Last night, I worked on an SVG file that Caitlin Kelleher had created with Inkscape (for the cover of the proceedings of VL/HCC 2011). I also used Inkscape, but it took a few tricks on my Mac to get it to work properly.

  • I wanted to use Helvetica Neue for all of the text, but it wasn’t included in Inkscape’s Fonts drop-down list. I had to copy the font from /System/Library/Fonts to /Users/my_username/Library/Fonts for Inkscape to load it. None of the other fonts in the system folder had problems loading.
  • I also could not use Helvetica. Whenever I chose it, Inkscape kept switching me to Sans. I never figured out what was wrong.
  • I tried to copy some objects from one Inkscape window to another, but the pasted objects were converted into a bitmap. This is because X11 synchronizes its CLIPBOARD and PRIMARY buffers with Mac OS X’s Pasteboard* as much as possible, and something got lost in translation. I turned off the synchronizing by going to X11 → Preferences… → Pasteboard tab and turned off Enable Syncing.
  • I wanted to import an EPS file which contained vector graphics, but Inkscape can’t import EPS files directly. Instead, I opened the file in Preview and then saved it as a PDF. Inkscape then imported the PDF perfectly.

Hopes this helps others using Inkscape on a Mac!

* The clipboard on Mac OS X is called a pasteboard? Bleh!