How To Change The Inkscape Default Template

How To Change The Inkscape Default Template 1024 602 Nick Saporito

In this tutorial I’ll be demonstrating how to change the Inkscape default template, otherwise known as the startup file.

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I’m making this tutorial in response to some feedback I received about my dark theme tutorial. Many of you remarked that you’d like the work space (or canvas) to be dark as well. There’s two ways to do this. Let’s briefly go over both.

Document Properties

The first way is to manually change the background color yourself using the Document Properties menu.

Inkscape document properties window

Go to File -> Document Properties, then click on the white stripe in the Background Color area. Another menu will pop up where you can manually change the background color of the document to whatever you’d like.

Inkscape Default Template

The second method is to change Inkscape’s default startup file. This would be recommended if you don’t feel like manually changing the background color of your document every time you use Inkscape.

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Open a folder in Windows and go to Local Disk (C:) -> Program Files -> Inkscape -> Share -> Templates and look for a file titled default.svg.

This is the Inkscape default template. Whichever file is titled “default.svg” in this folder will be the file that Inkscape loads when you launch it. So all we’re going to do is swap out the default template with another template that has the background color already set.

Change the name of “default.svg” to “old-default.svg”, then download the new default startup file here:

Grab the file titled “new-default.svg” and paste it into the Templates folder, then change its name to “default.svg”. This will now be the Inkscape default template on startup.

Here’s how the old default template look…

Standard default template

Click to enlarge

And here’s how it will look with the new default template…

Updated default template

Click to enlarge

I’ve also included a copy of the original startup file in case something goes wrong and you need to recover it.

If any of these steps were unclear then I would recommend watching the video tutorial at the top of the page. As always, thanks for watching!

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Want to learn more about how Inkscape works? Check out the Inkscape Master Class – a comprehensive series of over 50 videos where I go over every tool, feature and function in Inkscape and explain what it is, how it works, and why it’s useful.

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Nick Saporito

Designer, content creator, and the founder of — an educational media platform for learning about graphic design.

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