Inkscape cannot link SVGs, only bitmaps

Asked by papaki on 2010-01-19

I am trying to create an SVG with two linked SVGs imported. In this way, if one day, one of these two images is modified, I will get an error message when opening by composite SVG. Though, linking seems to work only for bitmaps. Is there a way to import SVGs in Inkscape (as for example happens with eps in Illustrator)?

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su_v (suv-lp) said : #1

Do you mean 'Link' or 'Import'? (I'm aware that the current UI is inconsistent in its use of the terms 'import', 'link' and 'embed' for bitmap images ;-). I haven't seen how Illustrator links, imports or embeds EPS files, but here's what I know about linking external SVG files in Inkscape:

a) import SVG file
You can import an SVG by using the 'File > Import…' dialog, however - this will embed the imported SVG source into the current document, encapsulated in a group in the current layer.
b) link SVG file
To link an external SVG file into your current document you could use the <image xlink:href="…" …> element, however there's no UI or dialog implemented for this in current Inkscape version. And - while it basically works on linux and osx, it seems still broken on win32 platforms. And - if the referenced SVG document can be found - there's still the issue that its content is rendered at a fixed resolution and doesn't scale as regular vector objects do in the current document.
c) …other methods?
- Unlike <image>, the element <use> cannot reference entire SVG files. Its xlink:href attribute is a reference to an element/fragment within an SVG document (<>). The 'use' element can reference any local or non-local resource (<>). However I don't know if and to which extent this is support by Inkscape and/or other SVG viewers.
- Maybe <> has pointers to further available methods.

My conclusion at the time: this feature seems not yet fully supported by Inkscape 0.47.

some RFE / bug reports related to linking SVG as <image>:
Bug #171544 “Use the <image> tag to import another SVG file”:
Bug #168244 “image tag does not find SVG source”:
Bug #171795 “Don't rasterize linked SVG with <image>”:
Bug #461842 “Image filter effect using path has low resolution”:

Maybe someone else knows more about plans to implement a GUI/dialog and to improve the handling of referenced external SVG documents.

su_v (suv-lp) said : #2

I tested a simple document referencing fragments in an external SVG file with <use xlink:href="MyLibrary.svg#block-XX" …> - this fails in Inkscape 0.47 and in Safari 4.0.4 (i.e. the linked fragments are not rendered at all) but it is rendered as I would expect it in Firefox 3.5.6 and Batik 1.7.

code snippets:
        <rect x="0" y="0" width="200" inkscape:label="upper-left-blue"
              id="upper-left-blue" height="200"/>

        <use x="0" y="0" width="400" xmlns:xlink=""
             xlink:href="blocks.svg#upper-left-blue" xlink:type="simple"
             xlink:actuate="onLoad" height="400" id="use8793" xlink:show="embed"/>

Jimmy Volatile (spam-useful) said : #3

Yeah. I'm definitely missing this feature as well.
Not only is it a very powerful way of working with common elements and files across documents (the same way you would with images), it also is an integral part to the SVG-spec.

Thanks for testing the <use> element. I wasn't aware of this at all :)

PeterPall (peterpall) said : #4

Am currently facing the same problem.

Pander (pander) said : #5

This works in Linux 0.48.2

Add line with gedit/vim
after line

And add before lines
these lines
       x="51.862183" />

You can omit height and width and set x and y to "0". After opening the SVG file in inkscape it is possible to correctly position the image and change its dimensions.

tebi (tebicap) said : #6

I need this feature!!

Thanks for your comments!

PeterPall (peterpall) said : #7

Since there currently seems to be no answer for this question the only way to go is the bug report linked to it: All feature requests for inkscape are managed using the bug tracker functionality of launchpad.

Kind regards,


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