Since Inkscape 0.92 it's possible to have a checkerboard background in the document settings.

I noticed that Inkscape SVGs that have the checkerboard enabled have the inkscape:pagecheckerboard="true" attribute. I tried adding that to the <group id="template"> in ~/.config/inkscape/preferences.xml, but that doesn't work, and the file is overwritten when I open Inkscape.

How can I enable the checkerboard background as default for new documents?

3 Answers 3


I figured it out: You just save an svg file with the checkerboard enabled and copy it to ~/.config/inkscape/default.svg.

  • 1
    For Windows users, the default.svg file is in the Inkscape install directory: C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\templates\default.svg Dec 6, 2017 at 20:07
  • Hmmm, almost worked for me. Had to place the default.svg into .config/inkscape/templates/ instead
    – Ole
    Aug 2, 2018 at 13:18
  • Is it possible to set the checkerboard background as replacement to transparent background? Dec 25, 2018 at 11:32
  • 2
    This doesn't work for files that are saved and re-opened as e.g. Optimized SVG. i.e. this preference doesn't affect the default for SVG files opened from external sources, which will always have a white background, even if they solely consist of white shapes :(
    – EoghanM
    Jan 29, 2019 at 11:29

You can also do it in UI

  1. Set up any changes to the default empty document.
  2. in this case go to File > Document Properties and set checkboard
  3. File > Save Template
  4. and in pop up check the option: "set as a default template"

In file:






You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .