• Javascript
  • Python
  • Go

Rendering SVG in C++

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a popular format for creating and displaying vector graphics on the web. While there are many libraries an...

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a popular format for creating and displaying vector graphics on the web. While there are many libraries and tools available for rendering SVG in various programming languages, in this article, we will explore how to render SVG in C++.

First, let's understand what exactly SVG is. SVG is a vector graphics format that uses XML to define shapes, lines, and other graphical elements. Unlike raster graphics, which are made up of a grid of pixels, vector graphics use mathematical equations to define shapes and lines, making them infinitely scalable without losing quality. This makes SVG an ideal format for creating graphics that need to be displayed at different sizes, such as logos, icons, and illustrations.

To render SVG in C++, we will be using the library called "librsvg". This library is a part of the GNOME project and provides an API for rendering SVG files. It supports all the features of the SVG 1.1 specification and is regularly updated to support new features.

To get started, we need to download and install the library on our system. This can be done using the package manager of your operating system or by downloading the source code and compiling it yourself. Once the library is installed, we can start using it in our C++ code.

To render an SVG file using librsvg, we first need to create an RsvgHandle object. This object represents the SVG file and provides methods to manipulate and render it. We can create an RsvgHandle object by passing the path of the SVG file as a parameter to the constructor.

Next, we need to create a Cairo surface to draw on. Cairo is a 2D graphics library that supports various output devices, including image files, printers, and screens. We will be using a Cairo surface to render our SVG file. We can create a Cairo surface by calling the "cairo_image_surface_create" function and passing it the dimensions of our output image.

Once we have our RsvgHandle and Cairo surface, we can call the "rsvg_handle_render_cairo" method, passing it the RsvgHandle object and the Cairo surface as parameters. This will render the SVG file onto the Cairo surface, and we can then save the surface as an image file using the "cairo_surface_write_to_png" function.

Let's look at a simple code example:


#include <iostream>

#include <cairo.h>

#include <librsvg/rsvg.h>

int main() {

// create RsvgHandle object

RsvgHandle* handle = rsvg_handle_new_from_file("image.svg", NULL);

// create Cairo surface

cairo_surface_t* surface = cairo_image_surface_create(CAIRO_FORMAT_ARGB32, 500, 500);

// render SVG onto Cairo surface

rsvg_handle_render_cairo(handle, cairo_surface_get_target(surface));

// save surface as PNG image

cairo_surface_write_to_png(surface, "output.png");

// free memory



return 0;



In this example, we first create an RsvgHandle object by passing the path of our SVG file. Then, we create a Cairo surface with a width and height of 500 pixels. We then render our SVG file onto the Cairo surface and save it as a PNG image. Finally, we free the memory allocated for the RsvgHandle and Cairo surface.

Apart from rendering SVG files to images, librsvg also provides methods for manipulating and accessing the elements of an SVG file. This allows us to create dynamic and interactive graphics using SVG and C++.

In conclusion, rendering SVG in C++ is made easy with the help of the librsvg library. It provides a simple and efficient way to display vector graphics on different output devices. With its support for the latest SVG specifications, it is a great choice for developers looking to create high-quality graphics in their C++ applications. So, the next time you need to render an SVG file in your C++ code, consider using librsvg for a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Related Articles

Exporting a C++ Class from a DLL

Exporting a C++ Class from a DLL Dynamic-link libraries, or DLLs, are an essential part of the Windows operating system. These files contain...

Favorite Windbg Tips and Tricks

Favorite Windbg Tips and Tricks Windbg is a powerful debugging tool used by developers and system administrators to analyze and troubleshoot...

Open in File Explorer

Open in File Explorer: A Convenient Way to Access Your Files In today's digital age, most of our work and personal life revolves around elec...