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When working with Archer it is common to make changes to the original SVG file using an external tool (Adobe Illustrator, Affinity Designer, Inkscape, ...) and then reload the SVG into Archer. This article explains some pitfalls that you can run into and solutions on how to prevent them.

When you create a new project in Archer, a duplicate of the SVG file that you have selected is created. Changes made to the SVG in Archer do not affect original SVG file and vice versa. While Archer provides a function to reload the original SVG file into Archer, it is important to note that this function does not work if changes that you made to the SVG within Archer would be overwritten. In that case Archer prevents the update as it may break the configuration of the Archer project.

Archer keeps changes to its version of the SVG to a minimum. Currently the only modification that you can make is assigning an ID to an element so that it is accessible by a transformation. If you try to import an SVG that is missing an element that is referenced by a transformation, then the update will fail.

Any other configuration that you create in Archer (contexts, transformations, ...) are stored in a separate file and do not affect the SVG file.

How to handle updates

To circumvent this problem it is advised to establish the following roundtrip process if you want to make external modifications to the SVG:

  • Create a working copy of the SVG by exporting it from Archer
  • Load the working copy into your SVG editor
  • Make modifications to the SVG
  • Export the modified working copy from your SVG editor
  • Reload the modified working copy into Archer

To export the SVG from Archer you can use the File → Export SVG... menu item.

To reload the SVG into Archer you can use the File → Reload SVG menu item or use the Reload SVG from disk button from the SVG structure panel.

Best practice

In general we recommend that you only modify the original SVG file using your favorite SVG editing tool. This means that you assign element IDs in your SVG editor before you export the SVG for usage in Archer. Tools like Adobe Illustrator or Affinity Designer allow you to assign a name to an element, which is used as element ID when exporting as SVG. Following this rule prevents the problem completely because changes to the SVG are only made to the original file and there will be no conflict when overwriting the duplicate file in Archer.

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