Manually Convert EPS to SVG

Posted in Uncategorized by Scott on October 23, 2007

Update: Several readers have suggested easier and more effective methods. Check the comments section!

EPS is the vector graphic file format Adobe Illustrator saves in. Supposedly you can import these files directly to Inkscape if you have skencil and pstoedit installed, but I couldn’t make it work. So I converted it manually using the GIMP and Inkscape. Here’s how I did it.

First, open the file with the GIMP. When you do, the import dialog box will appear. The important setting here is the resolution. The higher the resolution, the more accurate the image will appear. I used 600, but you could go higher for more detail. GIMP 2.4 automatically adjusts the width and height, but if your version does not, make sure you multiply the width and height by the same factor as the resolution. Also, select “Strong” under both the antialiasing headings.

GIMP import EPS settings

Once you’ve got it open in the GIMP, you’re going to save as a PNG file. Here are the settings I use:

GIMP save to PNG dialog

Now you can close the GIMP if you want to free up some RAM, and open the new PNG file in Inkscape. In Inkscape, click Path > Trace to bitmap.

Trace bitmap

Inkscape will trace the bitmap and paste the new vector directly on top of the bitmap, so you may not notice any difference. Simply click the image and drag it to the side, and you’ll see there are two copies. The one with a transparent background is the vector. You should delete the bitmap by selecting it and pressing [Del].

Finally, you’ll want to center your new vector back on the page. Making sure it’s selected, click the Align and Distribute button. Change the “Relative to” drop down box to “Page”. Now, click the center vertically and center horizontally buttons once each.

Center to the page

Finally, save the file in SVG format, and you’re done.

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30 Responses

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  1. bautz said, on October 23, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Or you can use pstoedit

    pstoedit -f plot-svg inputfile.eps outputfile.svg


  2. Scott said, on October 23, 2007 at 11:35 am

    Very nice. I’ll give that a try. Thanks!

  3. dahernan said, on October 23, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    An other option is use Scribus, import and save as svg.

  4. Scott said, on October 23, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    I couldn’t get pstoedit to work. It starts and acts like it’s doing something, but then it just sits there.

    I don’t have Scribus installed at the moment, but I’ll give it a try later.


  5. Harold Naparst said, on November 9, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Pstoedit requires a license key to save to svg.

  6. Tech-Cookies » From EPS to SVG said, on December 15, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    […] and some paths were filled, rather than originally being hollow.. I then found this blog entry on Gimparoo! on how to convert eps files manually. He suggests opening the eps file using gimp with a high […]

  7. EPS to SVG Conversion « Chris’ Blog said, on December 29, 2007 at 8:30 am

    […] laziness, these always seem to come in EPS. For a long time now, I have used the method outlined at Gimparoo, but this has limited me to logos that are one-colour. This presents a problem for more complicated […]

  8. beta said, on February 26, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Worth a try. Also the scribus way.

  9. beta said, on February 26, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    How about the .ai files?

  10. Peter said, on March 21, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Check for online conversion service

  11. enars said, on July 3, 2008 at 7:25 am is not available anymore – 404 Not Found!

  12. […] Gimparoo offers the following advice (for single color vectors): […]

  13. SaveTheCheese said, on August 28, 2008 at 9:50 am

    This worked great for me. The latest version of Inkscape is a solid open source alternative to Adobe for my basic usage.

  14. seong choi said, on January 24, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Thank you so much for the useful info. You rescued me from the nightmare where I had to convert 72dpi pics to 300dpi for journal paper format.. Many thanks!!!

  15. Sambody said, on February 3, 2009 at 5:15 am

    Another method is converting the eps to pdf, then opening the pdf in Inkscape. To convert an eps file to pdf I use EpsToPdf on the command line (terminal): “epstopdf myfile.eps”. There are also online conversion tools.

  16. JDS said, on March 26, 2009 at 9:57 am

    One issue I had with pstoedit was paths with spaces. This problem happened with Scribus, too, because Scribus uses pstoedit to process eps files.

    Example problem:

    >pstoedit cti_logo.eps cti_logo.svg
    pstoedit: version 3.45 / DLL interface 108 (build Feb 28 2008 – release build – g++ 4.2.3 (Ubuntu 4.2.3-2ubuntu1)) : Copyright (C) 1993 – 2007 Wolfgang Glunz
    No explicit output format specified – using plot-svg as derived from suffix of output file
    Error: /undefinedfilename in (/home/jeff/Sol)
    Operand stack:
    …blah blah blah…
    The interpreter seems to have failed, cannot proceed !

    The problem is right after “Sol” in my example. That is a directory with a space in its name! So pstoedit appears to convert local paths to absolute ones, and does it without quoting the path name. So, yes, IMO, a bug.

    The solution was to copy the EPS file in question to /tmp (or other path with no space in the name) with a filename that had no spaces. After that the pstoedit one-liner worked fine!

    Thank you and good night.

  17. How to Get Six Pack Fast said, on April 15, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is more than I expected for when I found a link on Delicious telling that the info here is awesome. Thanks.

  18. baroquon said, on April 26, 2009 at 7:51 am

    epstopdf worked like a charm for me. It produced an error in the terminal but still worked beautifully. Thanks,

    If anyone cares to try on Ubunutu:
    sudo apt-get install texlive-extra-utils

  19. zalesthebard said, on May 4, 2009 at 12:31 am

    not useful, too slow

  20. Åsmund said, on June 18, 2009 at 8:14 am

    What you can also do:
    1. Open .eps in Inkscape.
    2. Save as .svg.

    This appears to preserve the vector information on the files I’ve tried.

  21. Dženan said, on June 30, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Yes, this is probably the best way, since they have improved support for EPS, among other things in Inkscape 0.47 (svn build)

  22. Nikki @ images to EPS converter said, on July 4, 2009 at 12:40 am

    thanks for the informtioin. i did not know how to dothis on GImp. Thanks for the tutorials.

  23. Bill said, on July 23, 2009 at 11:37 am

    If yao cannot open an eps in inkscape, there is certainly no use to try it with pstoedit as inkscape itself uses that handy oneliner to get a file…

    if you cannot open an epsfile in inkscape the main reason is that the eps is crap.

    The workaround with pdf does it’s job, but it certainly produces a whole new dimension of data.

    the gimp-workaround is suitable for all kinds of layered pictures (no gradients envolved)….

    anyways, thanks for all the useful information :)

  24. Kurt said, on August 5, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I just opened and used Cisco EPS icons with inkscape without pstoedit installed. I’m using inkscape .46-devel if that means anything. It claims (and treats it?) like a PDF, but I was surprised how well it worked. Just FYI.

  25. salem80 said, on September 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    but tracking not always make good result ..because some corners in complexed shapes will not appear correctly …

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  29. Adley said, on September 15, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Excellent posting. I was checking this site so i’m impressed! Very useful details specially the previous aspect :) I care for these information a lot. I needed this particular data for some time. Thanks a lot and best of luck.

  30. Allie said, on October 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Thank you so much for this! You’re a doll! You know, I’m wondering if Inkscape can do the same for BRUSHES. I couldn’t even open an EPS in GIMP 2.6 or JASC Animation shop, which also accepts ESP files.

    Any suggestions? Thanks so much in advance!

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