I'm trying to export a reasonably complex illustration from Inkscape into a Libreoffice Writer document. I'd like to avoid rasterizing the illustration as much as possible.

So far I've tried the following:

  • Inkscape SVG, Plain SVG, SVG with everything converted to paths: bitmaps images included in my illustration are rendered as black boxes in the writer document.
  • EPS: fonts look ugly
  • ODG: not recognized in Writer (?!)

For now I've exported my SVG drawing to PNG, and it works fine, but it's not very satisfying. So what's the correct way to do this? Any input welcome!

  • Good question!!! Doing it for Microsoft office would be a good thing too. Oct 15 '11 at 20:38
  • I'll add a bounty in a few days to add more exposure to the question.
    – Peltier
    Oct 16 '11 at 9:00
  • PDF Import seems to have been an option in LibreOffice 3.3, but is inexplicably not available in 3.4 (licensing issues with Oracle?). At any rate, that won't help too much. What I usually do in this case is to export the vector graphics at high resolution and DPI (180+), and the rasterized downscaled image will look okay most of the time in the document. Oct 18 '11 at 9:37
  • The answer may have changed as for LibreOffice 6.0.6
    – Wolf
    Oct 30 '18 at 12:33

A while later

(as tested today), inserting Inkscape (0.92.3) SVGs proved possible in LibreOffice 6.0.6. This may be only a partial support but seemed sufficient for making a user's manual. I successfully did the following:


  • Start new SVG image
  • drag 'n' drop a PNG-Screenshot on it (open in Inkscape)
  • place and a semi-transparent rectangular box with colored text on the screenshot
  • draw a horizontal line under the text
  • added an arrow starting in the middle of the line pointing on a control on scrrenshot


  • Start a new text document
  • added a page full of text
  • Insert > Image... (selected image from description above)
  • Saved the document
  • Exported as PDF


I doubt that successfully using Inkscape SVGs within LibreOffice alone will make you very happy. Probably it's only for an intermediate stage. Whether you are interested in producing PDF documents, or HTML documents or paper documents (printed from LibreOffice) can make a big difference. So for example, fonts will matter.

  • Just tried it with LibreOffice 6.0.6 -- Transparency works, blur still does not. For the last 10 years, every self-respecting browser can do this, even Libreoffice 3,2 (IIRC... whatever I used in 2011/12) could correctly embed SVGs, but Libreoffice still has not regained that capability. I really have no idea what it's trying to do (or what on earth the problem is) ... :(
    – Zak
    Nov 2 '18 at 16:07

Exporting from Inkscape using the png image format which Libreoffice fully supports, rather than saving in vectorial format which it does not support, is actually the only option.

See in Inkscape Wiki : Save as vs export.

However, the thread How to import SVG in OOo Writer says :

The svg import will be new feature in OOo 3.4, try OOo 3.4 beta from OOo download site.

This is about OpenOffice, of which Libreoffice is actually another branch.
You might consider changing because of this feature, until it finds its way into Libreoffice.

  • Did you read my question? That's what I ended up doing, but my question is precisely about how to avoid doing it.
    – Peltier
    Oct 18 '11 at 8:09
  • 1
    You can down-vote me all you want but you cannot change the facts, which are that Writer does not support vectorial formats. See the Inkscape FileTypes wiki for convertors to other formats, but these programs operate after you saveas in vectorial format (and there exist many other convertors).
    – harrymc
    Oct 18 '11 at 8:49
  • Or you can change to OpenOffice, as in my edit above.
    – harrymc
    Oct 18 '11 at 8:56
  • SVG import is already included in LibreOffice, it just doesn't work well at the moment apparently.
    – Peltier
    Oct 18 '11 at 10:32
  • The SVG code in LibreOffice stable is probably pre-beta. Your best bet is probably to try the beta versions of both LibreOffice and OpenOffice, and give feedbacks in both forums. Until the problems are resolved.
    – harrymc
    Oct 18 '11 at 12:14


If possible, convert your SVG to PDF (or eps) in Inkscape, then open that in GIMP and convert to a very high-resolution PNG without anti-alias (prints better), then embed that in your document. Because vector graphics support is a nightmare.

The long story:

Vector graphics support in Libreoffice is a very lively story ... at the time this question was asked, the only reliably supported format was eps. However, Libreoffice could not display it properly, only print to postscript printers (most network printers in professional environments) and convert to PDF!

The reason is that eps is already a postscript format, and the PDF conversion was based on "printing" to a Postscript file, then converting to PDF. Libreoffice simply passed the EPS images through, and in print they looked exactly as they should, although LO could only display a low-res preview.

A little later, around 2012, Libreoffice was, for a short time, able to correctly dspay and print SVG graphics! This relied on an installation of Inkscape on the same machine (or at least the cairo library that comes with it). The feature included all the fancy SVG features like transparency, gradients and blur(!). I used this to great effect in one single presentation in early 2013, and at that point I thought I had it all figured out.

At that point, someone in the LO community started thinking that "SVG embedding" is the same as "SVG import", and so, when inserting an SVG, Libreoffice started trying to interpret the file and convert it to a libreoffice drawing. That cannot work if the svg uses blur, for example, but in practice it also failed in lots of other scenarios, and this ruined several of my documents.

By now, Libreoffice has developed still a bit further, and at least simple svg images work nicely again. So as long as you have no gradients, transparency or blur, you should be fine with SVG. At the same time, something has happened to the EPS embedding, and they have started to look wrong in some cases.

Finally, there are more vector formats, like WMF and EMF. They can work nicely, but only if your document stays on the same computer. I've had several documents where fonts embedded in an EMF were completely mangled (or not), depending on what machine you were looking at the image.

... needless to say, I find this deeply frustrating, but it's still much better than Microsoft Office. To my knowledge, no vector graphics formats work on MS office at the moment (including Microsoft's own WMF and EMF), except the stuff you draw directly in the software, as it is for LO.

At this point, I've pretty much given up hope that SVG will ever be properly usable in anything but Inkscape itself and web browsers.

  • Why did you give up? Your long answer inspired me to test it again. Never lose hope ;)
    – Wolf
    Oct 30 '18 at 12:34
  • I gave up hope because SVG used to work in 2012 for a few month, after many long discussions on the open/libreOffice bugtracker, just long enough for me to make a beautiful presentation to defend my PhD thesis, and present it. It stopped working with the very next update, and was still not working in any LibreOffice version after that, 5 years later, and nobody on the bugtracker seemed to even understand how that could be an issue ... Will try again now...
    – Zak
    Nov 2 '18 at 15:24
  • These days, I'm using PDF figures exported from inkscape in LaTeX. You got my hopes up for a second, so I tried that with LibreOffice -- Any PDF reader can correctly display transparency and blur but in LO, the PDF is rastered, and I can't even specify a resolution. This does not make me happy.
    – Zak
    Nov 2 '18 at 16:22

What worked for me was in Inkscape to select the SVG - a black and white electric circuit - from my PDF and Export PNG Image. Then in LO Writer I used Insert Image. Inkscape version 0.92, Libre Office Version Mac High Sierra 10.13.6

  • 2
    As the question said, "I'd like to avoid rasterizing the illustration as much as possible"
    – RalfFriedl
    Apr 13 '19 at 12:04

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