Color Management

Operation Systems Support

Сolor management is supported in Linux and Mac OS X only in version 0.46 and in Windows in version 0.47+.


*.icc color profile files need to be present in one of the following folders to be listed in the preferences dialog dropdown menus.



Windows (Inkscape 0.47+):

C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\My Documents\color\icc
C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\.color\icc

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\color\icc
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\.color\icc
<application directory>\share\color\icc

Calibrated SVG Color including CMYK

Inkscape supports color-managed color definitions that use a colorspace other than sRGB (for example Adobe RGB, or calibrated CMYK colors). In the SVG file, this is done using the optional "icc-color(...)" paint components as described in section 11.2 "Specifying paint" of the SVG 1.1 specification. A fallback sRGB value will be used for non color managed workflows. This allows using of calibrated color spaces, including using CMYK values that are preserved across applications.

The CMS color selector tab allows these colors to be edited.

Color management tab in Fill and Stroke dialog 

Display Adjustment

Color Management tab in Inkscape Preferences dialog provides options for enabling display adjustment:

  • Display Profile. Here you set an ICC file for you calibrated and profile display.
  • Retrieve profile from display. On X11-based systems (i.e. Unix and Mac OSX) use of ICC Profiles In X Specification (or XICC) can be enabled. Support for version 0.2 of this specification has been implemented. Enabling this option by choosing to retrieve profiles from the display will switch Inkscape to using profiles attached to screens at runtime. These allow display adjustment to be changed on the fly, and to be set/cleared per-display. This is especially helpful for a multi-display configuration.
When XICC support is enabled, windows will adjust to the proper profile as they are moved across monitors. Also, as the windows are moved onto monitors with no profile attached, the adjustment toggle will become disabled. When the windows are moved onto screens that do have profiles, the toggle will become enabled.
  • Display  Rendering Intent. You can choose between Perceptual, Relative Colorimetric, Saturation and Absolute Colorimetric.

    • Perceptual intent prevents from gamut clipping by preserving relationships between color.
    • Saturation intent preserves saturation and best suits for illustrations with indexed color palette like logos.
    • Relative colorimetric intent maps original white color to color of the paper and translates other colors accordingly.
    • Absolute colorimetric intent tries to produce closest match, but suits mostly spot color workflows.

It has to be noted that display adjustment is enabled and disabled for each Inkscape's window. This allows for simultaneous viewing of adjusted and unadjusted views of a single document by using multiple windows. There is a toggle at the bottom-right corner of the scrollbars that allows for turning on and off display adjustment. The toggle will have a disabled state to provide visible feedback when no profile is set.


This section in Color Management tab allows defining settings for an output device such as printer:

  • Simulate output on screen option enables softproofing, that is — the document will look exactly as it will be outputted to printer.
  • Mark out of gamut colors. All devices have a unique set of colors (gamut) they can reproduce, be it a display or a printer. This option enables marking the colors that cannot be reproduced in destination color space with a user defined color. By default neutral grey color is used.
  • Device profile. This is an ICC profile for the output device (usually, a printer). For Europe the Euroscale Uncoated v2 profile is recommended to be used by default, and for USA — U.S. Web Coated (SWOP) v2 or  U.S. Sheet-fed Coated v2.
  • Device Rendering Intent. You can choose between Perceptual, Relative Colorimetric, Saturation and Absolute Colorimetric.
  • Black Point Compensation. BPC's primary function is to map dynamic range of an image to dynamic range of an output device, so that contrast us not lost. It is usually used for publications with a lot of full color graphics like photos. Note that BPC is used only with relative colorimetric rendering intent and should be disabled for other rendering intent types.
  • Preserve Black. Makes Inkscape do its best to provide same level of blackness in the output.

Creating ICC Profiles

For creating ICC profiles with free software LProf and ArgyllCMS are recommended.