I'm designing layout for an embedded device which (after taking in account not rectangular pixels - in 2023) has a resolution of 860×480px.

And this is fine, since I can set the page size at 860×480px. However, for reasons, I also need to use mm, and I determined the panel is about 145dpi

The issue is that Inkscape (at least 1.3) is fixed on the 96dpi SVG standard so if I switch the ruler units the results has no sense.

If I set the viewbox/scale I could configure the user unit as whatever I want but it seems to be no way to use user unit in the ruler or anywhere else.

Am I missing something or DPI different than 96 are simply not possible on Inkscape?

Clarification: I will need to export as bitmap (in 860x480) but the design has part that have significance in millimeters (for example text size) and other that are significant in pixel (like coordinates). In gimp you can simply switch ruler unit but inkscape is fixed (by design) with the CSS interpretation of pixel.


1 Answer 1


Vector images don't technically have a DPI/PPI setting. Although the SVG standard is 96ppi, it doesn't really mean anything. This default setting is basically a way of saying that vectors have no resolution. In any case, there is no way to change this default in Inkscape. The only time resolution really makes any sense in Inkscape is when exporting a raster image.

A workaround is to set up your document size in physical size units, i.e. the size of your device's screen. So, in your example that would be 860/145 = 5.93103448" x 480/145 = 3.31034483" - you can then switch the units to mm in Inkscape, which should give you a document size 150.647mm x 84.074mm.

Now, design your layout with the display units set to mm. The rulers will show the physical size of objects correctly.

If you want, you can also set the 1:1 zoom in Inkscape to display your physical device size on-screen. If you go to Edit > Preferences > Interface, place a ruler against the on-screen ruler and adjust the slider so that the on-screen ruler matches your physical ruler. Then when you go back into your document hit 1 to zoom to 1:1

When you need to export a raster image, you can change the DPI to 145, which will then make the output raster file 860px x 480px

For example

enter image description here

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