How do I convert an SVG to a PDF on Linux

How do I convert an SVG (containing a few words of latin text and some simple vector graphics) to a PDF on Linux?

I tried Inkscape 0.47 on Ubuntu Lucid, but it moves some sub-graphics randomly, and it makes some lines shorter in the output PDF. So its output is useless, because the graphics looks completely different.

I tried opening the SVG in Google Chrome 16 and printing it to PDF, but it distorts all the colors, and it also removes some elements. (The SVG appears fine on screen, but it’s already bad in the print preview and the generated PDF is also bad)

I don’t want to rasterize or render the SVG. A solution which converts the SVG to a bitmap image and then creates a PDF with the image embedded is not an answer to my question. (FYI Inscape 0.47 renders the text is a very ugly way, without antialiasing, when rendering to PNG)

Qre there any other options?

Here is Solutions:

We have many solutions to this problem, But we recommend you to use the first solution because it is tested & true solution that will 100% work for you.

Solution 1

rsvg-convert did the trick for the SVG I wanted to convert:

$ sudo apt-get install librsvg2-bin
$ rsvg-convert -f pdf -o t.pdf t.svg

rsvg-convert -f pdf doesn’t rasterize the SVG, and it embeds and subsets fonts (at least it has embedded the used characters of the Arial font). Sometimes font embedding fails (e.g. for the LMRoman17 font), and the whole font file gets copied to the generated PDF.

Dependencies on Ubuntu Lucid:


By default, libcairo needs libX11, so rsvg-convert may be hard to install to a headless system.

The man page of rsvg-convert states that the tool always rasterizes, but this isn’t true. The manual is simply obsolete. Sometimes your svg generating tool can partially rasterize the svg image, which can also mislead you.

Solution 2

This works on Ubuntu Lucid:

$ sudo apt-get install inkscape
$ inkscape t.svg --export-pdf=t.pdf

The command-line Inkscape invocation above works even in headless mode, without a GUI (DISPLAY=). However, installing Inscape installs lots of dependencies, including X11.

Please note that the exit status of Inskscape is always 0, even if an error occurs — so watch out for its stderr.

There is also inkscape --shell, suitable for converting many documents in a batch. This avoids the slow Inkscape startup time for each file:

$ (echo t.svg --export-pdf=t.pdf;
   echo u.svg --export-pdf=u.pdf) |
  DISPLAY= inkscape --shell

Inkscape is also useful for simplifying an SVG:

$ DISPLAY= inkscape t.svg --export-plain-svg=t.plain.svg

Solution 3

I have used CairoSVG successfully on OSX and Ubuntu.

pip install cairosvg
cairosvg in.svg -o out.pdf

CairoSVG Documentation

Solution 4

I get good results from printing from Inkscape (0.47 too) to PDF, and for saving as PDF (but slightly different), but this might depend on the graphic at hand.

An alternative with lower resolution (I did not try any switches to improve it) is

 convert file.svgz file.pdf 

convert is part of the ImageMagick package.
Rasterizer is another program:

 rasterizer -m application/pdf file.svgz -d file.pdf 

To find out, which programs which handle svgs are installed on your system, just try

 apropos -s 1 svg

The manpage for these programs should explain, wether the program is useful for converting the svg to pdf.

Solution 5

I’m wondering why it hasn’t been mentioned before, but I tested a bunch of different svg->pdf converters and found that the best one is Headless Chrome. It produces the most precise results for me. Before switching to Chrome, I was trying to fight with Inkscape bugs, but many of them are too serious and I can’t do much about it (transparency bugs, wrong fonts, etc).

chrome \
  --headless \
  --disable-gpu \
  --print-to-pdf-no-header \
  --print-to-pdf=output.pdf \

It needs some tweaks to use custom PDF size(A4 is default), but I was able to set custom size after some googling and playing with CSS and SVG attributes (check out this answer on stackoverflow)

Solution 6 mentions gsvg, part of GhostPDL.

I’ve tried gsvg ghostpdl-9.06 on Ubuntu Lucid, but it failed for two SVGs generated by Inkscape. One SVG had text in it, the other had only vector graphics. It also failed for simple graphics without Inkscape extensions or clip-path. So I don’t consider gsvg a usable SVG-to-PDF converter.

Solution 7

On Mac OS (considering that you already have brew installed) I do:

$ brew install cairo libffi python3
$ pip3 install cairosvg

$ cairosvg -o blah.pdf ./blah.svg 

Same should work on Linux, but with apt-get instead.

Solution 8

Awesome solution, Avael Kross (!! Headless Chrome worked great for me.

I automated the procedure to remove a header and footer from the output PDF and make it fit to the size of the SVG.
I uploaded the shell script to the following gist.



$ ./svg2pdf.bash input.svg output.pdf

Solution 9

Open the svg file with Image Viewer (Also called Eye of Gnome eog) and print it to a PDF file (say image.pdf) and convert that pdf to eps using pdf2ps command. Simple!

Elaborated steps:

  1. Install Image Viewer if not yet done (highly unlikely step if you use gnome)

    sudo apt-get install eog
  2. Open svg file with eog and print it to image.pdf file.

  3. (Optional) Remove surrounding whitespace from the pdf file:

    pdfcrop image.pdf

    This will generate image-crop.pdf with surrounding whitespace removed.

  4. Convert cropped pdf to eps (use image.pdf directly if you didn’t crop the pdf)

    pdf2ps image-crop.pdf image.eps

Thats it!

Solution 10

Most of the tools mentioned here have problems when displaying SVG 1.1. Therefor, I used the following workaround:

  1. Most browsers seem to be the best viewers for SVG. Firefox and Chrome have full support for SVG 1.1. I just displayed the SVG in the browser.
  2. Then printed the page to PDF, while:
    • fitting the image into the page
    • setting all page borders to 0
    • leaving all headers and footers empty
  3. As you cannot differ from the predefined page sizes, I used pdfcrop afterwards, to get a PDF with the exact dimensions of the SVG.

Solution 11

The answer by @pts doesn’t work with recent versions of Inkscape ( 1.0 or newer). To convert an SVG file to PDF:

inkscape --export-type=pdf my_file.svg

This will export it to my_file.pdf.

If you would like to specify a different name for your PDF document, use:

inkscape my_file.svg -o new_name.pdf

Note: Use and implement solution 1 because this method fully tested our system.
Thank you 🙂

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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