How to import vector EPS to Draw?

Dear fellow LibreOfficers,

How to import vector EPS to Draw?

I want to import a vector graphics image and edit it as a vector graphics image. Bitmap conversion is not an option for obvious reasons, and I can’t buy Illustrator.

I haven’t been lazy:

  • I have used Google and read the help files, but it appears to me this is an old and forgotten bug. (Feature? Proprietary limitation? Curse for wanting to use precise, scalable graphics?)
  • Currently only the placeholder with metadata (text) is imported. (I remember Windows version of PageMaker 4 had the same issue back in 1992.)
  • I know of the workaround of converting the EPS into a bitmap image and then importing it. But that is not the correct solution: bitmap <> vector image.
  • I have installed Ghostscript, too. Unfortunately I did not manage to convert vector EPS into any other kind of vector image, e.g. SVG. (eps2pdf renders only to a bitmap image, exactly like it did back in 1992.)
  • This question has been stated before, too. The only solution offered was the unusable bitmap conversion.
  • Bug 67464 has last update from 2017 and no solution.
  • Meta Bug 113333 offers no satisfaction either.

I am forced to work with Windows 10, but at least I am allowed to install nearly anything necessary. Any ideas? I can contribute by writing a bug report and keeping it alive by vehemently refusing any bitmap “solutions”.

Cheers & gl,

The obvious workaround is to import the .eps into Scribus (or possibly Inkscape) and export as SVG or PDF.

Maybe not all .eps can be opened any more. Not being supplied with a sample .eps, I tried using tiger.eps from 1990, supplied with Ghostscript but my copy gave illegal operation in Illustrator. I tried an .eps included with Inkscape, pwrdLogo.eps and that converted OK using Scribus. Cheers, Al

Thank you for comment, Earnest Al!

I agree with your work-around approach. I actually tested this approach after writing my message. I have used Inkscape before, so I installed it. BTW: I haven’t used Inkscape since late 2000’s, and I like how it has developed into more mature and feature-filled application.

I found out that the workaround works partially: it works well only relatively simple EPS and AI files, even when using the lowest possible import settings. More complex files take ages to open and they can get scramble.

Examples: This worked in my computer but this failed.

This said, it is a usable work-around during the lack of any better. :slight_smile:

Unfortunately, even when the work-around was successful, there’s still a small caveat. Breaking the SVG in Draw (when attempting to edit the image) can mess up the object order (how they are layered on top of each other) producing unusable image. Work-around for this is to do editing in Inkscape before the SVG export.

Tip: Copy the part of image you want to use in Inkscape and paste it into a new file. Resize it relatively close to end target (just easier to use). Do all the edits you want. Resize paper to fit the artwork (there’s a button for it). Then export into the SVG file. This removes the invisible paper sized frame, that would otherwise appear when importing the SVG into Draw.

I will continue experimenting with other vector programs to see which one works the best. Ultimately it would of course be nicer to have the import vector EPS function working in all LibreOffice programs. :smiley:

About the EPS file format: it is indeed old, but by no means outdated. It is (as the name insinuates) an encapsulated format, ready to print as is, containing colour and font management and even printer information (depending on the settings, of course). They are still very much in use in printing technology, when one wants to be able to edit the file.

Historical reason is that Adobe used to be nearly the industry standard in the 1980’s. It was not practical to use working files in the final output, so EPS format solved the issue. EPS files not only improved image revisioning and management, but also image transfer. Now PDF has been taking over this use.

I admit I’m a bit graphics and DTP geek. I never became a full-time professional, but I’ve done graphics, photographing, photo editing and desktop publishing as a hobby since I got my first PC in 1990. I am enthusiastic about open source alternatives becoming more professional over the decades. :slight_smile:

Internally look at the ieps.cxx import filter, you’ll see we can use the external pstoedit helper program to convert from EPS to EMF. It requires both pstoedit [1] and ghostsript [2] helper programs be installed. Also the “freeware” pstoedit is crippled and for reasonable EMF results requires the paid EMF plugin activation license. That is the only internal LibreOffice support for EPS as vector.

Externally conversion to EMF, or SVG and then placement into document is viable. Personally I don’t do this with Inkscape or Scribus.

Instead, the LaTex centric ‘dvisvgm’ [3], does an excellent conversion to SVG, but requires a LaTex environment, e.g. MikTeX

While the two step Ghostscript ‘ps2pdf’ for EPS → PDF and Poppler [4] ‘pdftocairo’ PDF → SVG is rather functional.

As SVG is a “natively” supported vector format (well not really but LibreOffice is obliged to implement correctly) it is the better choice to work against, and as target for EPS conversion to vector. If highres bitmap is acceptable, the Ghostscript


[1] pstoedit

[2] ghostscript

[3] dvisvgm

[4] poppler

Thank you for the detailed information, vsfoote!

I have Ghostscript already installed, and I will install pstoedit, dvisvgm and poppler. I am curious to see how they work out.

BTW: When I was studying Computer Science at the university, we used TEX/LATEX for student association meeting notes. And in our band we created song text printouts with chords from guitar tabs. Oh, the memories of text based layout design.:slight_smile:

@geekuma if you think the question has been answered then click the tick next to the answer. Cheers, Al