The lower-left corner of the drawing has coordinates of 0,0.) The units are in SVG user units.

Example: to export the left half of a 200 by 100 pixel drawing to a PNG:

inkscape --export-area=0:0:100:100   --export-png=test.png test.svg

-C, --export-area-page

The area exported will correspond to the area defined by the page.

-D, --export-area-drawing

The area exported will correspond to the bounding box of all objects in a drawing, including any that are not on the page. This is the default for EPS export. Note that --export-area-page overides --export-area-drawing.


The area exported will be increased outward to the nearest integer value. This option has two effects: (1) If you have aligned all your objects to a pixel grid (to reduce anti-aliasing effects) but the export area bounding box is not aligned to the grid, it will ensure that the exported pixmap will be aligned to the same grid. (2) It will ensure that the edges of the drawing will not be clipped.

-i, --export-id

The area exported will be defined by the bounding box of the named object. The exported drawing will include the parts of any other objects that fall within this bounding box. The name of a given object can be found by selecting the object from within Inkscape and looking at the XML Editor. (Of course, if you do this, you may as well export using the Export Bitmap dialog.)

-j, --export-id-only

Only the specified object is exported. Must be used with the --export-id option. See above. Can be used with --export-area-canvas and --export-area-page.

Export Property Options

The first few options are for bitmap exports, while the last few are for PS and EPS export.

-d, --export-dpi

Bitmap Export.  An exported bitmap will be scaled by the ratio of the given number to the SVG user unit. The default value is 90, which matches the internal scale used by Inkscape; that is, a value of 90 means that one Inkscape pixel corresponds to one exported pixel. A value of 72 means that one Inkscape point corresponds to one exported pixel. (See the section called “Inkscape Coordinates”.) This option overrides the --export-use-hints option.

Vector Export.  This option sets the resolution for rasterizing filters. The default values is 90 dpi.

-w, --export-width

An exported bitmap will be scaled so that the width is equal to the specified number of pixels. Overrides --export-dpi.

-h, --export-height

An exported bitmap will be scaled so that the height is equal to the specified number of pixels. Overrides --export-dpi.

-b, --export-background

Use the specified color for the background of bitmap export. Any SVG-supported color string may be used (e.g., #ffc0cb, rgb(255, 192, 203), or pink). See SVG color keywords for a list of defined colors. If this option is not used, the color specified by the pagecolor attribute in the section sodipodi:namedview of the SVG file will be used (if it is defined).

-y, --export-background-opacity

Use the specified value for the background transparency or opacity. Either a number between 0.0 and 1.0 or an integer from 0 to 255 can be used, where the smaller number in both cases corresponds to full transparency and the larger number corresponds to full opacity. Note: 1 is interpreted as full transparency.

-t, --export-use-hints

If you have previously saved an object to a bitmap image from within Inkscape (and saved the file afterward), you can use this option to export the object to a bitmap file with the same name and resolution. Must be used with the --export-id option.

-T, --export-text-to-path

The text objects should be converted to paths prior to export to a PS or EPS export. Then ensures that the text will be rendered properly regardless of which fonts are installed on a computer that displays or a printer that prints the resulting file.