I would like to create/export a vector image with fixed line widths, independent of the zoom level. I've already found the possibility to use vector-effect="non-scaling-stroke" in an SVG image, which makes the line width independent of my transformations. But that is not what I want. I need to create an image file that I can send to someone else, while he/she can open it in web/pdf/image browser, zoom in, while keeping the line width fixed.

Example: I have this image:

enter image description here

What I want after enlarging it 10 times in browser/pdf viewer:

enter image description here

What I got instead:

enter image description here

I'm struggling with this for quite long, so I wonder, is it even possible? I understand that with raster images, this is impossible in principle, but isn't there a way to achieve this with vector images?

  • 1
    I think you might be able to do this using CSS to modify the stroke width. I found this Stroke-Width (CSS Tricks) if it's any help.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 16 '20 at 11:08
  • 3
    In SVG this should be possible depending on how and where you display the file, but in PDF I think it's impossible. Objects in a PDF must have physical dimensions and can't be responsive. How should strokes like this print?
    – Wolff
    Feb 16 '20 at 11:30
  • vector-effect="non-scaling-stroke" is the way to go here. But it can only work with SVGs that are rendered using a viewer that understands and renders vectors, which isn't possible using a PDF or other similar formats that force pre-rendered sizing. Feb 16 '20 at 13:59

PDF specification has no such capability. PDF is a print preparation/archival/wysiwyg format. Its simply not meant for this usecase.

Like others have said svg files in a browser have this property. But thats not a universal works in all svg rendererers kind of thing. Browsers are especially flexible, so you could even make it thinner when you zoom in if you wanted to.


I finally resolved this. Using the information from comments and @joojaa answer, I concluded that PDF is not an option. I focussed on SVG, and I was able to achieve the result using the embedded CSS block with stroke-width property. However, this is not enough to achieve the wanted behavior in the browser.

The key is to set the stroke width in viewport units. Example:

<svg xmlns...">
        path { stroke-width: 0.1vw; }

This solution works for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. It does not work for IE (it ignores the embedded style), but I guess it is a question for a different community.

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