Once upon a time I used Corel Draw to edit vector graphics. Now I'm looking at using Sketch. I previously converted all my old CDR files to PDF but Sketch doesn't seem to like to open PDFs containing vector graphics. Is there a free command-line program I can use to convert PDF to SVG?

  • 1
    Are you sure that the conversion from CDR to PDF didn't destroy all vector information (by just rendering a bitmap into the PDF)? – nohillside Oct 5 '12 at 7:04
  • Yes. The PDFs are vectors. – SSteve Oct 5 '12 at 14:56
  • @nohillside Isn't it more important to state the goal as lossless: pure vector source (to pure vector PDF) to pure vector SVG? – LangLangC Sep 16 at 9:50
  • @LangLangC Probably. It's an old question though, things may have changed a lot since 2012. – nohillside Sep 16 at 10:03

Turns out Inkscape has a command line mode. I added this to .bash_profile:

alias inkscape="/Applications/Inkscape.app/Contents/Resources/bin/inkscape"

and now this command converts from PDF to SVG:

inkscape Logo.pdf --export-plain-svg=Logo.svg

Unfortunately, the current version of Sketch has very rudimentary SVG import capabilities and can't correctly read any of the files I've made even though they display fine in Opera and OmniWeb. The company says future versions will do better.

  • inkscape cannot open Figma exported SVGs... at least not on macOS. 🤢 – Jonny Jun 29 '18 at 9:17

ImageMagick has a command line tool called convert which does all sorts of things in addition to converting file formats. There are lots of options, but the simplest way would be to do

convert file.pdf file.svg

That might not give the best quality, so you may need some flags such as -density - check the man pages. ImageMagick can likely be installed through fink/macports/homebrew.

  • the convert is one hell of a great command. It's already present in OSX. – Matthieu Riegler Oct 5 '12 at 17:39
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    I did some tests with ImageMagick/convert and wasn't getting anything useful. So I did some looking around and found this page which says in bold letters: Avoid using ImageMagick for "Vector Image" to "Vector Image" conversions. Turns out it converts everything to raster format internally. So the hunt is still on… – SSteve Oct 5 '12 at 18:17
  • Interesting find. I was unaware of the internal rasterization. – cm2 Oct 5 '12 at 22:11

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