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Labels as text in SVG exports

Today’s post is inspired by a recent thread on the QGIS user mailing list titled “exporting text to Illustrator?”. The issue was that with the introduction of the new labeling system, all labels were exported as paths when creating an SVG. Unnoticed by almost everyone (and huge thanks to Alex Mandel for pointing out!) an option has been added to 2.4 by Larry Shaffer which allows exporting labels as texts again.

To export labels as text, open the Automatic Placement Settings (button in the upper right corner of the label dialog) and uncheck the Draw text as outlines option.

Screenshot 2014-09-20 21.03.26

Note that we are also cautioned that

For now the developers recommend you only toggle this option right
before exporting
and that you recheck it after.

Alex even recorded a video showcasing the functionality:

Editing Labels in QGIS SVG Output using Inkscape

If you are planning to tweak the labels in SVG output from QGIS, you should use the old labeling engine. Labels create with the old engine are written into the SVG file as text objects whereas labels from the new engine end up as paths for some reason.

Let’s see how it works using the climate Shapefile from QGIS sample data. I just created an empty map, loaded the points and labeled them before exporting the map to SVG using Print Composer. Now, we can manipulate the SVG file in Inkscape: Select one of the labels and and start the XML Editor (Edit menu – XML Editor or through the toolbar button).

Find the "XML tree" button for full control of the labels

If you selected a label before opening XML Editor, one of the entires in the tree should be highlighted. Expanding the element reveals that it’s a text featuring a series of attributes QGIS exported. From here, you can change both the looks and the text of all labels in your map. Of course, you are not limited to the XML Editor but can change to the GUI – which is certainly recommended for experimenting with all the different settings.

Here you have full control over how the label looks like

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