Inkscape, for reasons unclear to me, saves by default in bloated format.

Fortunately there is "plain SVG" option when saving.

How can I make it the default?


1 Answer 1


You can't as far as I know. You need to choose that option in the Save dialog.

Inkscape's own SVG format (its native file format) contains Inkscape specific XML as well as the SVG. The idea is to use this format to keep everything fully editable inside Inskcape. The XML contains important data for the functionality of the software. If you save as plain or optimised SVG, you may lose some of that editability, especially any Inkscape functionality which isn't part of the SVG format itself - such as live path effects, gradient meshes, the editability of fully functional Inkscape polygons rather than just paths, etc. It just wouldn't be a good idea to change the default native format to a plain SVG.

It's better to save in Inkscape's native format first, and use this as your original artwork file. If you need to make edits, then this is the file you should edit.

Then use a plain or optimised SVG for output only, i.e. when you need an SVG file for use on the web or some other purpose.

This way of working is common to nearly all graphics software too. Nearly everything has its own native format such as .ai (Illustrator), .psd (Photoshop), .indd (InDesign), .xcf (GIMP), .kra (krita), etc, etc. You save in these native file formats to retain full editability, and then use other formats for output.

  • In my case I do not want to use anything Inkscape specific - and I prefer to be aware of that as early as possible. Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 17:20

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