I'm trying to export a simple street map with markers from ArcGIS 10.2 to PDF for editing in Inkspace (Note: I've tried this with exports to .ai and SVG as well with results similar to those recounted below). I'm somewhat new to Inkscape having mostly used AI for polishing, but would like to give this FOSS option a try.

The odd thing I'm coming across is that while the PDF loads well in Inkscape, the layers tab either shows no layers or one for the whole map. Either way there is no listing of the different items (streets, labels, markers, etc.) in the map, nor groups. I can select items in the map and manipulate them individually, but as far as I can tell, that's about it. It seems a lot of people are using Inkscape so I'm guessing I'm just overlooking something here, but how do I access the individual elements in the map from that layers tab?


1 Answer 1


I have also never been able to view layers in Inkscape with either .PDF or .SVG exports from ArcMap.

A fairly close work-around for this problem is to export the .MXD as an .SVG, open the .SVG in Inkscape and then open the Inkscape XML editor (Shift + CTRL + X).

Opening a .PDF with Inkscape appears to lose the layer names in the XML editor, so I tend to avoid this.

You are able select and manipulate the elements using the XML editor, but it is not nearly as intuitive and easy as using the Layers window. I have not been able to 'lock' the layers with this, but you can reorder them in the XML editor and turn them on and off with Object Properties (Shift + CTRL + O)

The layer names in the XML window line up with the names in the layers found in an exported .PDF document, and you are able to select each individual feature by continuously expanding the elements in the XML editor. By using the XML editor you can change the fill, stroke and other attributes of the element.

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