Common Lisp library for converting SVG files into lists of points.
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(Or svgp for short). This is a pure-lisp library that takes an SVG file and generates, for each SVG object, a set of points that outline the object. It approximates curves based on a given resolution: the higher the resolution, the more accurate the curve is (this works for paths, circles, ellipses). This package relies on xmls to parse the SVG file's XML.

cl-svg-polygon also calculates transformations within the groups and objects in the file to the final points/holes returned for each polygon.


Parse the contents of an SVG string:

(svgp:parse-svg-string "...")

Parse the contents of an SVG file:

(svgp:parse-svg-file "drawing.svg")   ; wraps around parse-svg-string

Both these functions return a flat list of SVG objects (plists):

'((:type "path"
   :group ("layer1" "ghostie" "g221")
   :d "m -397.936,580.106 c -0.294,-1.122 -1.382,-2.535 -2.729,-2.046 -1.52,0.551 -2.286,1.984 ..."
   :style "fill:#ffffff"
   :point-data #((400.94077 477.2889) (400.82928 476.94577) (400.67334 476.5983) (400.4762 476.25974) ...)
   :holes (#((400.94077 477.2889) (400.82928 476.94577) (400.67334 476.5983) (400.4762 476.25974) ...))
   :meta (:disconnected nil)) ...)

Call parameters

Here are the keyword parameters you can give the the (parse-svg-* ...) functions:

:curve-resolution         ; (integer) How many points each curve will use. Higher == more accurate
:scale                    ; (list) Apply a scale vector '(x y) to ALL points/holes in all
                          ; objects returned. Can be used with a negative value to invert the y axis.
:save-attributes          ; (list) This list is appended to the list of attributes to save
                          ; from each object, allowing you to grab custom data for each object.
:group-id-attribute-name  ; (string, default "id") Which parameter in the <g> tag to pull
                          ; the group id from. This is useful for programs like Inkscape
						  ; that use "label" instead of "id." If no data is available for the
						  ; given field, falls back on the "id" field.


Even though the objects in the file may be in group hierarchies, they are returned as a flat list. The :group key contains each group the object is a member of, ordered from the top down. This can be used to create hierarchies among the objects later on if needed.

Polygon data

The :point-data key contains the outline of the polygon as a vector of points #((x1 y1) (x2 y2) ...) and :holes contains holes that are cut out of the polygon.

Object meta information

Objects can return meta information in the final result under the :meta key. Currently, this is only used for paths, which return whether or not the path is "disconnected," meaning it's a set of line segments such that the end does not join up with the beginning (if :disconnected t). This can be useful in determining whether or not to bother with triangulation.

More object types may use meta later on.


The idea behind this library is that SVG files can be used to describe objects that will be sent to OpenGL (or any other display system). With something like Illustrator or Inkscape, you could have an instant level editor for a game.

In addition to polygons/holes, it tries to return as much relevant data about each object as possible (groups, styles, meta info) so you can make decisions about the object later on in your application.


In the spirit of doing one thing well, this library focuses no attention on turning the polygons it churns out into triangles. Please see glu-tessellate for a triangulation library that wraps around GLU's tessellation system. glu-tessellate triangulates (with holes) and supports a number of winding methods.


There are a few limitations with this library:

  • Line/polyline types are ignored when parsing. This fix is coming soon.
  • Strokes are not honored. So the point list returned for a path with two points and a stroke will just be two points (with :disconnected t) instead of a connected polygon shape representing what the real object looks like. Since stroking is technically up to the drawer, it's unlikely that I'll add in default support for this, however I'll probably add an option in the future to render strokes as part of the polygon in case you don't want to deal with it in the app =]. The meta info for the polygon would then specify whether or not it was a stroked polygon vs an actual polygon. This change would go hand in hand with supporting lines as well.
  • Clipping/masking are not supported. Fix also coming soon, especially since masks appear in many of the files I'm parsing. For now, they are just ignored.


I do my best to keep cl-svg-polygon up to date with the SVG spec. I do plan on fixing the limitations in a timely manner. If you see any bugs or problems with this library, please feel free to contact me or fix it and issue a pull request.