Comparison of vector graphics editors

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A number of vector graphics editors for various platforms exist. Potential users of these editors will make a decision based on factors such as the availability for the user's platform, the feature set, usability of the user interface (UI) and the focus of the program. Some programs are more suitable for artistic work while others are better for technical drawings. Another important factor is the application's support of various vector and bitmap image formats for import and export.

Some editors in detail[edit]

  • CorelDRAW is an editor used in the graphic design, sign making and fashion design industries.[1] CorelDRAW is capable of limited interoperation by reading file formats from Adobe Illustrator.[2] CorelDRAW has an extensive array of more than 50 import and export filters,[3] on-screen and dialog box editing and the ability to create multi-page documents. It can also generate TrueType and Type 1 fonts, although refined typographic control is better suited to a more specific application. Some other features of CorelDRAW include the creation and execution of VBA macros, viewing of colour separations in print preview mode and integrated professional imposing options.
  • Corel Designer (originally Micrografx Designer) is one of the earliest vector-based graphics editors for the Microsoft Windows platform. The product is mainly used for the creation of engineering drawings and is shipped with extensive libraries for the needs of engineers. It is also flexible enough for most vector graphics design applications.
  • Dia is a free and open source diagramming and vector graphics editor available for Windows, Linux and other Unix-based computer operating systems. Dia has a modular design and several shape packages for flowcharting, network diagrams and circuit diagrams. Its design was inspired by Microsoft Visio, although it uses a Single Document Interface similar to other GNOME software (such as GIMP).
  • Fatpaint is a free, light-weight, browser-based graphic design application with built-in vector drawing tools. It can be accessed through any browser with Flash 9 installed. Its integration with Zazzle makes it particularly suitable for people who want to create graphics for custom printed products such as t-shirts, mugs, iPhone cases, flyers and other promotional products.
  • Adobe Fireworks (formerly a Macromedia product) is a vector editor with bitmap editing capabilities with its main purpose being the creation of graphics for Web and screen. Fireworks supports RGB color scheme and has no CMYK support. This means it is mostly used for screen design. The native Fireworks file format is editable PNG (FWPNG or PNG). Adobe Fireworks has a competitive price but its features can seem limited in comparison with other products. It is easier to learn than other products and can produce complex vector artwork. The Fireworks editable PNG file format is not supported by other Adobe products. Fireworks can manage the PSD and AI file formats which enables it to be integrated with other Adobe apps. Fireworks can also open FWPNG/PNG, PSD, AI, EPS, JPG, GIF, BMP, TIFF file formats, and save/export to FWPNG/PNG, PSD, AI (v.8), FXG (v.2.0), JPG, GIF, PDF, SWF and some others; recently, also some support for exporting to SVG has been added (via a free Export extension).
  • Adobe Flash (formerly a Macromedia product) has straightforward vector editing tools which make it easier for designers and illustrators to use. The most important of these tools are vector lines and fills with bitmap-like selectable areas, simple modification of curves via the "selection" or the control points/handles through "direct selection" tools. Flash uses Actionscript for OOP, and has full XML functionality through E4X support.
  • Adobe FreeHand (formerly a Macromedia product) is mainly used by professional graphic designers. The functionality of FreeHand includes flexibility of the application in the wide design environment, catering to the output needs of both traditional image reproduction methods and to contemporary print and digital media with its page-layout capabilities and text attribute controls. Specific functions of FreeHand include a superior image-tracing operation for vector editing, page layout features within multiple-page documents, and embedding custom print-settings (such as variable halftone-screen specifications within a single graphic, etc.) to each document independent of auxiliary printer-drivers. User-operation is considered to be more suited for designers with an artistic background compared to designers with a technical background. When being marketed, FreeHand lacked the promotional backing, development and PR support in comparison to other similar products. FreeHand was transferred to the classic print group after Macromedia was purchased by Adobe in 2005. On May 16, 2007, Adobe announced that no further updates to Freehand would be developed but continues to sell FreeHand MX as a Macromedia product.[4] FreeHand continues to run on Mac OS X Snow Leopard (using an Adobe fix) and on Windows 7.
  • Adobe Illustrator is considered an industry leading editor and is more expensive than other similar products.[5] It is primarily developed consistently in line with other Adobe products and such is best integrated with Adobe's Creative Suite packages. The ai file format is a common vector format for exchange and its feature set allows creation of relatively complex vector artwork. Illustrator imports over two dozen formats (including PSD, PDF, SVG) and exports AI, PDF, SVG, SVGZ, GIF, JPG, PNG, WBMP, and SWF. However, the user must be aware of unchecking the "Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities" option if he or she desires to generate interoperable SVG files.[6] The powerhouse of Adobe Illustrator's vector drawing interface is the pen tool and its set of complementary tools, which offer refined control over curves and anchor points, but do also earn Illustrator criticism[by whom?] for having a steep learning curve.
  • ConceptDraw PRO is a business diagramming tool and vector graphics editor available for both Windows and OS X. It supports multi-page documents, and includes an integrated presentation mode. ConceptDraw PRO supports imports and exports several formats, including Microsoft Visio and Microsoft Power Point.
  • Inkscape is a free and open source vector editor with the primary native format being SVG. Inkscape is available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X (using X11 environment) and other Unix-based systems. Inkscape can import SVG, SVGZ, AI, and PDF file formats and export SVG, PNG, SVGZ, PDF, PostScript, EPS, EPSi, LaTeX and POVRay file formats. Some formats have additional support through Inkscape extensions, including PDF, EPS, Adobe Illustrator, Dia and Sketch.
  • Ipe lets users draw geometric objects such as polylines, arcs and spline curves and text. Ipe supports use of layers and multiple pages. It can paste bitmap images from clipboard or import from JPEG or BMP, and also through a conversion software it can import PDF figures generated by other software. It differentiates itself from similar programs by including advanced snapping tools and the ability to directly include LaTeX text and equations. Ipe is extensible by use of ipelets, which are plugins written in C++ or Lua.
  • The Omni Group OmniGraffle is a vector graphics editor available for Macintosh. It is principally used for creating flow charts and other diagrams. OmniGraffle imports and exports several formats, including Microsoft Visio, SVG (export only) and PDF.
  • OpenOffice.org Draw and LibreOffice Draw functions as the drawing component and a vector graphics editor of the open source Office suites OpenOffice.org and Libre Office. They support many import and export file formats; LibreOffice Draw can import SVG files.
  • PhotoLine is mainly a raster graphics editor but also offers a comprehensive set of vector drawing tools including multiple paths per layer, layer groups, color management and full color space support including CMYK and Lab color spaces, and multipage documents. PhotoLine can import and export PDF and SVG files as well as all major bitmap formats.
  • sK1 is a free and open source vector editor for Linux which is oriented for "prepress ready" PostScript & PDF output. The major sK1 features are CMYK colorspace support; CMYK support in Postscript; Cairo-based engine; Color management; Universal CDR importer (7-X4 versions); Modern Ttk based (former Tile widgets) user interface. sK1 can import ai postscript based, CDR, CDT, CCX, CDRX, CMX, PS, EPS, CGM, WMF, XFIG, SVG, SK, SK1, AFF, PLT file formats. It can export ai, SVG, SK, SK1, CGM, WMF, PDF, PS, PLT file formats.
  • Sketch is a commercial vector graphics application for Mac OS X.
  • SketchUp is a free vector graphics program with a paid pro-version. SketchUp is focused primarily on 3D sketching, with many features specifically designed to simplify architectural sketching. Google integrated an online model sharing database called 3D Warehouse to allow sharing of 3D sketches. SketchUp was purchased by Trimble on the 1 June 2012.
  • SVG-edit is a FOSS web-based, JavaScript-driven SVG editor that works in any modern browser.
  • Swift 3D is a Mac OS X & Windows application for vector and raster-based 3D animations for Adobe Flash and EPS.
  • Synfig Studio (also known as Synfig) is a free and open source 2D vector graphics and timeline-based computer animation program created by Robert Quattlebaum. Synfig is available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X. Synfig stores its animations in its own XML file format, SIF (uncompressed) or SIFZ (compressed) and can import SVG.
  • Microsoft Visio is a diagramming, flow chart, floor plan and vector graphics editor available for Windows. It is commonly used by small and medium sized businesses, and by Microsoft in their corporate documentation.
  • Xara Photo & Graphic Designer and Designer Pro (formerly Xara Xtreme and Xtreme Pro) are vector graphics editors for Windows developed by Xara. Xara Xtreme LX is a partially open source version for Linux. Xara Photo & Graphic Designer has high usability compared to other similar products and has very fast rendering. Xara Photo & Graphic Designer (and earlier product ArtWorks) was the first vector graphics software product to provide fully antialiased display, advanced gradient fill and transparency tools. The current version supports multi-page documents, and includes a capable integrated photo tool making it an option for any sort of DTP work. The Pro version includes extra features such as Pantone and color separation support, as well as comprehensive web page design features.
  • ZPaint is part of the ZCubes. ZPaint is browser based and combines the functionality of other similar products. Artwork ranging from freehand sketches to complex paintings can be made on a single page, and/or within multiple cubes on a page (also called "recursive canvas"). Detailed adjustments and settings are available for stroke, fill, text shadow, special effects and gradient settings. The vector drawings created using ZPaint can be used directly in web-browsers without conversion to raster formats, and can be edited on the web itself. Recent versions are known to support VML/SVG with embedded images, connectors in flow charts, scripting with Javascript, and direct spreadsheet interaction and animation via Calci.

The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of vector graphics editors. Please see the individual products' articles for further information. This article is neither all-inclusive nor necessarily up-to-date.

General information[edit]

This table gives basic general information about the different vector graphics editors:

Software Company First released Latest version List price (USD) License
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite Corel 1989 X7 (17) $499, $199 upgrade (includes Photopaint) Proprietary
ConceptDraw PRO CS Odessa 1999 10.0 (August 2014) $199 Proprietary
Dia The Gnome Project 0.97.2 (18 December 2011) Free GPL
Serif DrawPlus Serif Europe 2013 X6 $99.99 Proprietary
Embroidermodder Embroidermodder Team 2004 1.70 Free GPL, zLib
Microsoft Expression Design Microsoft 2007 4.0 (7.0.20516.9) (June 2010) Free Proprietary
Fatpaint Mersica Inc. 2010 1.83 Free, $29 premium subscription Proprietary
Macromedia FreeHand Adobe Systems 1988 MX (11) $399, $99 upgrade Proprietary
Adobe Illustrator Adobe Systems 1987 CC $599, $199 upgrade Proprietary
Inkscape Inkscape Team 2003 0.48.5 (18 July 2014) Free GPL
OmniGraffle The Omni Group c. 2000 5.3.1 (August 2011) for OS X, 1.6 for iOS (September 2011) Standard: $99, Pro: $199, iPad $50 USD Proprietary
OpenOffice.org Draw/ LibreOffice Draw The Apache Foundation Incubator/ The Document Foundation 2000/2014 3.2.1 (June 2010)/4.3.2 (September 2014) Free LGPL, Apache license for later versions
PhotoLine Computerinsel GmbH 1995 17.10 59 €, 29 € upgrade Proprietary
sK1 sK1 Team 2009 0.9.0 (May 2009) Free GPL, LGPL
Sketch Bohemian Coding  ? 3 $79[7] Proprietary
SketchUp Trimble (previously owned by Google; originally by Last Software) May 21, 2013 13.0.3689 (May 2013) SketchUp Make 2013: Free for non-commercial use only, Pro: $495USD Proprietary
Sodipodi Sodipodi 2000 0.34 (February 2004) Free GPL
SVG-edit The SVG-edit community 2009 2.6 (January 2013) Free MIT
Swift 3D Electric Rain 2000 6.0 (June 2009) $249 Proprietary
Synfig Synfig Team 2005 0.64.0 (May 2013) Free GPL
Microsoft Visio Microsoft 1992 12.0 $560, $350 upgrade (Pro), $260, $130 upgrade (Standard) Proprietary
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer Xara 1995 9.0 (May 2013) $89.99 Proprietary
Xara Xtreme LX Xara 2006 0.7 Free GPL (except graphic engine)
ZCubes ZCubes 2006 2007 December Free ZCubes Terms of Use
Software Company First released Latest version List price (USD) License

Operating system support[edit]

This table lists the operating systems that different editors can run on without emulation:

Software Windows Mac OS X Unix[8] iOS Android Windows RT
Aviary Yes Yes Yes No Yes No
Dia Yes Yes Yes No No No
Adobe Illustrator Yes Yes Dropped (v 5.5) No No No
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite Yes Dropped (v. 11) Dropped (v. 9) No No No
Serif DrawPlus Yes No No No No No
ConceptDraw PRO Yes Yes No No No No
Microsoft Expression Design Yes No No No No No
Fatpaint Yes Yes Yes No No No
Macromedia Freehand Yes Yes No No No No
Inkscape Yes Yes Yes No No No
OmniGraffle No Yes No Yes (iPad) No No
OpenOffice.org Draw/LibreOffice Draw Yes Yes Yes No No No
PhotoLine Yes Yes No No No No
sK1 No Yes (user must compile) Yes No No No
Sketchup Yes Yes No No No No
Sketch[disambiguation needed] No Yes No No No No
Sodipodi Yes No Yes No No No
SVG-edit Yes Yes Yes No No No
Swift 3D Yes Yes No No No No
Synfig Yes Yes Yes No No No
Microsoft Visio Yes No No No No No
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer Yes No No No No No
Xara Xtreme LX No No[9] Yes No No No
ZCubes Yes Partial[10] Partial[10] No No No

Basic features[edit]

Software Maximum page size Maximum zoom Color management for print Scripting support
Aviary  ? 400% No No
CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 45.72 × 45.72 m 45000% (estimated) Yes Yes
ConceptDraw PRO Screen resolution Page width No Yes[11]
Serif DrawPlus  ? 5000% Yes  ?
Embroidermodder  ?  ? No Yes
Fatpaint 8000 × 8000 px Depend on the page size. No No
Macromedia Freehand 5.6388 × 5.6388 m 25600% Yes Yes
Adobe Illustrator 5.7785 × 5.7785 m 6400% Yes Yes
Inkscape 304.8 × 304.8 km 25600% No Yes
LibreOffice Draw 119 × 119 cm 3000% Yes Yes
OmniGraffle 2,147,483,648 × 2,147,483,648 km 800% Yes Yes[12]
OpenOffice.org Draw 119 × 119 cm 3000% No Yes
PhotoLine 1,400,000,000 × 1,400,000,000 px 6400% Yes Yes
sK1 50 × 50 m 3000% Yes Yes
SketchUp 250,000 × 250,000 m 250000% No Yes
SVG-edit  ? 10000% No Yes
Microsoft Visio 2002 2147483647 sq. in. 3098% No Yes
Microsoft Visio 2003 2147483647 sq. in. 3098% No Yes
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 2.75 × 2.75 m 25601% Yes No
ZCubes Screen Resolution 45000% (estimated) Yes Yes

File format support[edit]

Import[edit]

Software AI CDR ODG PS/EPS PDF SVG SWF DXF WMF/EMF XAML
Aviary No No No No No Yes No No No  ?
CorelDRAW Yes Yes No Yes Yes Partial[13] No Yes Yes No
Dia No No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No
ConceptDraw PRO No No No No No No No No Yes No
Serif DrawPlus Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes  ?
Embroidermodder No No No No No Partial No Partial No  ?
Microsoft Expression Design 4 Partial No No No No No No No Yes No
Fatpaint No No No No No No No No No No
Macromedia Freehand[14] Yes Partial[14] No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No
Adobe Illustrator Yes Partial[15] No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes  ?
Inkscape Yes Partial[16] No Yes[17] Yes Yes No Yes[18] Yes[19]  ?
Karbon14[20] No No Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes  ?
LibreOffice Draw No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes  ?
OmniGraffle No No No No Yes No[21] No No No  ?
OpenOffice.org Draw No No Yes Yes Partial[22] Partial[22] No Yes Yes  ?
PhotoLine No No No No[23] Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
sK1 Yes[24] Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes  ?
SketchUp No No No No Yes No No Yes[25] No  ?
Sodipodi No No No No No Yes No No No  ?
SVG-edit No No No No No Yes No No No No
Swift 3D Yes No No Yes No No No No No  ?
Synfig No No No No No Partial[26] No No No  ?
Microsoft Visio 2002 Yes Partial[27] No Yes No No No Yes Yes  ?
Microsoft Visio 2003 No No[28] No No No Yes No Yes Yes  ?
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer Yes[29] Partial[30] No Yes Yes Yes[30] No No Yes  ?
Xara Xtreme for Linux[31] Partial No No Yes Yes Partial No No No  ?
Software AI CDR ODG PS/EPS PDF SVG SWF DXF WMF/EMF XAML

Export[edit]

Software AI CDR ODG PS/EPS PDF SVG SWF LaTeX DXF WMF/EMF TT/T1 fonts XAML PNG JPG
Aviary No No No No No Yes No No No  ? No  ?
CorelDRAW Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
ConceptDraw PRO No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No No Yes Yes
Dia No No No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
Serif DrawPlus No No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No  ?
Embroidermodder No No No No No Partial No No No No No  ?
Microsoft Expression Design 4 No No No No Yes No No No No No No Yes[32]
Fatpaint No No No No No No No No No No No No Yes
Macromedia Freehand[14] Partial No No Yes Yes No Yes No No Partial No No
Adobe Illustrator Yes No No Yes Yes Partial[6][33] Yes No Yes Yes No Partial[34] Yes Yes
Inkscape Partial[22] Partial[35] Yes Yes Partial[36] Yes Partial[37] Yes Yes Partial[38] No Partial[39] Yes No
Karbon14[20] No No Yes No Yes Yes No No No Yes No No
OmniGraffle No No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
OpenOffice.org Draw No No Yes Yes Yes Partial Yes No No Yes No No
PhotoLine No No No Partial[40] Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
sK1 Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No No Partial[41] No No
SketchUp No No No No No No No No Yes No No No
SVG-edit No No No No No Yes No No No No No No Yes No
Swift 3D Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No  ? No  ?
Microsoft Visio 2002 Yes No No Yes No No No No Yes Yes No No
Microsoft Visio 2003 No No No No No Yes No No Yes Yes No No
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer[30] Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No Yes Yes
Xara Xtreme for Linux[31] Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
Software AI CDR ODG PS/EPS PDF SVG SWF LaTeX DXF WMF/EMF TT/T1 fonts XAML PNG JPG

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Arah, Tom (January 2008). "Product Reviews: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4". PC Pro. Retrieved 2009-05-16. 
  2. ^ "CorelDRAW X7: support for Adobe Illustrator (AI) files, CorelDRAW X7 Help". 
  3. ^ "CorelDRAW X7 supported file formats, CorelDRAW X7 Help". 
  4. ^ "Adobe Store-North America: FreeHand MX". Adobe. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  5. ^ toptenreviews.com
  6. ^ a b "Inkscape FAQ". http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/FAQ#I_exported_an_SVG_file_from_Adobe_Illustrator.2C_edited_it_in_Inkscape.2C_and_imported_back_to_AI.2C_but_there_my_changes_are_lost.21. 
  7. ^ http://www.bohemiancoding.com/sketch/
  8. ^ "Unix" includes all Unix-like systems excluding Mac OS X.
  9. ^ Currently being looked into
  10. ^ a b Internet Explorer is required for full functionality
  11. ^ ConceptDraw Basic Script only
  12. ^ AppleScript only
  13. ^ Not all features are supported. Some Inkscape-generated plain SVG files yield corrupted results.
  14. ^ a b c "Adobe Freehand MX 11.0 - Minimum System Requirements". Retrieved 2010-12-01. CorelDraw 7, 8 
  15. ^ "Supported file formats in Illustrator CS4 and CS5". Retrieved 2010-12-01. CorelDraw 5,6,7,8,9,10 
  16. ^ Via an extension using UniConvertor. Text elements not converted
  17. ^ Via an extension using Ghostscript.
  18. ^ Inkscape 0.47 release notes
  19. ^ Via an extension using UniConvertor.
  20. ^ a b "Karbon14 Features". Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  21. ^ It can export to SVG but cannot import from SVG
  22. ^ a b c Via an extension
  23. ^ only EPS images
  24. ^ AI postscript based up to 9 ver.
  25. ^ Pro version only
  26. ^ Only SVG 1.0 Specification is supported since Synfig 0.62.00
  27. ^ "Visio2000: File Formats That Can Be Imported into Visio". Retrieved 2010-12-01. You can import the following file formats into your Visio drawings: CorelDRAW! Drawing File versions 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 6.0 and 7.0 (.cdr), Corel Clipart (.cmx) 
  28. ^ "What you won't find in Microsoft Office Visio 2003". Retrieved 2010-12-01. The following file formats and converters are no longer supported:CorelDRAW! 3,0-7.0, Corel Clipart Format, CMX 
  29. ^ Imports only up to version 8.0 AI files, newer AI file versions needs to save as "AI (V8.0)" or PDF files
  30. ^ a b c "Xara Designer - Import and Export". Retrieved 2010-12-01. early versions of CorelDRAW CDR and CMX 
  31. ^ a b "What can Xara Xtreme for Linux do now?". Retrieved 2010-12-01. 
  32. ^ http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/Design_FAQ.aspx
  33. ^ "Adobe Illustrator CS4 - Save in SVG format". Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  34. ^ Via an external plug-in
  35. ^ Via UniConvertor (UC) and only on UNIX/Linux, only paths with flat fill and stroke are supported as of UC 1.0. Available in version 0.46.
  36. ^ Support for many features is limited
  37. ^ Via the Swftools extension
  38. ^ Gradients broken in all uniconvertor WMF/EMF
  39. ^ Produces only Canvas based Shape drawings
  40. ^ only as an EPS image
  41. ^ gradient export broken in all uniconvertor WMF/EMF

See also[edit]

External links[edit]