Is there a way to customize the default canvas size in Inkscape?

4 Answers 4


Since Inkscape 1.0 there's an easy way to do this:

  1. Create a new blank document (FileNew).
  2. Open the FileDocument Properties… dialog and set your canvas size (and any other settings you want to change the defaults for, like display units, guides, grids, background color, etc.) the way you want it to be.
  3. Now open the FileSave Template… dialog, enter whatever you want as the name of the template, make sure the "Set as default template" checkbox is checked and press Save.

Credit to Spencer Russell for pointing this out. Please go upvote their answer if you found this useful.

The older way, which should still work, is to start with a blank document, change the canvas size to whatever you want, and then save the document as templates/default.svg in your Inkscape config directory (~/.config/inkscape on Linux). Then restart Inkscape, and it should open with whatever document you just saved as the default template.

You can also create your own document templates (which you can access from the FileNew from Template dialog) by saving files with other names in that directory.

(Ps. If your interface language is set to something other than English, you may need to save the default template as default.xx.svg instead of default.svg, where xx stands for the two-letter ISO language code of your language. This should not be necessary in recent versions of Inkscape, however.)

  • 3
    In windows you can find the Inkscape config directory in %appdata% (type that in the Name field of the Save dialog and press Enter).
    – Alicia
    Commented May 9, 2015 at 12:07
  • 4
    The full path under Linux and OS X is ~/.config/inkscape/templates/default.svg, for those too lazy to combine two path fragments manually. ;) Commented Nov 19, 2015 at 21:54
  • I don't have inkscape in my ./config directory, should I add it?
    – Hilberto1
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 10:02
  • @Hilberto1: It should be there if you've used Inkscape before (or at least if you've ever edited your preferences in Inkscape), unless your Inkscape is configured (e.g. via environment variables) to use some other config directory. If it doesn't exist, creating it shouldn't do any harm, but the fact that Inkscape hasn't created it already might mean that your Inkscape installation is actually set up to look for its configuration files somewhere else. Commented May 26, 2021 at 11:22
  • @Hilberto1: However, it turns out that nowadays there's also a much easier way to do this that doesn't require finding the config directory. I've updated my answer accordingly. Commented May 26, 2021 at 11:59

A short answer for Windows users:

  • Open any document, you may want to start from the default document or another template using File | Templates.

  • Modify any Document Properties (Shift-Ctrl-D) you want on the document using tabs, This is where you find the document size, the size units, the grid (default) units, etc,

  • Select user interface options (like snap option buttons),

  • Add any default objects in the document if you need it,

  • Etc.

Save this document as %appdata%\inkscape\templates\default.svg. This folder is actually C:\Users\Me\AppData\Roaming\inkscape\templates in Windows 7, and is empty.

I'll always be surprised by a software made for the entire world which is configured to use imperial units by default, and which has a site explaining how to change the units by referring to Linux. Nearly the entire world uses the SI units and Windows... But that's free and open source software, so this small annoyance is largely balanced by the rest.

  • At the moment, the built-in defaults are metric and A4 paper. The whole thing ought to be a regional setting.
    – Ian
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 17:02
  • 1
    I'll always be surprised that the linux community wants people to learn about magic files and configurations instead of just including a simple program option.
    – A.R.
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 3:34
  • @A.R. True! In the Linux community there are kernel developers pure system engineers, a good thing, and UI ('distribution') developers who should think about it as a tool given to users for their own needs. But they think about it as a goal. Over the last 20 years, I tried 5 or 10 times to use the most advanced Linux distributions, learning by hundredths of hours, to see this is still a second-rate product for desktop users. With no surprise UI-less Linux is successful in datacenters, and Linux desktop is now right dead.
    – mins
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 5:54
  • @mins It's really too bad. Linux has a lot of great things to offer, except a useful interface. :)
    – A.R.
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 20:27
  • @A.R.and except security: While Windows is most denigrated for its supposed large number of vulnerabilities, actually Debian kernel is not better (and that's only the kernel).
    – mins
    Commented Jul 12, 2019 at 16:54

On top of the other reply, you can save much more changes to templates: snapping options, guides etc. This article explains that in details.

  • This is a link-only answer. Please include relevant details from the linked page here.
    – Cole Tobin
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 21:06

It's even easier than that. Go under File > Save Template…, pick any name you want for your new template in the pop-up window and check the "Set as default template" checkbox before clicking Save. That's it.

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