I have been playing with using Inkscape to combine my CAD title block and the map project created in QGIS. I was curious to understand what a typical workflow might be to Inkscape or another post processing programs.

For instance, do you export each layer separately from QGIS or collectively? Let me know any input you may think is valuable.

5 Answers 5


My suggestion would be to export to PDF or SVG. Here is a PDF I found on a workflow from QGIS to Inkscape.

In the past, when I worked on MapInfo, I hated the map production outputs so much, I would export each layer separately as a PDF. I would then bring the layers in to Adobe Illustrator which is similar to Inkscape. I found that I had much more control on the map output that way.

Keep in mind that QGIS does not support layered PDF for exports.


Why would you need to use another tool if QGIS print composer or atlas plugin supports CAD-type templates and layouts? If you really need to do that, then use QGIS print composer and export to PNG and bring that into inkscape. I created some quite detailed print templates with north symbols, logos, text boxes etc. Just as detailed as a CAD layout by just using QGIS composer.

  • Unfortunately there are some labeling issues that are not easily rectified in QGIS, see this post gis.stackexchange.com/questions/48032/…. Therefore I need to do some editing of the layers in Inkscape. I use CAD tilelock so that the titleblocks for sheetsets are consistent between CAD and QGIS. CAD like templates - can you expand on this. You mean the title block can, scale, north arrow, etc form CAD can be inserted into QGIS like a block in CAD?
    – LandArch
    Jan 16, 2013 at 20:02

I agree with the suggestion that for the time being it's best to export from the print composer as a PDF and load this into Inkscape.

It's also worth bearing Scribus in mind. Get the map looking about right in the print composer and export it as a PDF. Then load the PDF into Adobe Reader and "print" it to a PostScript (.PS) file. This can be directly loaded into Scribus (don't create a new document, just import the file). In Scribus you can add text boxes, graphics boxes, symbols and labels, et cetera, and then export the finished product as a PDF.

I've been using this way of working for some time now and am pleased with the results I get. As a DTP package Scribus is very strong (and it's free, which is even better).


  • I nver thought of using Scribus for this. I have started looking into Scribus, since my days of Pagemaker. Thanks.
    – LandArch
    Jan 17, 2013 at 15:35

I'm currently trying to do the same for my thesis.
The guide Fetzer linked is a very good start.
I also found that objects in the SVGs exported from print composer are grouped by layer (there's one "mega-group" that contains the page layout and as many subgroups as qgis layers). EDIT: not entirely true, this works for layers with "single symbol". "categorized" layers are split in multiple groups.

So my strategy is like this:

  • open the SVG
  • add a new layer
  • double click the "mega-group"
  • select one of the of the subgroups
  • choose "level -> move selected object to upper level" or shift+pgdown
  • repeat for every subgroup/layer

If you plan to add some layers later you can save the print composer template, then reuse it to create a new svg/pdf to import on the inkscape svg (be sure to not touch anything other than "refresh view" on the item properties). The imported objects will be shifted; to make them align correctly follow this procedure

  • still trying to improve... PDF and SVG exporter don't export svg indicators well (they add borders and srew up colors/borders). You have to print to a pdf/eps virtual printer in order to maintain the style you set in qgis! Apr 22, 2013 at 8:16

I found when working with QGIS in combination with Inkscape the simplesvg plugin is quite essential. It keeps the layername in the SVG ids and the GIS grouping of the layers remains intact. http://plugins.qgis.org/plugins/simplesvg/

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