3 Ways To Install Inkscape On Mac

Inkscape Install On Macbook

This is an UPDATE to my original article.  I wanted to update my 0.92 version of Inkscape and after a little research was testing what method would work the easiest.  So here are the 3 ways to easily install Inkscape on Mac.  

I use a variety of graphics editors: Inkscape for vector graphics, GIMP and PixelmatorPro for images and raster graphics.  I also find the online Canva editor amazingly useful for Social media images, printed media and PDF documents.  Most folks I like to follow only use one editor but I treated my editors as a toolkit, using what I need for the job at hand.  That said, I needed to recently update Inkscape and decided to share how I installed the latest Inkscape version possible on Mojave.

I was going to actually update from Mojave to Catalina before installing and updating Inkscape until I went to Inkscape.org and saw their notice that the latest version was not ready for Catalina and the only version they recommended was the beta. Since I can’t afford to not have a fully functional stable version of Inkscape on Macbook I’m holding off on the upgrade to Catalina. Instead, I decided to proceed with just the Inkscape update.

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The first 2 methods are pretty fast the third not so much. However,  I had previously mentioned in this article the following info:

One method installs using  Homebrew like I’ve mentioned in my article about installing GIMP- “Install GIMP on Mac High Sierra“. Homebrew (Opensource) compiles and installs a lot useful apps including Inkscape from source code. I’ve never understood why Apple developers skipped including some of the apps and utilities that  Homebrew can install but I’m sure glad the developers  Homebrew went to the effort to provide those for Mac Users. I’ve found Homebrew to be easy to use and provides both uninstall and install options.  

So my plan was to upgrade Homebrew and then use it to upgrade Inkscape.   Prior to using Homebrew previously, I installed XQuartz as I originally recommended when using Homebrew as the install method.  Straight from XQuartz here’s their definition of XQuartz’s purpose.  

“The XQuartz project is an open-source effort to develop a version of the X.Org X Window System that runs on OS X. Together with supporting libraries and applications, it forms the X11.app that Apple shipped with OS X versions 10.5 through 10.7”

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I did a little investigative work on what my options are and which one would be easier because in the past installation on Mac involves using 1) a pre-compiled DMG file, 2) installation via MacPorts which requires XCode to be pre-installed or 3) installation via Homebrew requiring XQuartz to be pre-installed. 

PRIOR TO INSTALL Inkscape – I like to go into Security and Privacy to temporarily unlock the “allow apps to control your computer”. Then I do all the installs, add in Inkscape, Xcode, XQuartz into the list before locking again. Just use the + to add in the apps.

System Preference

METHOD 1 – Using the pre-compiled DMG to Install Inkscape On Mac

DMG package Install:

Simply go to XQuartz, download the dmg, double-click to begin the install and install that way.

Go to Inkscape, download the dmg, double-click to begin the install and you’re done.

While the pre-compiled DMG can be a one click install its not always the best. I do use a lot of DMG packages unless I see errors or run across forums where others have had issues. Than I’ll switch to the compile option.  In the case of Inkscape I felt the compile option might be the best to try first.

For those of you that prefer the compiled versions, here are the 2 options.

Method 2 – Using Homebrew – XQuartz to Install Inkscape On Mac

So I decided to first update Homebrew and determined the easiest and fastest way to upgrade Homebrew to avoid this current error >>>>”Error: Permission denied @ apply2files – /usr/local/share/ghostscript/9.23/Resource/CIDFSubst/ipaexg.ttf”  was to simply to uninstall and reinstall Homebrew.  This method was painless and fast.

ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/uninstall)”

ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)”

Next was the actual install with Homebrew if you don’t have XQuartz:

brew cask install xquartz brew cask install inkscape”

Install with Homebrew if you already have XQuartz: 

brew cask install inkscape

==> Downloading https://media.inkscape.org/dl/resources/file/Inkscape-0.92.2-1-x11-10.7-x86_64.dmg

######################################################################## 100.0%

==> Verifying SHA-256 checksum for Cask ‘inkscape’.


==> Installing Cask inkscape

==> Moving App ‘Inkscape.app’ to ‘/Applications/Inkscape.app’.

==> Linking Binary ‘inkscape’ to ‘/usr/local/bin/inkscape’.

馃嵑  inkscape was successfully installed!

After the install I tested Inkscape; everything seemed fine.聽 Checking back with Inkscape.org I noticed a comment made by the good folks at Inkscape.org which made me pause.

Inkscape 0.92.4 is currently available via MacPorts only, both as an X11 build and as a native Quartz build. The native Quartz build can potentially be less stable, and less well integrated into the desktop environment (e.g. for copy-pasting).
We suggest sticking with the X11 build for the time being until Inkscape has fully made the transition to go native on macOS. The instructions below are for the X11 build.” –courtesy of Inkscape.org

So I wanted to try the Macports install to see how that worked. Before doing that I went ahead and uninstalled Inkscape using Homebrew. Plus, installing with Macports apparently uses the X11 build versus the Quartz build. Now I’ve been running Inkscape fine other then with big images it can freeze a bit so I decided to try the Macport install and then use Inkscape for a while to see if that issue would go away. Either way, I can always go back to the Homebrew method.

Method 3 – Using MacPorts To Install Inkscape On Mac

To make this work the install sequence is important. I did not get this to work the first time because I tried to install Inkscape before installing xorg-server. I then had to uninstall and run a cleanup from the command line before doing it again.

  1. Install XCode from the Apple Store. You’ll download it and then click to install into Applications
Xocde Install From App Store

2. Install MacPorts from DMG according to your version of Mac (High Sierra or Mojave).  You can also compile from tar according to this article which I skipped because I was too lazy to config the environment variables and shell.  The DMG pkg install does that. Hit continue a couple of times and agree to terms. The extra benefit is once you have Macports and / or Homebrew you can easily install other packages that are useful on Mac which Apple didn’t include.

Macport Install
Install Macports

3. Now open a terminal window and install Inkscape BUT install xorg-server FIRST to avoid errors. This install and compile takes the longest to run. Once done don’t forget to go back into System Preferences, Security & Privacy to add in Inkscape and then relock the app.

sudo port install xorg-server

sudo port install Inkscape

At the end of the install, it will ask to set python. I ran both commands and then ran the suggested command to make Inkscape show up in the Applications area according to the instructions here.

   To make this the default Python or Python 3 (i.e., the version run by the ‘python’ or ‘python3’

    commands), run one or both of:

        sudo port select –set python python37

        sudo port select –set python3 python37

ln -s /opt/local/bin/inkscape /Applications/Inkscape

Method 3 is the build that Inkscape.org recommends for Mac but it is the most complicate so if you run into issues, either “sudo port -fp uninstall installed” to uninstall macports. Than uninstall Inkscape use: sudo port uninstall Inkscape

If you follow the order I show it does work and Inkscape will be cleanly installed.

However, I like the Homebrew method the best. You can always try Homebrew even though it isn’t the top-recommended method; for me, homebrew has always worked.

Once Inkscape has been installed, you may want to configure its preferences and document properties.  Basically, you configure the startup properties for Inkscape when you open it, but I’ll save that for a different article.

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Install Inkscape On Mac

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