How to open, edit and convert SVG files

The open graphics standard SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is that the recommended format for vector graphics. The great advantage of vector graphics is that they describe shapes and color values mathematically. Therefore these files are very compact and can be scaled without any loss of quality. You can find out how to open, edit and convert SVG files here.


Raster graphics or bitmap graphics such as GIF, JPEG or PNG save the shapes and color values as a fixed pixel grid. Disadvantages here are that the files are usually quite large and, due to their fixed resolution, there is always a loss of quality when changing the size. In contrast, vector graphics have a clear advantage, because due to the mathematical description of shapes, paths, texts and filter effects, the files are very compact and can be scaled to any size without loss and also animated with JavaScript.

Open SVG file

If you really only want to look at the SVG file briefly to check that it is correct and then, for example, forward it to the relevant colleague or the printer, you do not need to install any additional software. Since the vector graphics format is widely used on the online lately , any current browser can easily display an SVG file.

To open the SVG file you just have to right click on the file and select a browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox) under “Open with”. If you don’t see a browser here, you have to click on “Select another app” in the “Open with” menu, here you should find one of your installed browsers under “More options”.

If you see the graphic in the browser too small or too large, that’s not a problem. With the key combination [Ctrl] + [+] OR [-] you can adjust the display. Due to the free scalability, there is actually no such thing as “too small” or “too big” in a vector graphic.

Convert SVG file

If you want to convert SVG to JPG or PNG, you don’t need to use any special software. The free graphics program GIMP is totally sufficient for this purpose.

TIP: If you do not have the rights to install additional programs on your work computer, you can simply use the web-based graphics editor Photopea. Photopea saves all files locally on your computer – in contrast to several offers on the web , where data protection isn’t guaranteed if your files first need to be uploaded to an external server for processing.

To convert the SVG graphic into a raster graphic with GIMP, proceed as follows:

Open the GIMP on your computer.

Click the “File” tab and select “Open …” from the drop-down menu. Or press the key combination [Ctrl] + [O].

Now GIMP asks you how you want to render the scalable vector graphics. Select the size you want under Width and Height.

Usually you select the resolution in pixels (px) here. You can select a different unit (cm, in, pt etc.) in the Dorpdown menu on the right.

If the image is displayed correctly in GIMP, go to the “File” tab again and click on “Export to …”.

Click below on the plus symbol next to “File type: By extension” and select your desired graphic format here. Alternatively, you’ll write the ending of the respective format directly next to the file name (above).

Since vector graphics very often work with transparencies, we recommend saving as a PNG image. JPEG does not support transparent areas, which is why they are filled in white.

Click the Export button.

Finally, GIMP offers you further settings. You can leave this at the preset standard. Simply click the Export button again to save your file in the desired format.

The other way around may be a bit more complicated. If you also want to know how to convert a raster graphic into a vector graphic, read the following article: Vectorizing images – this is how you convert bitmap graphics with Inkscape.

Edit SVG file

At the latest when it comes to editing an SVG file as such, you can no longer avoid a specialized vector graphic program. You may even have one already installed on your computer: For example, if you use LibreOffice, “Draw”, a simple editing software for vector graphics, is already available to you. Adobe also includes Illustrator for working with vector graphics and illustrations.

We recommend that you learn Inkscape to learn more about SVG file handling and vector graphics. The scope of the free program can be compared with commercial software such as Illustrator or CorelDraw. With any of these programs you can open, edit and then save SVG files.

Being able to create your own SVG files opens up a lot of creative possibilities for you. If you want to practice in Inkscape, we have a beginner’s tutorial on creating a logo with this program.