Skip to main content

List of free Vector-drawing programs

If you want to look at alternatives for CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator, this list gives a brief overview of some possible applications to look at. They all handle drawing, layout of (usually) single pages and insertion of bitmap images.

Go to

  • I have used Inkscape twice, to create posters. Starting from a PDF and once starting from a PowerPoint template saved as a PNG file to use as background. Support of layers, snaps and grids is there and also insertion of images, clipping, Boolean operations and decent font support. While I still believe I am more flexible and productive in CoreDRAW (which I used quite a lot), it gets the job done. On Windows, OSX and Linux, no less. Native format is SVG, but it has decent support for other formats too.
  • I don't know Xare Xtreme, but if it used to be commercial, it might have some good productivity laying behind it.
  • I tried the 3.0.0 version of Draw once and it behaved really bad. Maybe it was the bad OSX port or maybe it was just released too soon, but alignment of text was not properly stored and I had lots of interface complaints. I hope, really hope, that the current version is better. It could not possibly be worse than the version I tried. Anyway, for a 3.x release it was unacceptable.
  • Skencil has a nice name, but have not had the chance to try it out.
  • sK1 is a "fork" from Skencil, meaning it derives from Skencil but has been growing on its own. They promise support for CorelDRAW files, which might come in handy to port my older drawings to e.g. SVG or PDF.
  • Karbon14 belongs to KOffice, so if you run KDE it's probably installed already. I think I launched it a few times, but not much more.
  • Don't know Xfig. Interface looks a bit dated, so it could need some getting used to.

Anyway, I still really like CorelDRAW and never got really productive in Illustrator, so if you need some vectorial graphics (e.g. presentation of a design project on a poster), be sure to al least try to see if any of these suits your working style. And let me know if you use any of these in architectural design!


Popular posts from this blog

Improve usage of BIM during early design phases

When I was collecting ideas for a book chapter on BIM (that seemed to never have emerged after that), I collected 10 ideas, which I believe still reflect good recommendations to improve the usage of BIM during the early design phases. These ideas are related to BIM software, but you can apply them in any flavor, as long as you can model with Building Elements, Spaces and have control over representation. Introduction This article gives an overview of several recommendations and tips, to better apply BIM applications and BIM methodologies, in the context of the early design phases. Many of these tips are applicable in any BIM application and they are based on experience gathered from teaching, researching and using BIM software. Sometimes they could help software developers to improve the workflow of their particular BIM implementation. Tip 1 : Gradually increase the amount of information In the early design phases, the architect makes assumptions and lays out the main design in

Getting BIM data into Unity (Part 9 - using IfcConvert)

This is part 9 of a series of posts about getting BIM data into Unity. In this post, we’ll discuss the IfcConvert utility from the IfcOpenShell Open Source IFC Library to preprocess an IFC model for integration with Unity. This is (finally?) again a coding post, with some scripts which are shared to build upon. Conversion of IFC into Unity-friendly formats The strategy with this approach is that you preprocess the IFC-file into more manageable formats for Unity integration. Most Web-platforms do some sort of pre-processing anyway, so what you see in your browsers is almost never an IFC-file, but an optimised Mesh-based geometric representation. However, it wouldn’t be BIM-related if we’d limit ourselves to the geometry, so we will parse the model information as well, albeit using another, pre-processed file. IFC to Wavefront OBJ I used a test IFC-model and used the IfcConvert-utility converted it into OBJ en XML formats. The default way to use it is very simple:

Getting BIM data into Unity (Part 8 - Strategies to tackle IFC)

This is part 8 of a series of posts about getting BIM data into Unity. In this post, we’ll discuss IFC as a transfer format towards Unity. As with the previous post, this is not a coding post, although hints and examples are provided. Open BIM and IFC Everybody who ever met me or heard me present on a conference or BIM-lecture will not be surprised to hear that I’m a strong believer in the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), an open standard, with already two versions published as an ISO standard, being IFC2x2 and IFC4 (but surprisingly not IFC2x3 which is widely used). In the ideal world, this would be the format to use to transfer BIM data into another environment, such as Unity. So what are our options? Looking in the Unity Asset Store Assimp is a library which supports multiple formats, including IFC.   I did a few attempts, but alas without any success. It is possib