Including SVG figures in TeX documents (24 Jan 2005)

Doing this is way tougher than it should be. I gather that, although SVG may be included in PDF documents (for some versions of PDF), it cannot be included inline, but only by giving the SVG a whole page. I've no idea why though.

Note that I wont accept any path which introduces bitmaps. Thus exporting SVG as a high DPI bitmap and including that will not do. That's easy. My requirement is that it look pretty in Acroread 7. (Yes, I have Acroread 7 for Linux but it won't be public for a while yet.)

Why do I want to include SVG? Because good editors for SVG exist. My favourite is Inkscape and, although xfig will always have a place in my heart, it doesn't really cut it anymore I'm afriad.

So, you'll need:

  • An SVG file - create this yourself or Google for one if you like
  • pdftex - included with TeTeX, standard on most Linux distributions
  • Apache FOP - an SVG to PDF converter (and thus you need a JRE)

FOP was the tough thing to find. Google was little help here. You may also have success with Scribus, it has good PDF output but its SVG import was too poor for me. Also, you may wish to try Adobe SVG Viewer on Windows or Mac OS X with a PDF printer driver.

To use FOP you'll need to download this wrapper XML file and edit it to set the name of your SVG file. Then export JAVA_HOME and run FOP:

./ -pdf output.pdf

Done? Now edit your TeX file and include the pdftex graphics package:


And include the PDF file:

\scalebox{0.82}[0.82]{\includegraphics[viewport=0 740 200 840]{filter-dia.pdf}}
\caption{The capability filter pattern}

The arguments to scalebox are the X and Y scale factors. The viewport argument is a clipping box for the source PDF file: the lower-left and upper-right corners in pts from the bottom-left of the page. Those values take a few trials to get right, but inkscape will tell you the general values.