This is a miniature “How to” for folks that want to run Inkscape on their Apple OS X computer. I am assuming that you are running the latest OS X version. One other thing – with a heavy heart – I urge you to consider using something else, because it looks like the timer might be running down on OS X support. I hope I’m wrong but consider your options.

You will need a number of things to make this work:

  • An Apple computer (relatively modern Intel 64-bit architecture)
  • Relatively modern OS X operating system (10.5+). As of the writing of this entry, I’m on version Mojave 10.14.2 and having no troubles.
  • Latest compatible version of Inkscape 0.92.2 installed (the latest build 0.92.3 doesn’t work on OS X).
    • It is important to install this following all the defaults.
  • An installed X11 server (software that runs on your computer). Apple no longer includes this with their software – instead they direct users to XQuartz.

After you install Inkscape – you get a cool icon that shows up in your Applications folder. This is a complete waste of space because the application WILL NOT LAUNCH if you click it. Instead you need to start an X11 session and launch it from there following these steps:

  • Launch xQuartz. This should be in the Applications|Utilities folder.
  • In XQuartz, open an xterm session (click the menu: “Applications” and select “Terminal” OR the keyboard shortcut is : <Command> <n>)
  • Inside the command terminal, type in the following command:
    • /Applications/
  • Press <Return>

This will kick off the application. Note that this is an X11 session that is running inside of OS X in a sort of separate environment. It follows UNIX rules, not OS X rules. Cut and paste, drag and drop and other such behaviors will likely not work between X11 (in our case, Inkscape) and the rest of OS X. Also note that since this is in X11, cut and paste keyboard shortcuts are different – so instead of the <Command> key you would use the <Control> key. For example:

  • <Control> <c> “Copy”
  • <Control> <x> “Cut”
  • <Control> <v> “Paste”

For more details and a lot of technical discussion – you can refer to this conversation on the Inkscape Forum.