I often use the 'trace bitmap' function in Inkscape to create a vector image from a raster image. However, on larger or more complicated bitmaps, the program completely freezes. GUIs being what they are, I know that a command-line based approach would suit the task. So what's a good way to do that?

  • 1
    You may have a better chance for an answer on superuser?
    – Hemi
    Jan 18, 2011 at 6:56
  • Not an answer, but I can't imagine wanting to do such a visual task in a CLI...
    – e100
    Jan 18, 2011 at 11:33
  • 1
    @e100 It's a matter of clicking a tab and choosing a brightness cutoff. I'm not talking about tracing it using a tablet.
    – ixtmixilix
    Jan 20, 2011 at 16:02
  • OK - I haven't used Inkscape to be honest, but in other apps tracing generally involves tweaking several factors interactively.
    – e100
    Jan 20, 2011 at 18:52

2 Answers 2


The software that powers Inkscape's bitmap tracing function is actually a non-GUI program called Potrace, so you're in luck:


Download here: http://potrace.sourceforge.net/#downloading


This one also supports centerline (for CAD) https://github.com/autotrace/autotrace

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.