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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?

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

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    For Windows users, the default.svg file is in the Inkscape install directory: C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\templates\default.svg – CullenJ Dec 6 '17 at 20:07
  • Hmmm, almost worked for me. Had to place the default.svg into .config/inkscape/templates/ instead – Ole Aug 2 '18 at 13:18
  • Is it possible to set the checkerboard background as replacement to transparent background? – android developer Dec 25 '18 at 11:32

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