Export Graphics from Inkscape

Send your work into the world as a usable image file

Vector line-drawing applications like Inkscape aren't as popular as many pixel-based image editors, such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. They can, however, make producing some types of graphics much easier than working in an image editor. For this reason, even if you prefer to work with pixel-based tools, it makes sense to learn to use a vector application.

Choose What You Want to Export

It may seem obvious that you need to choose what you want to export, but it is a question you should ask as Inkscape allows you to export all the drawn elements in a document, just the area of the page, only selected elements, or even a custom area of the document.

Inkscape select image

If you want to export everything within the document or the page only, you can proceed, but if you don't want to export everything, choose the Select Tool in the Tools palette on the left side of the screen. Then, select the element you want to export. If you want to export more than one element, hold down the Shift key and select the other elements that you wish to export.

A screenshot of Inkscape with the Select tool highlighted

Export Area

The export process is quite easy, but there are a few things to explain.
To export, go to File > Export PNG Image to open the Export Bitmap dialog on the right side of your screen.

A screenshot of Inkscape with the Export PNG Image command highlighted

By default, Drawing will be selected unless you have selected elements, in which case Selection will be active. Choosing Page will export just the page area of the document. The Custom setting is more complicated to use as you need to specify the coordinates of the top left and bottom right corners, but there are probably few occasions you'll need this option.

A screenshot of Inkscape with the Export Area options highlighted

Bitmap Size

Inkscape exports images in PNG format, and you can specify the size and resolution of the file.

A screenshot of Inkscape's Export Area screen with the Image Size section highlighted

The width and height fields are linked in order to constrain the proportions of the exported area. If you change the value of one dimension, the other one changes automatically to maintain the proportions.

If you are exporting the graphic to use in a pixel-based image editor like GIMP or Paint.NET, you can ignore the dpi input because the pixel size is all that matters. If, however, you are exporting for print use, you will need to set the dpi appropriately. For most household desktop printers, 150 dpi is sufficient and helps to keep the file size down, but for printing on a commercial press, a resolution of 300 dpi is usually specified.


After you select File > Export PNG Image, browse to where you want to save your exported graphic from here and name it. The other two options need a little more explanation.

Choose export file name Inkscape

The Batch export tickbox is grayed out unless you have more than one selection made in the document. If you have, you can tick this box and each selection will be exported as separate PNG files. When you tick the option the rest of the dialog is grayed out as the size and filenames are set automatically.
Hide all except selected is grayed out unless you are exporting a selection. If the selection has other elements within its boundary, these will also be exported unless this box is ticked.

Complete the Export

When you've set all the options in the dialog box as desired, press Export to export the PNG file.

Finalize export from Inkscape

The dialog box does not close after you export a graphic. It remains open and that can be slightly confusing at first, as it can appear that it hasn't exported the graphic, but if you check the folder you are saving to, you should find the new PNG file. To close the dialog, just click on the X button in the top bar.

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