Free Windows 10, Linux, MacOS open-source graphics editor: Inkscape 1.0 is out

The Inkscape project's version 1.0 of the free and open-source vector graphics editor is packed with new features.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The 16-year-old Inkscape project has released version 1.0 of the free and open-source vector graphics editor, after three years in development. Inkscape 1.0 is available for Linux, Windows, and MacOS. 

Inkscape 1.0 is packed with new features and is now available in 20 languages with numerous performance improvements that should make it run noticeably more smoothly. 

Inkscape offers designers, artists, and scientists a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator. 

SEE: Digital transformation: A CXO's guide (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

This version brings native MacOS support, meaning users no longer require XQuartz for Inkscape to work if they're running El Capitan or newer. 

It also supports Apple Retina display screen resolution and is bundled with Python 3 to support Inkscape extensions. 

Key highlights of version 1.0 include a more logically organized toolbox, improved Live Path Effects (LPE) editor features, and a revamped searchable LPE selection dialog. 

The project says performance improvements are most visible when editing node-heavy objects, using the Objects dialog, and when grouping and ungrouping. 

The Inkscape project's video shows version 1.0's new features. Source: Inkscape/YouTube

Freehand artists can now mirror and rotate the canvas and use Xray and Split-view modes. There's also a new PowerPencil mode in the Pencil tool that offers pressure-dependent width. Users can also create closed paths and vectorize line drawings.      

There are several new tools for people working on technical drawings, including the ability to create a duplicate guide and align grids to the page. 

Additionally, the Measure tool's path length indicator and the inverted Y-axis can make coordinates match between the SVG code and the Inkscape user interface.

The Inkscape project thinks technical-drawing users will appreciate the new LPE called Corners (Fillet/Chamfer) for even rounding and cutting path corners, as well as Ellipse from Points for constructing circles and ellipses. 

Measure Segments should be useful for architectural plans, too. The Circle Tool can create closed arcs or 'fillets' with a single click, while this version supports SVG2 vector hatches and can render and export hairlines. 

SEE: Mark Shuttleworth on Ubuntu popularity and Canonical profitability

Designers can now export PDFs with clickable links and metadata and also have new palettes and mesh gradients that work in the browser. There's also variable font support, browser-compatible flowed text, and powerful line-height settings. 

And there are new templates for different screen sizes, margin guides, and a colorful checkerboard background. There's also an extension for creating interactive mockups to simulate user interaction with the web app. 

The project warns that the move to Python 3 does create some breaking changes with third-party extensions, not all of which have been updated to support Python 3.   


As well as new features, Inkscape 1.0 comes with numerous performance improvements to make it run more smoothly.   

Image: Inkscape project
Editorial standards