I often need to take a bitmap (.png) image, and draw some lines or text on top of it, and possibly export a new, thusly "annotated" image.

I know I can basically do all this in inkscape - but inkscape is a complex program, and it needs almost a minute to start up properly on my PCs.

So I was thinking - is there something like a "mini" vector editor for Linux, which would start up fast, and allow me to:

  • Right-click, open an image in this editor program
  • The program scales the active "document"/"window size" to the size of the image
  • I can zoom in/zoom out (and possibly crop) the image
  • I can add at least lines, boxes and text in different colors?

A bonus for me would be to have the overlay graphics saved as SVG format, say with the same filename as the image - as in, "image.png.svg" being saved in the same directory where the original "image.png" is located (thus allowing opening and editing these "annotations" further, either in this editor, or possibly in inkscape). And another bonus would be the export of the annotated image to a bitmap.

Anyone know about anything like this?

EDIT (May 20, '12): Adding a link to related (but slightly different) post: Command line SVG and image file viewer in Linux? - Super User

closed as off-topic by Scott, fixer1234, Journeyman Geek Jan 7 at 6:14

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  • 1
    Have you tried OpenOffice (or LibreOffice now) Draw? It can do all except the right-click open. – ott-- Nov 1 '11 at 17:35
  • Thanks for that, @ott-- :: same problem as inkscape - its big, loads somewhat slow on my machine, plus it's not that easy to work with (I always have a hard time selecting exactly the graphic that I want in LO/OO Draw :) ) ... Cheers! – sdaau Nov 1 '11 at 18:05
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    Check this list too en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_vector_graphics_editors – ott-- Nov 1 '11 at 18:27
  • Nice - thanks for that, @ott-- - some of those editors listed there I see for the first time.. Cheers! – sdaau Nov 1 '11 at 19:14
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    @sdaau There may be ways to speed up InkScape's startup. The reason for it's slow start up is that it is scanning for new plugins, fonts, etc. – iglvzx Nov 22 '11 at 0:54

Take a look at shuttter. It has image editing capabilities.

The editing is not enabled by default. Take a look at this to see how to enable editing.

  • Many thanks for that, @Can'tTell - I knew shutter as a bitmap editing application; so I've just tried it with editing capabilities enabled. To my surprise, when you edit a bitmap .png and add lines, and then 'Export to SVG...', the lines are exported as vectors! Unfortunately, a) it still starts slow on my machine (though only the first time) and b) it can't reimport SVG with vectors (shutter rasterizes vectors before starting the edit). So I'll still keep this question open for a little while... Many thanks again - cheers! – sdaau May 12 '12 at 7:00
  1. Image Edit Lite is a great little program for quickly annotating jpeg images. It's windows based but you can run it on Linux PC via WINE.



    once you've installed WINE - there's a 'configure wine' option where you can get WINE to handle windows applications in particular ways. Under the Graphics tab there are some options regarding Windows Manager which you should UNcheck in the case of ImageEditLite.

  • Many thanks for that @kupitt - great to know, although I'd prefer a native open source solution... Cheers! – sdaau Feb 26 '12 at 18:23

TGIF vector editor can import png files and add vectors. Also, print pdf.

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