Why Does Inkscape Take So Long to Load?

Inkscape is without a doubt one of the best open-source graphic design software available on the market. Unlike other free software like GIMP, Inkscape is able to work with professional-grade vector graphics to create top-of-the-line design projects. Still, even with all that, sometimes you may notice it is taking forever to boot up and load. Why is that? 

Inkscape can take a long time to load because too many nodes, gradients, filters, or displayed layers are being used at the same time and need to be loaded. Depending on your computer’s specs you may want to consider only editing on one layer at a time and using outline mode.  

If you’re having problems with Inkscape taking too long to load, you’ve come to the right place. In our guide below we will outline some of the potential reasons why Inkscape may be taking too long to boot up and load on your computer before diving head first into what you can do to improve its performance. So come along and let’s jump right into it!

Why Does Inkscape Run So Slow?

We touched on the most common reason why Inkscape runs so slow in the previous section. Still, there could potentially be more issues at play here. 

Below we’ve outlined some of the most common reasons why Inkscape either boots up too slow or runs too slow when you get it going: 

  1. Too many nodes, gradients, filters, or displayed layers: If you’re using hundreds of nodes, more than ten gradients, too many filters or you’re displaying all of your layers at once, you may be bogging down your system. 
  2. Raster images that are embedded: If you have a large raster file it can choke up your memory and cause the program to run slower than it should. 
  3. Zooming in too much: If you zoom in super close on a large image file you may find that it significantly slows down the program. 
  4. Unnecessary data within the file: Sometimes your file may include what are known  as “unused defs.” These are essentially unnecessary bits of data that are choking up your system. This is likely to be the case if you’ve used the program a lot in the past and only now started to have issues. 

Please note that, as often is the case, you may have multiple of these problems at the same time. Bear that in mind as we take a look at some solutions to these issues in the following section. 

How Can I Make Inkscape Faster? 

So now that we know some of the reasons why Inkscape might be loading and running so slowly, it’s time to figure out what we can do about it. 

Below we’ve listed some of the best strategies to increase the speed at which Inkscape runs:

  1. Use only the layer you are working on: One way to boost performance while using Inkscape is to divide your image into both layers and sublayers and only display the layer you are working on at a given time.
  2. Get rid of unnecessary nodes: Sometimes you don’t need all of the nodes you have. To bring it down to just what you need, go to preferences, behavior, and finally simplification threshold. Please note, if this oversimplifies your image you may want to try one of the other methods on this list instead. 
  3. Use “outline” display mode: To prevent Inkscape from displaying gradients, filters, and embedded raster images while you edit, you can go into the “outline” display mode. To do this, simply go to “view menu”, “display mode” and finally “outline.” 
  4. Only engage in extreme zooming when necessary: If you don’t have to zoom in extremely close, then don’t. Only do so when necessary so as to not slow down the program. As soon as you are done with what requires the extreme close up, zoom back out for better performance. 
  5. Clean up your document: You can clear up unnecessary data by going to “file menu” and selecting “vacuum defs.” This will get rid of all those unused defs we discussed in the previous section.
  6. Upgrade your computer: If all else fails and you really need Inkscape to load faster, you may want to consider upgrading your device. The newer Apple laptops are my favorite choice because they have a ton of processing power in a convenient laptop size. This is a great one but I personally use this one because it’s super-fast.

Remember that you should probably try and incorporate multiple of these solutions for the best results as the problem is rarely isolated to one issue. 

So, Why Does Inkscape Take So Long to Load?

Most of the time Inkscape takes a long time to load because of the number of nodes, gradients, filters, and displayed layers it needs to boot up. Additionally, unnecessary data–known as unused defs–can contribute.

You can get around this by only using layers when you need them, using outline mode so the program doesn’t have to load all the gradients/filters to work and regularly cleaning up your document by vacuuming defs.