Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I often use the 'trace bitmap' function in Inkscape to create a vector image from a raster image. However, on larger or more complicated bitmaps, the program completely freezes. GUIs being what they are, I know that a command-line based approach would suit the task. So what's a good way to do that?

share|improve this question
You may have a better chance for an answer on superuser? – JamesHenare Jan 18 '11 at 6:56
Not an answer, but I can't imagine wanting to do such a visual task in a CLI... – e100 Jan 18 '11 at 11:33
@e100 It's a matter of clicking a tab and choosing a brightness cutoff. I'm not talking about tracing it using a tablet. – ixtmixilix Jan 20 '11 at 16:02
OK - I haven't used Inkscape to be honest, but in other apps tracing generally involves tweaking several factors interactively. – e100 Jan 20 '11 at 18:52
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The software that powers Inkscape's bitmap tracing function is actually a non-GUI program called Potrace, so you're in luck:

Download here:

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.