Comparison of vector graphics editors

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A number of vector graphics editors exist for various platforms. Potential users of these editors will make a decision based on factors such as the availability for the user's platform, the software license, the feature set, the merits 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]

  • Adobe Fireworks (formerly Macromedia Fireworks) 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 that 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 Macromedia Freehand and Aldus Freehand) 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.[1] FreeHand continues to run on Mac OS X Snow Leopard (using an Adobe fix) and on Windows 7. For macOS, Affinity Designer is able to open version 10 & MX Freehand files.[2]
  • Adobe Illustrator is a commonly-used editor because of Adobe's market dominance, but is more expensive than other similar products.[3] 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 proprietary, but some vector editors can open and save in that format. Illustrator imports over two dozen formats, including PSD, PDF and 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.[4] Illustrator has been criticized[by whom?] for having a steep learning curve.
  • Affinity Designer by Serif Europe (the successor to their previous product, DrawPlus) is non-subscription-based software that is often described as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator.[5][6][7] The application can open Portable Document Format (PDF), Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator files, as well as export to those formats and to the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and Encapsulated PostScript(EPS) formats.[8] It also supports import from some Adobe Freehand files (specifically versions 10 & MX).[2]
  • 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 PowerPoint.
  • 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.
  • CorelDRAW is an editor used in the graphic design, sign making and fashion design industries.[9] CorelDRAW is capable of limited interoperation by reading file formats from Adobe Illustrator.[10] CorelDRAW has over 50 import and export filters,[11] 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.
  • CleverBrush is a vector editor for web applications, distributed as web-component which can be customized to meet customer's needs. Primary it was intended to solve problems for printing industry, however nowadays is also widely used in other industries. Being build over the web technology this editor works in all major browsers and support customization on user request. There are support of Bézier curves, text on curve, scene scaling, complex figures, binary operations on curves, color control. Supports imports from AI, SVG and exports to SVG, PNG, JPEG, PDF. Free for personal use as a web vector editor on vendor's website.
  • 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).
  • DrawPlus, first built for the Windows platform in 1993, has matured into a full featured vector graphics editor for home and professional users. Also available as a feature-limited free 'starter edition': DrawPlus SE. DrawPlus developers, Serif Europe, have now ceased its development in order to focus on its successor, Affinity Designer.[12]
  • Edraw Max is a cross-platform diagram software and vector graphics editor available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It supports kinds of diagram types.[13] It supports imports and exports SVG, PDF, HTML, Multiple page TIFF, Microsoft Visio and Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • Embroidermodder is a free machine embroidery software tool that supports a variety of formats and allows the user to add custom modifications to their embroidery designs.
  • 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.
  • GIMP, which works mainly with raster images, offers a limited set of features to create and record SVG files. It can also load and handle SVG files created with other software like Inkscape or Sodipodi.
  • 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 XQuartz) and other Unix-based systems. Inkscape can import SVG, SVGZ, AI, PDF, JPEG, PNG, GIF (and other raster graphics formats), CDR (CorelDraw), VSD (Visio) file formats and export SVG, SVGZ, PNG, PDF, PostScript, EPS, EPSi, LaTeX, HPGL, SIF (Synfig Animation Studio), HTML5 Canvas, FXG (Flash XML Graphics) and POVRay file formats. Some formats have additional support through Inkscape extensions, including PDF, EPS, Adobe Illustrator, Dia, Xfig, CGM, sK1 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.
  • LibreOffice Draw function as the drawing components and vector graphics editors of the LibreOffice open source office suite. It supports many import and export file formats and is available for multiple desktop operating systems. The Document Foundation with the help of others is currently developing Android and online versions of the LibreOffice office suite, including Draw.
  • Microsoft Expression Design is a commercial vector and bitmap graphics editor based on Creature House Expression, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2003. It is part of the Microsoft Expression Studio suite. Expression Design is only available for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
  • 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.
  • OmniGraffle, by The Omni Group, 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, and PDF.
  • OpenOffice.org Draw is the drawing components and vector graphics editors of OpenOffice.org open source office suite. It supports many import and export file formats and is available for multiple desktop operating systems.
  • 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 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 1 June 2012.
  • SVG-edit is a FOSS web-based, JavaScript-driven SVG editor that works in any modern browser.
  • 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.
  • Vecta is a free cloud based SVG graphics and diagramming editor with a growing list of reusable graphics and customizable JavaScript plugins. It can be used to create diagrams and exported to various file format such as SVG, JPEG, PNG and PDF. Vecta is available in all web browsers such as Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and others.
  • Xara Photo & Graphic Designer and Designer Pro (formerly Xara Xtreme and Xtreme Pro) are vector graphics editors for Windows developed by Xara. 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.
  • Xara Xtreme LX is a partially open source version of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer for Linux.

The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of vector graphics editors. 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
Adobe Illustrator Adobe Systems 1987 CC 2018 (22.1.0.312) / 12 March 2018 $19.99 / month (1 year contract) or $29.99 / month Proprietary
Affinity Designer Serif Europe 2014 1.6.1 (March 2018) $49.99 Proprietary
ConceptDraw PRO CS Odessa 1999 10.0 (August 2014) $199 Proprietary
CorelDRAW Corel 1989 2018 (20) $499, $199 upgrade (includes Photopaint) Proprietary
CleverBrush CleverBrush 2018 2.3 $199.99 per month (vector editor component with export system) Proprietary
Dia The GNOME Project 1998 0.97.3 (5 September 2014) Free GPL
Edraw Max EdrawSoft 2004 8 (10 March 2016) Free, $99 premium subscription Proprietary
Embroidermodder Embroidermodder Team 2004 1.70 (2012) Free GPL, zLib
Inkscape Inkscape Team 2003 0.92.3 (2018-03) Free GPL
LibreOffice Draw The Document Foundation 2010 6.0.1 February 11, 2018; 8 months ago (2018-02-11) Free MPL, LGPL
Macromedia FreeHand Adobe Systems 1988 MX (11) $399, $99 upgrade Proprietary
Microsoft Visio Microsoft 1992 12.0 $560, $350 upgrade (Pro), $260, $130 upgrade (Standard) Proprietary
OmniGraffle The Omni Group c. 2000 7.8.2 (2018-09-05) for OS X, 3.7 for iOS (2019-09-17) Standard: $99, Pro: $199, iPad $49 (Pro:$99) USD Proprietary
OpenOffice.org Draw Apache Software Foundation 2000 4.1.5 (2017-12-30) Free LGPL, Apache license for later versions
PhotoLine Computerinsel GmbH 1995 21.01 (2018-08) €59, €29 upgrade Proprietary
Serif DrawPlus Serif Europe 1994 X8 (23 March 2015) $119.99 Proprietary
sK1 sK1 Team 2009 0.9.3 (2015) 2.0RC2 (2016) Free GPL, LGPL
Sketch Bohemian Coding 2010 39.1 $99[14] Proprietary
SketchUp Trimble (previously owned by Google; originally by Last Software) 2013 18.0 (2017-11) SketchUp Make 2018: Free for non-commercial use only, Pro: $495 Proprietary
SVG-edit The SVG-edit community 2009 2.8.1 (December 2, 2015) Free MIT
Synfig Synfig Team 2005 1.2.1 (2017-09) Free GPL
Vecta Radica Software Pte Ltd 2017 1.3.0 Free Proprietary
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer Xara 1995 10 (July 2014) $89.99 Proprietary

Operating system support[edit]

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

Software Windows macOS Unix and Linux iOS Android
Adobe Illustrator Yes Yes Dropped (v 5.5) No No
Affinity Designer Yes Yes No Yes (iPad) No
Aviary Yes Yes Yes No Yes
ConceptDraw PRO Yes Yes No No No
CorelDRAW Yes Dropped (v. 11) Dropped (v. 9) No No
CleverBrush Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dia Yes Yes Yes No No
Edraw Max Yes Yes Yes No No
Inkscape Yes Yes Yes No No
LibreOffice Draw Yes Yes Yes No Under development
Macromedia Freehand Yes Yes No No No
Microsoft Expression Design Yes No No No No
Microsoft Visio Yes No No No No
OmniGraffle No Yes No Yes (iPad) No
OpenOffice.org Draw Yes Yes Yes No No
PhotoLine Yes Yes No No No
Serif DrawPlus Yes No No No No
sK1 Yes Yes (user must compile) Yes No No
Sketch No Yes No No No
SketchUp Yes Yes No No No
Sodipodi Yes No Yes No No
SVG-edit Yes Yes Yes No No
Synfig Yes Yes Yes No No
Vecta Yes Yes Yes Under development Under development
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer Yes No No No No
Xara Xtreme LX No No[15] Yes No No

Basic features[edit]

Software Maximum Page Size Maximum Zoom Color Management for Print Scripting Support
Adobe Illustrator 5.7785 × 5.7785 m 64000% Yes Yes
Affinity Designer No maximum size. 1000000%+ Yes No
Aviary ? 400% No No
ConceptDraw PRO Screen resolution Page width No Yes[a]
CorelDRAW 45.72 × 45.72 m 260000% (estimated) Yes Yes
CleverBrush 10000 px x 10000 px 1000% No No
Edraw Max Screen resolution 400% No Yes
Embroidermodder ? ? No Yes
Fatpaint 8000 × 8000 px Depend on the page size. No No
Inkscape 1000 × 1000 km 25600% No Yes
LibreOffice Draw 300 × 300 cm 3000% Yes Yes
Macromedia Freehand 5.6388 × 5.6388 m 25600% Yes Yes
Microsoft Visio 2147483647 sq. in. 3098% No Yes
OmniGraffle 2,147,483,648 × 2,147,483,648 km 800% Yes Yes[b]
OpenOffice.org Draw 119 × 119 cm 3000% No Yes
PhotoLine 1,400,000,000 × 1,400,000,000 px 6400% Yes Yes
Serif DrawPlus 10,000 x 10,000 cm 5000% Yes Yes[b]
sK1 50 × 50 m 3000% Yes Yes
SketchUp 250,000 × 250,000 m 250000% No Yes
SVG-edit ? 10000% No Yes
Vecta No maximum size 6400% No Yes
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 2.75 × 2.75 m 25601% Yes No

Notes

  1. ^ ConceptDraw Basic Script only
  2. ^ a b ActionScript only

File format support[edit]

Import[edit]

Software AI CDR ODG PS/EPS PDF SVG SWF DXF WMF/EMF XAML VSDX
Adobe Illustrator Native Partial[16] No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Affinity Designer Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No
Aviary No No No No No Yes No No No
ConceptDraw PRO No No No No No No No No Yes No
CorelDRAW Yes Native No Yes Yes Partial[a] No Yes Yes No
CleverBrush Yes No No No Yes Yes No No No
Dia No No No No No Yes No Yes Yes No
Embroidermodder No No No No No Partial No Partial No
Fatpaint No No No No No No No No No No
Inkscape Yes Partial[b] No Yes[c] Yes Native No Yes[17] Yes[d] Partial
Karbon14[18] No No Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes
LibreOffice Draw Partial[19][20] Yes Native Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Macromedia Freehand[21] Yes Partial[21] No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No
Microsoft Expression Design Partial No No No No No No No Yes No
Microsoft Visio 2002 Yes Partial[22] No Yes No No No Yes Yes
Microsoft Visio 2003 No No[23] No No No Yes No Yes Yes
Microsoft Visio 2013 No No[24] No No No Yes No Yes Yes Native
OmniGraffle No No No No Yes No[e] No No No Yes
OpenOffice.org Draw No No Native Yes Partial[f] Partial[f] No Yes Yes
PhotoLine Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Serif DrawPlus Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
sK1 Yes[g] Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes
SketchUp No No No No Yes No No Yes[h] No
Sodipodi No No No No No Yes No No No
SVG-edit No No No No No Yes No No No No
Synfig No No No No No Partial[i] No No No
Vecta Partial No No No Yes Yes No No No
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer Yes[j] No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Xara Xtreme LX[25] Partial No No Yes Yes Partial No No No

Notes

  1. ^ Not all features are supported. Some Inkscape-generated plain SVG files yield corrupted results
  2. ^ Via an extension using UniConvertor. Text elements not converted
  3. ^ Via an extension using Ghostscript
  4. ^ Via an extension using UniConvertor
  5. ^ It can export to SVG but cannot import from SVG
  6. ^ a b Via an extension
  7. ^ AI postscript-based up to 9 ver.
  8. ^ Pro version only
  9. ^ Only SVG 1.0 Specification is supported since Synfig 0.62.00
  10. ^ Imports only up to version 8.0 AI files, newer AI file versions needs to save as "AI (V8.0)" or PDF files

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Adobe Store-North America: FreeHand MX". Adobe. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Import and export file formats - Affinity Designer Help". affinity.help. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  3. ^ toptenreviews.com
  4. ^ "Inkscape FAQ". inkscape.org.
  5. ^ "Why I Use Affinity Designer Instead of Illustrator for Motion Design". School of Motion. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  6. ^ "Affinity Designer vs Adobe Illustrator CC 2018 Comparison | FinancesOnline". Financesonline.com. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  7. ^ "Affinity Designer vs. Adobe Illustrator: can Designer replace Illustrator? - 99designs". 99designs. 2016-08-17. Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  8. ^ Martin, Keith (November 27, 2014). "Serif Affinity Designer". Expert Reviews. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
  9. ^ Arah, Tom (January 2008). "Product Reviews: CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4". PC Pro. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
  10. ^ "CorelDRAW X7: support for Adobe Illustrator (AI) files, CorelDRAW X7 Help".
  11. ^ "CorelDRAW X7 supported file formats, CorelDRAW X7 Help".
  12. ^ "Digital Craft: Serif discontinues its Pageplus, Drawplus and Photoplus designing software to focus on its(Serif) new Affinity range of Professional graphic design software - ANINO". ANINO. 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
  13. ^ "Edraw vector graphics types". Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  14. ^ Bohemian Coding - Sketch 3
  15. ^ Currently being looked into
  16. ^ "Supported file formats in Illustrator CS4 and CS5". Retrieved 2010-12-01. CorelDraw 5,6,7,8,9,10
  17. ^ Inkscape 0.47 release notes
  18. ^ "Karbon14 Features". Retrieved 2010-12-01.
  19. ^ "Media Support/Linux/Images". The Document Foundation. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  20. ^ "Media Support/Windows/Image Tests". The Document Foundation. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Adobe Freehand MX 11.0 - Minimum System Requirements". Retrieved 2010-12-01. CorelDraw 7, 8
  22. ^ "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)
  23. ^ "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
  24. ^ "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
  25. ^ "What can Xara Xtreme for Linux do now?". Retrieved 2010-12-01.