I have a large plot exported as vector graphics. The plot has a lot of overlapping points which are invisible.

Is there a high quality way to optimize ('compress') a vector graphic by removing all vector information where the vectors are invisible because they are covered by something else without Illustrator, using free/oss tools?

1 Answer 1


There is no guarantee that doing this actually compresses anything. It is often so that overlapping content actually is more compressed than not overlapping, So your size may actually increase, significantly in many cases.

For example following quick test image:

enter image description here

Image 1: Test of overlap removal on SVG image. With overlap the file is 1862 bytes while without overlap it is actually 3470 bytes.

So you see removing overlap is not a bullet proof way of actually reducing the size. As in the test case the image actually became 86% larger, not smaller. Altough the algorithm could be a bit smarter the gains would not be better in this case as the original, hand made graphic, is as optimal as it gets.

Also, the non overlapping vector data is prone to conflation errors on most digital devices. THis may be actually a significant problem for you. So it is in general really undesireable t do this.

But yes you can do this with Inkscape.

  • How can I do this via Inkscape?
    – robert
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:42
  • @robert i dont have inkscape in fornt of me right now, but thats bedise the point even if you did this with inkscape youd still not compress the graphic.
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 12:46

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