I had today some surprising experience in converting svg to pdf using inkscape.

I am preparing drawings for laser cutter. for laser cutting, the drawing should be passed as pdf and the line stroke should be 0.001m (1µm) or less. I can set this in inkscape easily. but when exporting, the pdf "looks" empty and cannot be printed. this is in fact not completely true. here are some observations I made : - file has normal weight (compared to the one with 1mm - see below) - nothing can be seen from acrobat reader - as I sent my file along using gmail, google apps pdf previewer displayed properly the drawing (with very fairly line)

I could fix the problem by exporting the drawing to pdf with 1mm line stroke and then use libre office pdf editing capabilities to get the line stroke back at 1µm and saving it back to pdf.

there might not be big differences in how the pdf is written by both apliccations. could there be some rounding effect (in inkscape)

at the end, this is not handy, and I am wondering why is that. any idea on this ? have I missed something in the pdf export ?

  • It is best to never go below .25pt (.088mm). It's rare for anything to be able to reproduce anything smaller. – Scott Mar 25 '14 at 22:38
  • If you are able to get 1µm lines to print and view on other pdf documents, the problem must be that the Inkscape pdf converter is imposing a resolution that isn't fine enough. However, resolution shouldn't affect vector drawings if you are (a) using Save as... to export the file as pdf, (not print to pdf or export as bitmap) and (b) you are not doing anything to convert vector lines to raster image. Nonetheless, you might want to change the "resolution for rasterization" setting in the "Save as pdf" dialog to see if that helps. – AmeliaBR Mar 26 '14 at 16:22
  • @scott: thanks for the comment. indeed, using µm is not meant to be "reproduced" IRL. in fact, the line stroke is used by the laser cutter machine to define if this line is to be laser cut or drilled. <= 1µm is used to code laser cut. – Pascal Mar 27 '14 at 13:46
  • If the same pdf works in Google Apps and not in Acrobat Reader, then it's probably a bug of Acrobat Reader. – ignis Apr 11 '14 at 10:14
  • I'm having the same issue. I have tried many stroke widths and the problem appears when you go below 0.018mm. One thing to note is that square paths are working as expected, but as soon as you have some curves, the path won't be exported. You can try this for yourself: draw a square and a circle on the same document, both with 0.001mm stroke width. Export to PDF. Open the PDF ==> you only get the square. Please help ! – Derek Oct 20 '15 at 12:15

I found out that this is a known bug of the Cairo library that Inkscape is using to convert to PDF:

It seems that a fix will be created real soon, so hopefully the next release of Cairo will include it.

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