Inkscape "Edit externally" function for embedded objects

Bug #1077000 reported by Martijn on 2012-11-09
This bug affects 7 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description

On both Windows 7 and (a cleanly installed) Ubuntu 12, using Inkscape, the option "Edit externally" on an image object is grayed out. On both systems The GIMP 2.8.2 is installed, which I kinda expected to be used for this option. On the Windows box, I even have Photoshop CS5 installed which can also be used. On the Ubuntu box, I "just" installed both Inkscape and The GIMP from Ubuntu's software repo. I expected no additional configuration would be needed for default operation.

It would be better if the option was not grayed out and instead display a message explaining why it would have been grayed out. For example, "we cannot find a suitable editor" or something. As it stands now, the option is just grayed out, with no indication as to why it's like that, let alone how to fix it (which should also go in displaying such message).

jazzynico (jazzynico) on 2012-11-09
tags: added: bitmap ui
jazzynico (jazzynico) wrote :

As explained in Tav's manual (, the "Edit externally" command works for linked bitmaps only. If you have an embedded bitmap (or a bitmap copy of an SVG object), the command is grayed out.

Could you please confirm the bitmap you're trying to edit is embedded and not linked?

Changed in inkscape:
status: New → Incomplete
Martijn (m3rtijn) wrote :

The bitmap I was trying to edit is indeed embedded.

The command should not be grayed out, but instead when selecting it display a message "editing is only possible for linked imaged, not embedded images" or something similar. Just graying out a command is confusing, because it just raises the question why the command is grayed out at all.

I realize this is in the manual, but honestly this change should be trivial, and it makes the application that little bit more intuitive.

The real fix, of course, is to allow editing embedded images (via a tempfile perhaps).

Kris (kris-degussem) on 2012-11-25
Changed in inkscape:
status: Incomplete → Confirmed
Murz (murznn) wrote :

For editing embedded images we can create temporary file, open it in raster editor, and after closing - upload it do inkscape document and remove file.

summary: - "Edit externally" grayed out
+ Inkscape "Edit externally" function for embedded objects
su_v (suv-lp) on 2013-09-09
Changed in inkscape:
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
Amos Blanton (lightnin9) wrote :

This would be an excellent feature.

Mark Besonen (besonen) wrote :

Agreed that a brief informational message would be a nice temporary solution to this. I just spent 10 minutes going in a circle myself trying to edit an embedded image reconfirming my bitmap editor paths, trying different bitmaps editors, etc. Finally, I did a web search, and came right to this. But for a new or migrating user, they might not bother, and they just might assume things don't work.

Adrian (adrian-5) wrote :

Note that you can export the image (right-clic -> export; inkscape will automatically turn the embedded object into a link to that external file), edit it externally and then re-embed it (right-clic -> embed) when you're done. Just wanted to share that work-around. Fundamentally I agree that the feature request (either show a message or implement the temporary exporting/editing/re-embedding straight away) would make things more intuitive.

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