How to Export Graphics From Inkscape

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How to Export Graphics from Inkscape

Vector line drawing applications like Inkscape have failed to become 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 does make sense to learn to use a vector line application. The great news is that once you have produced a graphic, such as a love heart, you can export it and use it in your favorite image editor, such as Paint.NET.

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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.

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, click the Select tool in the Tools palette and click on the element you want to export. If you want to export more than one element, hold down the Shift key and click the other elements that you wish to export.

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Export Area

The export process is quite easy, but there are a few things to explain.

To export, go to File > Export Bitmap to open the Export Bitmap dialog. The dialog is split into three parts, the first being Export area.

By default, the Drawing button will be selected unless you have selected elements, in which case the Selection button will be active. Clicking the Page button 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.

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Bitmap Size

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

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.

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You can browse to where you want to save your exported graphic from here and name it. The other two options need a little more explanation.

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.

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Export Button

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

Do note however that the Export Bitmap dialog does not close after exporting 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 a new PNG file. To close the Export Bitmap dialog, just click on the X button in the top bar.