The Simplest Way to Download SVG/DOM Elements

Fabian Wolff

Fabian Wolff

6 min read

Thumbnail Downloading DOM Elements as SVG,PNG,PDF

While I was working on my ternary graph builder Ternary Equilibrium, I wanted to include a feature that enables the user to download the finished graph in a common picture format (SVG, PNG, PDF).

The graph was an SVG element with additional styling and web fonts. The solution therefore needed to:

  1. Grab the SVG element
  2. Embed necessary styles
  3. Embed web fonts
  4. Convert into SVG/PNG/PDF
  5. Download the resulting file

After some research, I came across an external library saveSvgAsPng that did exactly what I was searching for. I had to use an additional library jsPDF for the PDF conversion.

In the following article we will use these libraries on a simple SVG Element and you will learn how to download your own elements🙏.

If you read till the end, you will also learn how to download any DOM element with a little trick. I will also give you some additional useful options for the functions we will use.

Quick Access

Example Element

The following code will render a red rectangle with a height and width of 50px, that is centered inside a svg container.

<svg id='iamsvg' width="100" height="100" viewBox="0 0 100 100" xmlns="">
  <rect fill="red" x="25" y="25" width="50" height="50">
Explanation of our example svg element



We start by installing our dependencies.

npm install save-svg-as-png jspdf

We then import our dependencies into our main javascript file.

import * as saveSvgAsPng from 'save-svg-as-png'
import { jsPDF } from 'jspdf'

Downloading the Element

If you look back at the example SVG element, I gave it an id of #iamsvg . You therefore select the SVG element with document.getElementById('iamsvg').

const node = document.getElementbyId('iamsvg')

Define a filename with an appropriate extension name. In this example, we download our element as an SVG file and therefore use the .svg-extension.

const filename = 'myfilename.svg' // or 'myfilename.png'

To download our element we then just have to call the saveSvg method from saveSvgAsPng. This is also the time to use additional options as an argument inside the function. Check out the ones I find useful.

saveSvgAsPng.saveSvg(node, filename)
// or
saveSvgAsPng.saveSvgAsPng(node, filename)


As already mentioned in the introduction, we make use of jsPDF for creating and working with the PDF documents. Our approach comes down to the following steps:

  1. Generate a DataURL with saveSvgAsPng
  2. Generate an empty PDF document
  3. Add our dataURL inside the PDF document
  4. Download the PDF document

Generate a DataURL

We make use of the saveSvgAsPng.svgAsPngUri method, which creates a dataURL of the internally created image instead of directly downloading it. This enables us to do whatever we want with the image afterwards. The method returns the dataURL inside a Promise. All following steps will be inside the .then call. Click to see how a dataURL looks like.

saveSvgAsPng.svgAsPngUri(svgNode).then((dataUrl) => {
  // Do the PDF 🧙‍♂️ with the dataURL

Generate an Empty PDF Document

We create an empty PDF document inside the the .then statement by calling new jsPDF()

// .then() before
const doc = new jsPDF()

Add the Picture to the PDF

We take the dataURL and add it as a PNG image inside the newly created pdf document.

doc.addImage(uri, 'PNG', 0, 0)

The addImage function receives two additional arguments, the x-coordinate, and y-coordinate of the image (see addImage Documentation).

Download the PDF

The last step is to just use the .save method on our document and pass in the filename.

// Save it 🎉
const filename = 'myfilename.pdf'

Congratulations, you downloaded your element as an PDF 2/2✅.

Putting Things Together ✨

SVG/PNG Implementation

import * as saveSvgAsPng from 'save-svg-as-png'

const node = document.getElementbyId('iamsvg')
const filename = 'myfilename.svg'

saveSvgAsPng.saveSvg(node, filename)
// saveSvgAsPng.saveSvgAsPng(node, filename)

PDF Implementation

import * as saveSvgAsPng from 'save-svg-as-png'
import { jsPDF } from 'jspdf'

const node = document.getElementbyId('iamsvg')
const filename = 'myfilename.svg'

saveSvgAsPng.svgAsPngUri(svgNode).then((dataUrl) => {
  const doc = new jsPDF()
  doc.addImage(uri, 'PNG', 0, 0).save(filename)

Additional Useful Options🔥

Downloading any DOM Element

We can download any DOM element with a little trick. Just embed your element inside a foreignObject and we can use the same principles as already described.

  viewBox="0 0 100 100"
  <foreignObject x="25" y="25" width="100" height="100">

Scaling Raster Images

It might be desirable to get the resulting picture in a larger resolution for presentations. We can use the scale option for achieving exactly that. The following option scales our resulting image by a factor of 2.5.

const options = { scale: 2.5 }
saveSvgAsPng.saveSvgAsPng(svgNode, filename, options)

Excluding Unused CSS

In the default settings, all styles of your page will get embedded into the image. That might not be a problem if you are just having a simple site, but as you probably can imagine, things add up. You therefore should probably use the excludeUnusedCss option.

const options = { excludeUnusedCss: true }
saveSvgAsPng.saveSvgAsPng(svgNode, filename, options)

Centering the Image inside the PDF

Centering the image inside our PDF document only requires some simple math and applying an offset in x- and y-direction.

saveSvgAsPng.svgAsPngUri(svgNode).then((dataUrl) => {
  // Creates 100x100 mm pdf document with mm units
  const options = { format: [100, 100], unit: 'mm' }
  const doc = new jsPDF(options)
  // Get the document dimensions for centering of image
  const pageHeight = doc.internal.pageSize.height
  const pageWidth = doc.internal.pageSize.width
  // Define image dimensions yourself or get them from the element
  const imgWidth = 50
  const imgHeight = 50
  // Calculate the left and top offset for centering the image
  const xOffset = (pageWidth - imgWidth) / 2
  const yOffset = (pageHeight - imgHeight) / 2
  // Add the image with left and top offset & specify the image dimensions
    .addImage(uri, 'PNG', xOffset, yOffset, imgWidth, imgHeight)


SVG Element 🟥

Any DOM Element 🎉

Wrapping up

That's all guys! Thank you for reading! I hope you learned something new and can incorporate it into your own projects. If you have any questions, be free to write me @ffabiwo!


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