Inkscape on Mac OS X

NOTE: As of Inkscape 1.0, these special instructions for Mac OS X are no longer required.

Installing Inkscape and using XQuartz

  • Inkscape does not run directly on the Mac OS X operating system.  It uses a go-between called XQuartz.  Nothing to be concerned about, but there are a few things you should be aware of.
  • To install Inkscape on Mac OS X, follow the instructions given here: Inkscape Extensions for Bobbin Lace.  NOTE: You will need to install XQuartz first and restart your computer as per the instructions in the link.
  • When you launch Inkscape on Mac OS X, you will see two applications start in your Application bar as shown below: Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.44.57 PM.png
    The left one in the red box is for Inkscape and the right one is for XQuartz.  Inkscape runs “inside” the XQuartz application.
  • The top menus for Inkscape are a little different from what you are used to for applications on Mac OS X.  Instead of being at the very top of the screen, they are located at the top of the main Inkscape window.  The top of the screen will show the XQuartz menus and below that, in another window, you will see the Inkscape menus.Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.49.25 PM.png
  • Where did it go?!?! If you minimize Inkscape, usually you can make it come back by clicking on the Inkscape icon in the application bar.  If this does not work, click on the XQuartz icon in the application bar and from the top menu of XQuartz select “Window -> YOUR DOCUMENT NAME – Inkscape.Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.48.09 PM.png
  • As of Inkscape 0.92, the Inkscape keyboard shortcuts use Ctrl (^) instead of Cmd (⌘) as a modifier key for commands such as Copy (Ctrl  C) and Paste (Ctrl V).  Hopefully, this will be fixed in future releases.

Installing or Upgrading Extensions

  1. Download the file “” from Inkscape Extensions for Bobbin Lace.
  2. Launch Inkscape and go to the menu Edit -> Preferences.  A window will pop up and you will probably have to drag the bottom right corner to resize it in order to see everything.  On the left side, scroll down to “System” and click on it.  On the right side, find “User extensions” and copy the text that appears in the white box beside this label (see below).Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.42.29 PM.png
  3. Launch the Finder application and in the top menu of Finder  select “Go” as shown below.  From the “Go” menu select “Go to Folder…”
    Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.45.51 PM.png
  4. In the window that pops up, paste the path you saved in step 2 and click on the “Go” button.  Finder will take you to this folder location.Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.46.10 PM.png
  5. Drag the files you downloaded in Step 1 into the folder you opened in Step 4.

Finding the path for Lace templates

  1. Download the “” file from Inkscape Extension for Bobbin Lace Grounds and copy the files to a folder where you like to keep your lace documents.
  2. In Finder open the folder that contains the lace template files. Select the text (.txt) file for the template you want to use (NOTE: There is also a .png file with the same name.  Make sure you select the .txt file). For example, select the “rose.txt” file if you want to create some Rose ground.
  3. While holding down the OPTION key, click on the right mouse button to open the context menu for this file and select “Copy rose.txt as Pathname” as shown below.ALT-Option-Key-Mac.jpgosx-finder-copy-as-pathname.jpg
  4. In Inkscape, go to the Extensions top level menu and select Extensions -> Bobbin Lace -> Ground from Template.  A window will pop up as shown below.  In the white box to the right of the “File name for ground template (full path)” label, paste the path name you copied in Step 3.Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 2.44.06 PM.png

Using the Clipboard

Because Inkscape uses XQuartz, the clipboard is a little different.

  1. You have set-up the clipboard on XQuartz correctly.  From the XQuartz menu at the top of your screen, select XQuartz -> Preferences.xquartz pref.pngMake sure there is no checkbox beside the item “Update Pasteboard when CLIPBOARD changes”.


  2. As of Inkscape 0.92, the Inkscape keyboard shortcuts use Ctrl (^) instead of Cmd (⌘) as a modifier key for commands such as Copy (Ctrl  C) and Paste (Ctrl V).  Hopefully, this will be fixed in future releases.


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