7+ Best and Free Vector Graphics Software For 2023

Vector graphics are graphics composed of points, lines, curves, and shapes that are defined mathematically, rather than as a bitmap of pixels. This allows vector images to be scaled to any size without loss of quality. Vector graphics are ideal for graphics that need to be resized often such as logos, illustrations, diagrams, and typography. They provide crisper and cleaner visuals at both small and large sizes compared to raster graphics. Free and Open-Source Vector Graphics Software provide an affordable option for creating stunning vector designs and illustrations without the high cost of paid software.

While premium tools like Adobe Illustrator have traditionally dominated the vector graphics space, there are many capable free and open-source alternatives available today. For designers, artists and anyone needing to create or edit vector graphics without the high costs, these open-source vector editors are excellent options to consider.

In this post, we cover the top 7 free vector graphics editors and their key capabilities as robust Illustrator alternatives for all your vector graphic needs.

List of Best 7 Free and Open-Source Vector Graphics Software

  1. Inkscape
  2. LibreOffice Draw
  3. Krita
  4. sK1
  5. Vectr
  6. Xara Designer Pro
  7. Gravit Designer

1. Inkscape

Inkscape is widely considered the most full-featured free and open-source vector graphics software available. It is an excellent alternative to Illustrator with powerful vector tools comparable to premium paid software. Inkscape can be used to create a wide variety of vector artwork including illustrations, diagrams, charts, logos, and complex paintings.

As a free open-source software, Inkscape benefits from constant community contributions adding new features and capabilities. Inkscape provides a rich toolset on par with Illustrator in many respects including object creation, fill and stroke settings, text support, clipping and masking, transformations, grouping, layers and much more. Advanced capabilities like gradients, patterns, path operations, node editing, and shape conversions allow complex artwork to be created.

Key Features of Inkscape are

  • Vector Drawing Tools: Pencil, pen, calligraphy brush, shapes, spirals, grids and more
  • Path operations: Union, difference, intersection, exclusion, division, cutting, Offsets, Outset and Inset
  • SVG Support: Full native support for the W3C SVG standard.
  • Object manipulation: Transform, align, distribute, group, clone, combine, break apart.
  • Fill and Stroke: Solid colors, gradients, patterns, customizable dashes and arrows.
  • Text: Multi-line text blocks with flow and shaping; Typography controls.
  • Clipping and Masking: Add clipping paths or masking to vector objects.
  • Alpha Transparency and Blur Effects.
  • Layers: Group and adjust stacking order of objects.
  • Import/Export: PDF, EPS, PS, PNG export; JPEG, BMP, SVG etc. import.
  • Extensions: Add new features, effects, file support via extensions.

In summary, Inkscape provides a complete vector toolset with an intuitive interface, rich features and excellent SVG support. For vector graphics work on Linux or Windows without the costs of Illustrator, Inkscape is an unparalleled choice.

2. LibreOffice Draw

LibreOffice Draw is a free, open-source vector graphics editor that comes bundled as part of the LibreOffice suite of productivity apps. While not as powerful as Inkscape, Draw provides a decent range of vector graphics capabilities for basic to intermediate graphic design work. It can be a handy tool for creating simple vector drawings, diagrams, charts, graphical text, and illustrations.

Draw is cross-platform and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The vector graphics capabilities are most comparable to Microsoft Publisher rather than Illustrator. While it lacks some advanced functionality, LibreOffice Draw provides a solid set of everyday vector tools in a free package.

Key Features of LibreOffice Draw are

  • Vector Shapes: Lines, arrows, rectangles, ellipses, curves, polygons etc. 
  • Fill and Line Styles: Color, gradient, hatching and bitmap fills; adjustable line properties.
  • Textboxes: Formatting, alignment, auto-flow between frames.
  • Charts and Diagrams: Flowcharts, organization charts, network diagrams etc.
  • 3D Objects: Spheres, cubes, rings, cylindars etc. 
  • Connectors: Lines, arrows between objects.
  • Grids and Guides: Rulers, snap lines, snap points.
  • Image Import: Embed or link raster graphics.
  • PDF Export: Save drawings as PDF.

Draw provides a free alternative to Microsoft Publisher on Linux systems. For basic brochures, simple diagrams and charts, geometric shapes, and graphical text, it can deliver adequate capabilities without needing a paid vector editor. The integration with the full LibreOffice suite is also a nice added value.

3. Krita

Krita is an open-source digital painting application designed primarily for raster graphics. However, Krita has started adding more vector support and capabilities in recent versions. It now serves as a useful entry-level vector graphics editor in addition to its main raster graphics focus.

Krita allows vector shapes to be created along with text, gradients, patterns, and other raster effects. The vector tools are geared more towards creating illustrative graphics rather than technical diagrams. For simple vector illustrations and artwork, Krita provides a nice set of free tools.

Key Features of Krita are

  • Vector Shapes: Lines, curves, geometric shapes, polygons, text etc.
  • Bezier Curves: Smooth adjustable paths.
  • Shape Operations: Union, difference, intersection, division.
  • Path Tools: Pencil, eraser, scissors, knife, gradients.
  • Text: Artistic text shaping and text along path.
  • Layers and Masks: Isolate and adjust vector objects.
  • Brush Engines: Customize pattern, texture, scattering of fills.
  • Wrap-Around Mode: Apply raster effects to vectors.
  • Selection Tools: Color select, layer select.

While more limited than pure vector editors, Krita offers some handy free vector capabilities alongside its main raster graphics features. For designing illustrations involving both raster and vector elements, Krita provides a combined open-source toolset.

4. sK1

sK1 is an open-source vector graphics program focused primarily on PostScript and PDF-based technical drawings and illustrations. It has robust tools optimized for print output, multi-page documents, precision layouts and press-ready output. 

The sK1 project forked from Skencil in 2005 and has continued active development since then. It retains Skencil’s PostScript heritage while modernizing the codebase and interface. While not as polished looking as Inkscape, sK1 provides sophisticated vector graphics tools for high precision work.

Key Features of sK1 are

  • PostScript Support: Export to PostScript (PS) and Encapsulated PostScript (EPS).
  • PDF Support: Export drawings to PDF with custom presets.
  • Precision Drawing Tools: Line segments, curves, rectangles, ellipses.
  • Path Editing: Node editing, path operations, corrections, simplification.
  • Object Styling: Stroke, fill, dashed lines, arrows, markers.
  • Text Boxes: Multi-column text frames with typography controls. 
  • Cloning: Symbols, clones, repetitions.
  • Layers: Group objects, adjust stacking order.
  • Measurements: Rulers, grid, snapping, guides.
  • Import/export: PDF, PS, EPS, SVG, PNG, JPEG and more.

For Linux users needing an open-source alternative to Adobe Illustrator focused on print and technical vector drawings, sK1 is an excellent option combining precision tools, PDF/PS support and an interface optimized for efficient workflows.

5. Vectr

Vectr is a free, web-based vector graphics editor that runs fully in the browser. As an online vector tool, Vectr allows creating vector designs that can be accessed and edited from anywhere without needing to install software. Vectr provides solid vector illustration and layout capabilities right inside the browser.

While the web-based interface limits some advanced functionality, Vectr contains a good selection of basic vector tools for simple to intermediate graphic work. It can be handy for mocking up quick vector concepts or creating digital illustrations, logos, and simple diagrams online.

Key Features of Vectr are

  • Vector Shapes: Lines, curves, geometric shapes.
  • Path Editing: Add, delete nodes; segment paths.
  • Object Styling: Strokes, fills, gradients.
  • Typography: Text boxes; font family, weight, alignment.
  • Page Management: Multiple pages, layers.
  • Snap to Grid: Layout alignment helpers.
  • Boolean Operations: Union, difference, intersection etc.
  • Grouping: Combine objects and edit together.
  • Collaborate in Real-Time: Simultaneous multi-user editing.
  • Import/Export: PNG, JPG, SVG.

For basic vector work directly in the browser, Vectr is a handy free solution. The real-time collaboration makes it easy to work on vector designs together with distributed teams.

6. Xara Designer Pro

Xara Designer Pro is a free limited version of the premium Xara Designer vector graphics software. It provides robust vector tools for illustration, layout, and graphic design work. The free Designer Pro edition has some export and format limitations compared to the paid version but maintains full vector editing capabilities.

Designer Pro works on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. It offers one of the most capable free vector graphics applications available with a smooth, anti-aliased rendering engine and UI inspired by traditional drawing tools. For professional vector work at no cost, Designer Pro is a valuable option.  

Key Features of Xara Designer Pro are

  • Vector Drawing Tools: Pen, Bezier, brush, spray, shapes.
  • Image Tracing: Convert.
  • Bitmap Editing: Image filters, adjustments, touch-up.
  • Text Handling: Artistic text, typography, text on path.
  • Layers & Object Management: Arrange objects, grouping.
  • Live Cloning: Make edits to original that update clones.
  • Perspective Handling: Set vanishing points and angle perspective.
  • Export Options: PDF, SVG, HTML5, but not AI/EPS/CDR.
  • Extensive File Format Support: Open and import 50+ file types.

The free edition of Designer Pro is geared more towards creating original vector artwork rather than extensive multi-page technical documents. But it provides a very full set of illustration tools rivaling paid alternatives. For detailed vector drawing and design capabilities at no cost, Designer Pro is hard to beat.

7. Gravit Designer

Gravit Designer is a full-featured free vector design software that runs in the browser. Like Vectr, Gravit provides vector design capabilities directly in a web-based interface accessible from any device and location. It offers an expansive set of vector tools for detailed illustration and layout work right in the browser.

Gravit allows advanced vector functionality like gradient meshes, blend modes, path operations, typography controls, smart alignment guides and more. Collaborators can simultaneously work on designs together in real-time like Google Docs. For comprehensive vector graphics fully online, Gravit Designer is a top choice.

Key Features of Gravit Designer are

  • Vector Drawing Tools: Pen, shapes, Bezier curves, lines.
  • Path Editing: Add/delete nodes, segments, smoothing.
  • Boolean Operations: Union, subtract, intersect, difference.
  • Typography: Text on path, formatting, letter/line spacing.
  • Smart Guides: Dynamic alignment aids.
  • Image Tracing: Vectorize bitmaps.
  • Collaborative Editing: Live multi-user collaboration.
  • Pro-level Features: Gradient meshes, blend modes, distortions.
  • Export Options: SVG, PDF, EPS, PNG, JPEG.

Gravit provides professional-quality vector design tools accessible fully through the browser interface. The collaborative features help facilitate teamwork and remote design processes. For advanced vector graphics capabilities free online, Gravit Designer is hard to beat.

Other Notable Options

There are a few other free vector graphics editors worth mentioning that didn’t make this top 7 list:

  • DrawPlus Starter Edition (Windows/Mac): Capable Illustrator alternative with free starter version.
  • NanoCAD (Windows/Mac/Linux): Full-featured CAD program popular in Russia; has free option.
  • OpenOffice Draw (Windows/Mac/Linux): Basic vector graphics built into OpenOffice suite.
  • Piper (Windows/Mac/Linux): New vector editor focused on minimalist design.

While they may not offer the same polished experience as premium tools, these open-source vector graphics editors provide plenty of capability. For artists, designers and anyone looking to avoid the premium costs of paid vector tools, these free options allow creating quality vector graphics at no cost.

Conclusive Thoughts on Best Free and Open-Source Vector Graphics Software

From full-featured Illustrator replacements like Inkscape and sK1 to lightweight online vector editors like Vectr and Gravit Designer, there are capable free vector graphic design software options available across platforms.

While premium vector tools still lead in some regards, open-source innovation continues advancing free vector graphics technology towards professional-grade solutions. For any budget and skill level, there is likely a solid free vector graphics editor to explore as an accessible alternative to paid tools.

By taking advantage of these free and open-source vector graphic solutions, anyone can access powerful illustration, drawing and design capabilities without the premium price tag.

Amelie Lamb

Amelie Lamb

Amelie Lamb is an experienced technical content writer at SoftwareStack.co who specializes in distilling complex software topics into clear, concise explanations. She has a talent for taking dense technical jargon and making it engaging and understandable for readers through her informative, lively writing style.

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