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What is an SVG file?

Introduction

Do you know that Sculpteo is also offering a laser cutting service? It is important for us to offer our customers different manufacturing techniques, adapted to all of their different projects. But where should you start to get your laser cuts? Just like you need a 3D model ready to get it 3D printed, you will have to create or buy a 2D file to get your laser cuts done. Do you know what graphic formats our laser cutting service supports? On this page, we will give you all the relevant information you need to know about one of the most common file types: SVG file. What is an SVG file? What are the advantages and how can you use it or convert it? Let’s discover all you need to know about this vector file.
what is an svg file

SVG file: What is this file format?

An SVG file is a file format, SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. This is an Extensible Markup Language (XML) based format. XML is a language defining rules to encode documents to make them readable for both humans and machines. This SVG format is a vector image format for two-dimensional graphics with support for animation and interactivity. This SVG file format was first developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (also known as W3C) in the late 1990s.

An SVG file describes the image, the file is actually describing lines using a text format. As this format describes images with its shapes, it is possible to rescale the file without ever losing quality. Indeed, this file can combine different shapes, text elements, and visuals. It adapts to just any possible sizes, unlike file formats such as JPG, PNG or GIF, which have fixed dimensions. Thanks to its XML schema, this format is particularly useful to create logos, for example. Everything is in the name, this is a Scalable Vector Graphics file!

Thanks to its great adaptability, this format is regularly used by illustrators or product designers. SVG is actually a common file format, which can easily be resized. This file format is quite convenient as it can be searched, indexed, scripted but also compressed. You can also see a file ending with “.SVGZ”, what is this extra letter? This file format is actually designating an SVG compressed with the GZIP compression. The file will be way smaller in size using this format. 

It is also possible to edit these files using CSS or Javascript to create animations.

How to use an SVG file?

SVG file format can be used for many different purposes as this file format is really common. But did you know that this format is actually one of the most common file formats for laser cutting? 

Indeed, on our online laser cutting service, if we also support other formats such as DXF, AI, EPS, or PDF, but we highly recommend our customers to use an SVG file format. Before uploading your vector file on our laser cutting service be sure to check that your design doesn’t contain any design error. Designing an SVG file is not difficult, but we advise you to check our 10 Pro Tips to design for Laser Cutting before sending your file. Indeed, having an SVG file doesn’t mean it will make a good laser cut. You have to think about the kerf and minimum distance between cutting lines.

We can also help you find professional designs for your laser cutting projects. One of the benefits of SVG graphics is that it is quite easy to edit, which is great when you start a project.

Using laser cutting can be a great advantage for your business, this manufacturing technique can help you to get accurate and innovative parts. Laser cutting is also fast, it will speed up your manufacturing process and bring the costs down. Check out our laser cutting materials catalog to see how we could help you! 

How to open an SVG file?

Now you are maybe wondering how to open this particular file format. It is possible to open SVG files both on Mac and Windows. But do you need an SVG viewer? Just like XML files, your SVG images can be opened with any text editor or any drawing software. If you just want to open your file, and not edit it, you can also use a web browser, without even downloading the file. On the internet today, all major web browsers from Chrome to Internet Explorer have SVG rendering supports.

If you want to create an SVG file, one of the most efficient methods is to use Adobe Illustrator. But there are several other options, such as other Adobe programs: Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Element, Adobe Animate and InDesign. But Adobe solutions are not the only options to open, edit or create your SVG file. If you are looking for a free option, then Inkscape, GIMP or even Picozu are supporting SVG files. Microsoft Visio, CorelDraw, Corel Paintshop Pro, CADSoftTools and ABViewer can also be used.


In order to help you create a 2D file for a laser cutting project, we made a great selection of software for laser cutting, from Solidworks to Solid Edge and AutoCAD, we give you the best references to get started with your project!

How to convert an SVG file?

Most software can directly export your file into SVG, but sometimes, it’s not the case. Then, you can use 2D software such as Illustrator or Inkscape, software allowing to convert from DXG to SVG really easily.

Some online converters are also accessible online to convert SVG files into JPG or PNG. But this won’t be necessary for you if you want to use laser cutting. Indeed, a laser cutter will read the vector file as paths to cut or engrave. The machine can not read a jpg or png.

Do you have your SVG file ready? Uploading an SVG file on our laser cutting service is easier than you think! You will have to choose your laser cutting material and get your automatic quote.


If you want to go further, you can give 3D printing a try by uploading your 3D file and get your part 3D printed. Are you interested in getting more info about file format to get your parts manufactured?  Check out our complete guide about the STL file format for 3D printing.

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