I need to extract vector paths from Photoshop into SVG format (or anything else Inkscape can use).

I don't have Illustrator, and buying it just to convert file formats seems silly.

So how can I get paths out of Photoshop into SVG?

If needed, I could write some code to manipulate files directly, but I'm not even sure where to begin to get the paths out.


5 Answers 5


I realize this is a 2012 question... but in 2018....

Export as SVG from Photoshop.. the paths will be there.

There may be a bunch of raster fills you'll need to remove, but the paths will all be there.



This tutorial seems to work, it's for Mac but you can probably replace the intermediate steps for Win.

I haven't try them myself, but these are some resources that might help you:

If any of them help or you find an alternative way, post it for future reference :)

  • the last one actually works, but it converts the file to an image without any paths
    – oldboy
    Feb 6, 2019 at 22:00

GIMP can do this. Open the .psd and go to the paths tab, there right click on any path and there is an export option.

  • there doesn't seem to be a paths tab in gimp version 2.10. there is, however, tools > path, but this opens up a useless dialog window that doesn't allow you to view or edit the paths...
    – oldboy
    Feb 6, 2019 at 21:44
  • 1
    @user2230470 I just checked and it is still there. In the default layout it is the third tab in the top right panel (the second one after layers). You can access it in any layout via Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Paths.
    – krispy
    Feb 8, 2019 at 21:08

Photoshop can export a SVG like @Scott mentioned. However, this may or may not be a good move for your workflow as you might need to find the path from a very large list of stuff. It is also possible to read the path info with a script, in addition to allowing you to select what to export this also allows you to customize the exporter and it works on even older versions of PS.

Since i have already done this here, so i am going tp just paste it verbatim here:

// jooExportSVGScaffold.jsx
#target photoshop


function ppos(point){
    return ""+point[0]+" "+point[1] 

function handlePath(path) {
    var out = "";    
    var pnts = path.pathPoints;

    var ipos = pnts[0].anchor;

    var pos = pnts[0].leftDirection;
    var pos2, pos3;
    for (var p=1; p<pnts.length; p++){
       pos2 = pnts[p].rightDirection;
       pos3 = pnts[p].anchor;
       out += "C"+ppos(pos)+" "+ppos(pos2)+" "+ppos(pos3);
       pos = pnts[p].leftDirection;
    if (path.closed){
        pos2 = pnts[0].rightDirection;
        pos3 = pnts[0].anchor;
        out += "C"+ppos(pos)+" "+ppos(pos2)+" "+ppos(pos3)+"Z";
    return out;

function main() {
    var sel = app.activeDocument.selection; 
    var file = File.saveDialog('save svg path', 'SVGPath:*.svg');


    file.writeln('<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>');
    file.writeln('<!DOCTYPE svg PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD SVG 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/1.1/DTD/svg11.dtd">');
    file.writeln('<svg version="1.1" id="Layer_1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" x="0px" y="0px"');
    file.writeln('width="595.28px" height="841.89px" viewBox="0 0 595.28 841.89" enable-background="new 0 0 595.28 841.89" xml:space="preserve">');

    var doc = app.activeDocument;
    var paths = doc.pathItems;

    for (var i=0; i<paths.length; i++){
        var subpaths = paths[i].subPathItems;

        for (var j=0; j<subpaths.length; j++){
            file.writeln('<path fill="none" stroke="black" d="'+data+'"/>');

You may change the script as you see fit. Such as, instead of writing to file show it in a textbox or copy to clipboard, put a Id based on path name etc. I don't know its your workflow after all.

  • How do you run this code in Photoshop?
    – Joe
    Apr 10, 2018 at 19:18
  • @Joe open extrendcript toolkit paste it into that and hit run, or put that in a text file with a jsx ending and drag and drop it on PS-
    – joojaa
    Apr 10, 2018 at 19:26

Maybe it's not necessary to save as SVG to open the paths in Inkscape. Photoshop/File/Export/Paths to Illustrator... Dialog asks you which one you want to export, and then you can open AI file in Inkscape.

  • 2
    That's what I started with (and it's the usual way I move Photoshop paths to Corel Draw) but Inkscape doesn't recognize the AI files I'm exporting.
    – Joe
    Apr 10, 2018 at 19:19

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