Comparison of vector graphics editors
A number of vector graphics editors exist for various platforms. Potential users of these editors will make a comparison of vector graphics editors 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.
The tables in this article compare general and technical information for a number of vector graphics editors. See the article on each editor for further information. This article is neither all-inclusive nor necessarily up-to-date.
Some editors in detail
- 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. 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.
- Adobe Illustrator is a commonly-used editor because of Adobe's market dominance, but is more expensive than other similar products. 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. 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. 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. It also supports import from some Adobe Freehand files (specifically versions 10 & MX).
- Apache OpenOffice Draw is the vector graphics editor of the Apache OpenOffice open source office suite. It supports many import and export file formats and is available for multiple desktop operating systems.
- ConceptDraw PRO is a business diagramming tool and vector graphics editor available for both Windows and macOS. 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. CorelDRAW is capable of limited interoperation by reading file formats from Adobe Illustrator. CorelDRAW has over 50 import and export filters, 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.
- 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.
- Edraw Max is a cross-platform diagram software and vector graphics editor available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It supports kinds of diagram types. 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. The predecessor of Inkscape was Sodipodi.
- 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 is the vector graphics editor 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 was part of the Microsoft Expression Studio suite. Expression Design is discontinued, but the final version is available free from Microsoft. It runs on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8, and on Windows 8.1 and 10 released after it was discontinued.
- 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.
- 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 macOS.
- 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.
- 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, macOS. Synfig stores its animations in its own XML file format, SIF (uncompressed) or SIFZ (compressed) and can import SVG.
- 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.
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 2019 (23.0) / 15 October 2019||$19.99 / month (1 year contract) or $29.99 / month||Proprietary|
|Affinity Designer||Serif Europe||2014||1.7.2 (August 2019)||$49.99||Proprietary|
|Apache OpenOffice Draw||Apache Software Foundation||2000||4.1.6 (2018-11-18)||Free||LGPL, Apache license for later versions|
|ConceptDraw PRO||CS Odessa||1999||10.0 (August 2014)||$199||Proprietary|
|CorelDRAW||Corel||1989||2019 (21)||$499, $199 upgrade (includes Photopaint)||Proprietary|
|Dia||The GNOME Project||1998||0.97.3 (5 September 2014)||Free||GPL|
|DrawPlus||Serif Europe||1994||X8 (23 March 2015)||$119.99||Proprietary|
|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||0.92.4 (2019-01)||Free||GPL|
|LibreOffice Draw||The Document Foundation||2010||6.1.5 February 7, 2019||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|
|Pencil2D||Pascal Naidon, Patrick Corrieri||2005||0.6.3 (2019-03-17)||Free||GPL|
|PhotoLine||Computerinsel GmbH||1995||21.01 (2018-08)||€59, €29 upgrade||Proprietary|
|sK1||sK1 Team||2009||0.9.3 (2015) 2.0RC2 (2016)||Free||GPL, LGPL|
|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||4.0.3 (2019-04-03)||Free||MIT|
|Synfig||Synfig Team||2005||1.2.2 (2018-09-15)||Free||GPL|
|Xara Photo & Graphic Designer||Xara||1995||11 (June 2015)||$89.99||Proprietary|
Operating system support
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|
|Apache OpenOffice Draw||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|CorelDRAW||Yes||Yes||Dropped (v. 9)||No||No|
|LibreOffice Draw||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Under development|
|Microsoft Expression Design||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|sK1||Yes||Yes (user must compile)||Yes||No||No|
|Xara Photo & Graphic Designer||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Xara Xtreme LX||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|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|
|Apache OpenOffice Draw||119 × 119 cm||3000%||No||Yes|
|ConceptDraw PRO||Screen resolution||Page width||No||Yes[a]|
|CorelDRAW||45.72 × 45.72 m||260000% (estimated)||Yes||Yes|
|DrawPlus||10,000 x 10,000 cm||5000%||Yes||Yes[b]|
|Edraw Max||Screen resolution||400%||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]|
|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|
|Xara Photo & Graphic Designer||2.75 × 2.75 m||25601%||Yes||No|
- ConceptDraw Basic Script only
- ActionScript only
File format support
|Apache OpenOffice Draw||No||No||Native||Yes||Partial[a]||Partial[a]||No||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Expression Design||Partial||No||No||Yes||No||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Microsoft Visio 2002||Yes||Partial||No||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Visio 2003||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Microsoft Visio 2013||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Native|
|Xara Photo & Graphic Designer||Yes[j]||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Xara Xtreme LX||Partial||No||No||Yes||Yes||Partial||No||No||No|
- Via an extension
- Not all features are supported. Some Inkscape-generated plain SVG files yield corrupted results
- Via an extension using UniConvertor. Text elements not converted
- Via an extension using Ghostscript
- Via an extension using UniConvertor
- It can export to SVG but cannot import from SVG
- AI postscript-based up to 9 ver.
- Pro version only
- Only SVG 1.0 Specification is supported since Synfig 0.62.00
- Imports only up to version 8.0 AI files, newer AI file versions needs to save as "AI (V8.0)" or PDF files
- Comparison of 3D computer graphics software
- Comparison of graphics file formats
- Raster graphics
- Vector graphics
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- "Inkscape FAQ". inkscape.org.
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- "CorelDRAW X7 supported file formats, CorelDRAW X7 Help".
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- "Edraw vector graphics types". Retrieved 2016-04-26.
- Bohemian Coding - Sketch 3
- "Supported file formats in Illustrator CS4 and CS5". Retrieved 2010-12-01.
- Inkscape 0.47 release notes
- "Karbon14 Features". Archived from the original on 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2010-12-01.
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CorelDraw 7, 8
- "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)
- "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
- "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
- "What can Xara Xtreme for Linux do now?". Retrieved 2010-12-01.