I need to edit some building plans received from a customer. Namely, removing a large number of extraneous visual elements so that they can be used in a web application.

Myself and colleagues have tried using various combinations of hardware and software to try and edit the SVGs but all of them result in the machine becoming impossibly slow to use. Some of the things we have tried:

  • Ubuntu, Inkscape, 16Gb RAM, Quad-core I5
  • Windows, Inkscape
  • Windows, Adobe Illustrator

We're tearing our hair out wondering what manner of machine was used to create these SVGs in the first place. Presumably some souped-up Macbook.

  • 1
    At that point would recommend a custom script. A SVG file is a plain text file in XML format. It is possible that the elements you want to remove/keep can be identified directly in the file (color/size/position/text content...). Even if this were not perfect the filtered file would be a lot easier to edit. And such a script would run easily on a plain laptop.
    – xenoid
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 12:13
  • 1
    A building plan in SVG? That makes no sense. Talk to your customer and ask them to provide the original files that they used. Probably some Auto CAD ones. They should have some layers, groups, etc. Do not ask a random question on a random forum (good one by the way), ask your client.
    – Rafael
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 13:31
  • Actually your machine is really quite slow compared to a high end CAD workstation. Hell my workstations graphics card has more memory than your entire machine (Quadro P6000, 24 GB). But even so dumping out a impossibly big svg out of your CAD application is not a feat it's kind of a result of the amount of data that you are expected to juggle on the machine. But even the CAD application would be unable to read the SVG as a SVG. For the CAD the native data is no problem since most of it is in the GFX card anyway.
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


Building plans are generally produced using CAD software, and the issue you are having might be that the CAD software isn't very good at outputting SVGs efficiently. So I think the issue here has little to do the machine used to create it, and its therefore more of a software issue. This obviously doesn't solve your problem.

It might be better to see if you can get the plans in their original CAD format and use the software that made it to edit it, and perhaps output it in a format suitable for the web. Clearly a 40mb SVG is not what you really want.

  • Yes, this. But even then, in reality CAD workstations are quite powerful compared to laptops since the workstation grade GFX cards are monsters that cost as much as or more than most high end laptops. Although they have surprisingly low bang for the buck ;)
    – joojaa
    Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 16:03

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