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SVG Stacker

An experimental tool that turns a folder of SVG files into a single SVG Stack. It also creates some demo HTML files that use the stack with different embedding-techniques (iframe, embed, img, object, background-image).

SVG Stacker is based on NODE.js.

The project contains three example stacks based icons of the famous Tango Icon Library, the popular Iconic icon set by P.J. Onori and files from wikipedia.

I created SVG Stacker to explore the power of the SVG Stack concept and test filesize, performance and browser-support.

Installation & Usage

npm install svg-stacker -g
svg-stacker -s SOURCE_DIR -t TARGET_DIR

Example Stacks

with Webkit fix:

About SVG Stacks

Simon 'Simurai' first described 'SVG Stacks' in March 2012. It's a technique to stack different SVG objects into one file to save HTTP Requests.

First we give each of our icons in the SVG file a unique ID and the same class name, add some CSS to hide all icons and only display the one that gets selected with :target. And now we can use a hash in the URL to pass the ID into the SVG file, like background: url(icon.svg#ID).

Read Simons blog post. Simon also created a SVG Stack demo that works pretty well in Firefox, but not yet in Webkit, see (Webkit-Bug).

The ':target'-technique was first introduced by @erikdahlstrom – it's worth checking out his SVG Code snippets.

Webkit Fix

Read annotated source.


We decided to work with SVG for a recent mobile website project. It is an open standard, it is widly supported by browsers and leads to great visual results, especially when it comes to devices with different pixel densities.

"SVG-Stacks are the new Imagesprites." – Are they?

There are pros and cons. Here is a list of things we thought about so far and would like to discuss:

  1. Support for colors

    compared to monocromatic icons, that can be easily embedded with Webfonts

  2. Easier to write and read in CSS

    button.cart {
      background: transparent url(stack.svg#cart) no-repeat top left;

    compared to

    [data-icon]:before {
        font-family: 'IcoMoon';
        content: attr(data-icon);
    <a href="#" class="button-with-icon" data-icon="+">Add</a>

    Webfont icon embed

    Webfonts are great for monochrome icons. Icomoon is a great tool to define icon sets and add custom svg objects. One could argue that they causes some semantic issues as they always produce content (compared to decorative background-image), which might be OK when using Unicodes Private Use Area.

    But for Developers it might feel more natural to work with SVG Stacks as

  3. SVG Stacks behave like raster-images

    <img src="stack.svg#flowers">

    They can be treat in HTML and CSS like we used to treat raster images.

  4. Animation

    See soccer-ball in Wikipedia Example

  5. (Not) yet available on Webkit

    There is a Webkit-Bug that needs to be fixed to make SVG Stacks work.

    Update For now I created a jQuery Plugin to fix SVG Stacks for Webkit. See Webkit Fix above.

  6. Slow?

    Test the examples: Some browser need an extensive rendering time.


An experimental tool that turns a folder of SVG files into a single SVG Stack




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