I followed the instructions here to fill some objects (including text) with a negative of their background:

enter image description here

If I export this as png everything is fine. However when exporting as PDF it just shows the objects as white:

enter image description here

I would appreciate if you could help me know what is the problem and how I can solve it.

2 Answers 2


I bet the reason is explained ok already in other answers.

What to do:

You can make a bitmap copy with Edit > Make a Bitmap Copy.

Clip the problem area with the letters and make a bitmap copy of it. Place it onto cat. You do not lose anything, because the cat is already a bitmap. Everything else can stay as vectors.

The bitmap copy resolution (and bitmap export resolution) can be set in the preferences:

enter image description here

The resolution must be set high enough for your future printing plans, say 300 DPI.

Test also to trace the inverted area bitmaps back to vectors. The quality can be acceptable and the resulted vectors can be simple enough to not freeze Inkscape if their areas are reasonably small and the tracing is done with small enough color palette. It's tried here:

enter image description here

As you see, the traced inverted version isn't exact, stroke-like borders are definitely an unwanted result. But it can be acceptable for something.


Looks like the PDF export doesn't support SVG filters. Use a raster image editor instead, such as GIMP. It also has an exclusion blending mode. Then export the resulting image as a PNG, and import that into Inkscape.

  • well thant's the issue. I don't want to use raster. I want it for a poster and vector quality matters a lot.
    – Foad
    Mar 5, 2019 at 8:02
  • 1
    How are you printing it? Why the need to export to PDF? Can't you just print it from Inkscape? Remember Inkscape is an SVG editor first and foremost, and not specifically designed for output for print.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 5, 2019 at 8:19
  • I import the PDF into a LaTeX file and then print that. No workarounds? How come the raster export works fine!
    – Foad
    Mar 5, 2019 at 8:24
  • Probably because the rasterized image is directly rendered via Inkscape. It would seem that the PDF format doesn't support SVG filters according to this post on the Inskcape forum. There might be work arounds, but possibly more trouble than it's worth. I'm thinking possibly you could use an inverted copy of the raster image on top of the original image, then in Inkscape use the text outlines as a clipping mask on the inverted copy.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 5, 2019 at 17:02

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