Blog Archive

Thursday, September 15, 2016

5 Common SVG Problems Solved!

If you have ever purchased an SVG file from an online vendor, you may have been frustrated when you went to upload it to Design Space and the file didn't import as expected. There are a few problems that I have noticed are a fairly common theme with many of these files. In this article, I will walk you through how to fix some of the most common ones using Inkscape.


1. When you import your artwork into Design Space, objects you thought were one piece come in as a bunch of separate lines.

The problem? The lines that make up the object are (most likely) grouped together and are not really a single "path"

In Inkscape, you can draw shapes with a varity of methods. Unless your lines or objects are actually "combined" into a single "path" they will come into Design Space as separate objects.

The Fix? "Combine" the lines or objects into one path

Download this Multiple Lines SVG file to follow along, or try this technique with your own file.

1. Open the file in Inkscape

2. Select the object.

You will notice that the bottom of your screen says that the object is made up of a group of 3 objects.

3. Right click your image and select "Ungroup"

Now you will be able to select each line segment independently

4. Select all of the line segments and "Combine" them (Ctrl+K)

With all of the line segments selected, go to the "Path" tab and selct "Combine" or hit Ctrl+K. Once you have done this, all three line segemts will be a single "path" object. However, you will notice that if you try to apply a "Fill" to this object, it will not fill in correctly. That brings me to the next common problem -

2. Your shape wont "Fill" with color properly

You may notice that when you apply a fill to some shapes, you get "missing" spots (like the triangle in the picture below) or the fill may even color outside the lines!

The Problem? The path looks continuous, but it is actually still made of up separate pieces of lines that have overlapping nodes.

The Fix? Join the nodes together manually or use the shape as a cookie cutter.

Which method you choose to use will depend on the complexity of your shape.

To join the nodes together manually, you will need to edit the nodes in the path.

1. Hit F2 to open the "Edit Path by Nodes" tool

2. Select the nodes where the missing spot touches the edge of the path & hit the "join selected node" button.

If you use this method, you will need to join each set of nodes one at a time. If the shape has a lot of nodes or is more complex you can try the "cookie cutter method"

Cookie Cutter Method

1. Draw a rectangle slightly larger than the shape that is not filling in correctly

2. Send the rectangle behind the shape you are trying to correct by selecting it and then hitting the "Lower selection to bottom" Button.

3. Select the rectangle and the shape you want to correct

4. Open the path tab and select "Division"

This behaves similar to the "slice" feature in Design Space and will create two separate objects. You can delete the outer rectangular part and will be left with the shape you were trying to correct. You will notice that this new object might have a lot more nodes that the original object. If this is a problem, you may want to try the first method.

3. You have multiple shapes and want them to behave as a single object without having to "Weld" them in DS

The Fix? Combine your objects.

You will run into this most often with text objects, If the letters have not been joined together, each letter will import  into Design Space as a separate object. This can be fixed in a few different ways. You can do either of the following
  • select the objects you want to join together, open the path tab, select Union
This will work for most objects, but if you have lines that are not closed shapes you will want to use the next option
  • select the objects you want to join together, open the path tab, select Combine

4. You have shapes that should actually be holes in another shape, but they are all importing into Design Space as separate shapes.

The Problem?

The objects in your file are separate paths.

The Fix? "Exclude" the holes.

1. Select all of the "hole" objects and make sure that they are raised to the top of your Inkscape Drawing.

2. From the Path tab, select Union or Combine.

3. Select the new path that contains all of the "holes" and also select the path you want to cut holes in.

4. From the Path tab, select "Exclusion"

This will cut all of the holes out and you will be left with one object.

5. Your artwork is the right size in Inkscape, but when you import it into Design Space, it's HUGE.

I'm going to be honest here -this one is a little bit of a mystery & I'm not exactly sure what causes this to happen. However, there are few things that I have personally tried that tend to fix the problem. 
Often, if you have some of the issues I have noted above and you resolve all of these in your file, the size issue will resolve on it's own. If you have fixed all of the other issues and you are still having problems with the size of your image, try the following:

1. Open a new Inkscape drawing

2. Open the file you are having issues with (I'll call this the "original" file)

3. Make sure everything in the original Inkscape file is ungrouped 

4. In the original file, select All (Ctrl +A)

5. Copy everything (either hit Ctrl+C or right click and select "Copy")

6. Paste everything into the new file and save the new file.

7. Try importing the new file into Design Space

If this last tip doesn't fix the the size issue and you've resolved all of the other issues I have addressed in this tutorial, please send me a message on my facebook page. I would love to take a look at your file and see if I can figure what the larger problem may be.

Thanks for taking the time to read my article & Happy Crafting!

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