Vector Graphics

Ipe – extensible drawing editor

Ipe is an open source drawing editor for creating figures in PDF or (encapsulated) Postscript format.

This software supports making small figures for inclusion into LaTeX (or plain TeX) documents as well as making multi-page PDF presentations. Ipe allows you to prepare and edit drawings containing a variety of basic geometry primitives like lines, splines, polygons, and circles.

Ipe also allows you to add text to your drawings, and unlike most other drawing programs, Ipe treats these text object as LaTeX text. This has the advantage that all usual LaTeX commands can be used within the drawing, which makes the inclusion of mathematical formulae (or even simple labels like “qi”) much simpler. Ipe processes LaTeX source and includes its Postscript or PDF rendering in the figure. Additionally, Ipe offers you some editing functions that can usually only be found in professional drawing programs or CAD systems.

Ipe is written in standard C++ and Lua 5.2.

Features include:

  • Entry of text as LaTeX source code. This makes it easy to enter mathematical expressions, and to reuse the LaTeX-macros of the main document. In the display text is displayed as it will appear in the figure.
  • Produces pure Postscript/PDF, including the text. Ipe converts the LaTeX-source to PDF or Postscript when the file is saved.
  • Easy to align objects with respect to each other (for instance, to place a point on the intersection of two lines, or to draw a circle through three given points) using various snapping modes.
  • Snapping comes in three flavors: grid snapping, context snapping, and angular snapping. The following features can be snapped to:
    • Vertices.
    • Boundaries (lines).
    • Intersections between lines. This includes curved lines.
    • A grid.
    • Angles.
  • Extensible – users can provide ipelets (Ipe plug-ins) to add functionality to Ipe. Once registered with Ipe by adding them to the ipelet path, users can use those functions like Ipe’s own editing functions. Plugins can be written in Lua or C++.
  • Support for clipping paths, gradients, transparency and tiling patterns.
  • The text model is based on Unicode.

Support: GitHub Code Repository
Developer: Otfried Cheong
License: GNU General Public License v3.0


Ipe is written in Java. Learn Java with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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