Best Free Vector Graphics Editor

 
Introduction

Unlike bitmap or raster graphics, vector graphics use geometrical objects inclusive of points, lines, curves, circles or other shapes to form an image based on mathematical expressions. One big advantage I like for vector graphics is that they are scalable without losing resolution.

We can easily find many choices of free digital image editors, but unfortunately not all of them are capable of editing vector graphics. In this review, I include those that can edit vector graphics and select the best for you.

 
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Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion

To quote their website "Inkscape... uses W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Supported SVG features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping. Inkscape also supports Creative Commons meta-data, node editing, layers, complex path operations, bitmap tracing, text-on-path, flowed text, direct XML editing, and more. It imports formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, and others and exports PNG as well as multiple vector-based formats."

The current release is only at V0.48 and doesn't, for example, yet support SVG filter effects, animation, and SVG fonts. It is, however, totally usable. That usability is enhanced by an excellent user interface and the impressive set of tutorials that come with the product that help wean the user away from the world of digital images to the nodes, lines, curves and shapes that form the basis of vector editing. Overall a top product that will only get better. Highly recommended.

From the same stable as PhotoPlus (in the Best Free Digital Image Editor category), DrawPlus is drawing and graphics software that enables you to create vector graphics, family trees, room layouts and even web animations. This is the most current free version (version 4), however there are more up-to-date commercial versions.

 
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Quick Selection Guide

Inkscape
4
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Very mature product with lots of features. Can do most things commercial packages can.
http://www.inkscape.org
0.48.2
34M
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer
Win All, Linux, Mac, FreeBSD,
DrawPlus
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
create vector graphics, family trees, room layouts and even web animations.
there are more up-to-date commercial versions.
4
24.8 MB
Feature limited freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP

Free but requires registration.

 
Editor

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Tags

vector graphics editor, free vector image editor, top vector image editor, best free vector graphics editor, top free vector graphics editor.

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Comments

by hajduk on 19. January 2013 - 16:08  (104643)

Sodipodi's downloader has gone bugger-up. When you try to install it, you get a message that the gtk library is missing, with a URL to go to get it, but when you do you get a message that they can't find it, which they admit is "somewhat embarrassing."

So now what? I need a vector editor for Windows; for reasons I explained in a previous post, I don't want to mess with Inkscape.

by T C (not verified) on 23. November 2012 - 14:20  (102787)

how do i get hold of a program that can helpme copy a picture with out getting all the green scrolling all over it so they distort it help !!!

by Mflevin (not verified) on 27. August 2012 - 1:25  (98343)

Hi...How do these programs compare to Adobe Fireworks? I am looking for an alternative to Fireworks.

by Ritho on 27. August 2012 - 8:12  (98351)

Vector graphic creation wise, Inkscape could be some what comparable, but Fireworks focuses largely upon website prototyping and design, and in that aspect your out of luck here. You could try this offer for Xara Xtreme which as a bit more web capabilities http://www.techno360.in/xara-xtreme-5-free-license/

by Bob Williams (not verified) on 24. January 2012 - 15:07  (87699)

Having used many of the expensive vector drawing programmes I was astounded at the scope of inkscape. What an amazing programme for free. Although the help is on-line there is an excellent tutorial for you to get started with. A fully satisfied user.

by Gelu Stoicescu (not verified) on 21. May 2012 - 7:03  (93786)

Well, aren't we overpraising ourselves here a little? It has features, true that, but, as many other multiplatform open source programs, it has some serious quirks. Version 0.48.2 doesn't recognize properly the tool set and pressure information from some tablets (Intuos 3 in my case) which makes it a little more useful than Paintbrush. Moreover, their devs try to point fingers toward GTK, library clashes and what not, and don't seem willing to fix it properly.

by bethsnaper779 (not verified) on 16. July 2011 - 2:05  (75586)

It is very very good collection.Besides these Node Box,Karbon,CreativeDocs.Net are the advanced free graphic editing tools also.It is really important to know about these advanced free graphic editing tools.

by marinus (not verified) on 1. March 2011 - 18:21  (67251)

It was off my hard drive in 10 minutes. It has a typical lazy-programmer fatal flaw: online and NON-SEARCHABLE manual only. If you don't have a home isp, or don't like the eco-hit of going internet every time you need some help, like GIMP, this is a hopeless task. Unless of course you're one of those geniuses who can figure out complex programs just by poking around.

by Ritho on 21. May 2011 - 6:17  (72422)

Are you talking about the "lazy-programmer" or "programmers" who have provided a quite excellent software for free? (There were a lot individuals who have freely given of their time to develop the inkscape project) I agree that it would be much better to include a off-line searchable manual, but I don't think that calling the code contributors lazy is really warranted. Writing documentation is not easy, but nether is writing quality code. Many commercial softwares I have used have manuals which are very brief often don't answer your questions anyway and I still end up searching online. Writing thorough documentation takes a lot of skill and time.

by whytecrow (not verified) on 20. May 2011 - 22:46  (72413)

You really do not need to be genius or to go online. All you gotta do is read. I use Inkscape for two years but you have really surprised me - it has no manual! You need to be creative, not to read manuals. To use any graphics editor, all you need is to know some basic things about graphics.

by whytecrow (not verified) on 20. May 2011 - 22:50  (72415)

need to read - I mean menus, menu items, properties settings...

by hajduk on 19. January 2013 - 15:44  (104641)

I want to speak up in support of Marinus. "Lazy programmers" is perhaps unfair, but his main point is valid. He is referring to a stand-alone program from SourceForge. Last week I tried to acquire another freeware standalone by SourceForge, 7zip, which gets good reviews as a file archiver. I couldn't find any way to open the program or get to it. In SourceForge's comment forum, someone else had earlier posted a message about this problem. The reply was what I characterized as "curt and dismissive," talking down to the poor fellow and advising him to download the "installer version," which was not mentioned by SourceForge under that title. The exe version, which I suppose is what the responder meant, is no better--there is no desktop icon or other link to open the program.

Standalone programs are widely regarded as obsolete except for specialized circumstances; most of us are not familiar with them. SourceForge leaves us with no help. Advising us to "be creative" and insisting that we don't need a manual to read (with the implied qualification "unless we are total idiots") is not in any way helpful. Inkadink may be the best vector editor under the blue sky, but I won't attempt use it until SourceForge shows some consideration for those of us who are not IT professionals.

by Anonymous on 10. June 2010 - 8:47  (51812)

DrawPlus SE has been surpassed by DrawPlus Starter Edition on the Serif site (not freeserifsoftware). It's still free, more feature rich, is based on the new DrawPlus X4, and supports SVG like Inscape.

by Anonymous on 23. February 2010 - 21:08  (44293)

I'm disappointed with Inkscape, simply because the filters don't seem to do a thing. I don't like doing every vector line manually all the time, hence the disappointment.

by Gustavo Rezende (not verified) on 29. March 2011 - 21:11  (68799)

I like InkScape too. Actually, it is better with gradients and transparencies (alpha) than Corel Draw. But I agree that some filters doesn't work very well and make the final image slower to load. In this case, I simply don't use filters. I'm still using it and hoping it gets better and better.

by Gustavo Rezende (not verified) on 29. March 2011 - 21:26  (68800)

I forgot to say: there is a portable version of InkScape in the Portable Apps site.

by HeWhoRocks on 23. February 2010 - 21:20  (44295)

Wow really? I really like Inkscape but I agree some of the filters do seem a bit pointless: maybe it depends on what one is trying to achieve, as to their usefulness? Who knows? Still well impressive for free software. I should add that, at best, I am a novice with this type of software so I can only really judge it by the "can I get it to do what I want fairly easily" standard. :)

by Anonymous on 22. January 2010 - 23:04  (41774)

Check out InsightPoint, available from download.com. Has a lot of capability for a free editor.

by Anupam on 25. November 2009 - 6:43  (37260)

InkScape 0.47-3 has been released.

Anupam

by Anonymous on 30. October 2009 - 12:31  (35483)

I have just tried Inkscape for repeat cloning to use as bitmap images in an aimp2 player skin. It works really well.
Managed to create one within 5 mins without reading any documentation at all. Intuitive with an attractive interface. Good recommendation.
By the way aimp2 player is very good too and the skinning programme very easy to use but with a few quirks.
Your website is excellent, am using many of your recommendations. I find that a lot of the free programmes are much easier to use than the payed for ones, which are often very bloated. The essence of all good design is simplicity.

by Anonymous on 4. September 2009 - 19:10  (32163)

Apparently Serif DrawPlus 4.0 has been superseded by Serif DrawPlus SE (95.1 Mb, requires registration).

lloonn

by FrankO on 7. December 2008 - 11:27  (11567)

Here is a review of 20 vector graphics editors by Smashing Magazine.

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/12/05/20-vector-graphic-editors-rev...

Definitely worth a look.

by ibenku on 1. September 2008 - 18:00  (7176)

in here we talk about freeware...
not payware...
isn't?

by Anonymous on 19. August 2008 - 7:37  (6283)

Is there a vector graphics program, that can handle multiple pages?
This is my biggest difficulty in finding a free successor to Freehand.

by mike on 19. August 2008 - 11:17  (6291)

Is pencil the sort of thing your looking for?

 
 
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Category Editor for Gizmo's Tech Support Alert

 

by Anonymous on 4. August 2008 - 7:51  (5505)

ZonerDraw 3 is worth of mentioning too

by mike on 14. August 2008 - 17:16  (6109)

Thanks for this pointer.

I've just checked with Erik from Zoner about ZonerDraw 3 as some websites reckoned this wasn't freeware, but he has confirmed that although this is quite an old product it is freely available from their website

I will be adding this to my list of reviews in the next few weeks.

by Anonymous on 26. May 2008 - 13:54  (1179)

Well, having to pay for DrawPlus does not classify it as *Free* software, does it?

by Ritho on 9. December 2008 - 6:42  (11670)

DrawPlus ver 4 has been released for free. Ver 6 is $9. If you want the free one download the older version.

by Anonymous on 15. May 2008 - 9:06  (513)

Do these work with VIsta???

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