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Developer(s)Peter Selinger
Initial release2001
Stable release
1.16[1] / September 17, 2019; 4 years ago (2019-09-17)
Written inC
TypeRaster-to-vector conversion
LicensePotrace: GPL-2.0-or-later, Potrace Professional: proprietary

Potrace[needs IPA] is a cross-platform, open-source software which converts bitmapped images into vector graphics. It is written and maintained by Peter Selinger.


Various graphical frontends are available for the command-line application Potrace. Notably, it has been integrated with Inkscape, giving Inkscape its Trace Bitmap action.[2] FontForge can use Potrace to import a bitmap image into a font. Potrace is also used by the music engraving program LilyPond. An open-source progressive web app that uses Potrace is SVGcode.

Potrace's input and output is black and white (colored images are greyscaled before processing). However, Inkscape is capable of producing color images by decomposing each channel into several black and white images and tracing them separately with Potrace. The commercial Total Vectorize program also uses Potrace as its core.

Potrace is licensed under the GNU General Public License v2.0 or later. A non-GPL version of Potrace called "Potrace Professional" is available under license from Selinger's company, Icosasoft Software, Inc.[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Peter Selinger (2019-09-17). "ChangeLog". SourceForge project potrace. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  2. ^ "Inkscape tutorial: Tracing". Inkscape. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  3. ^ Dual licensing program for Potrace

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]