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How To Use an SVG File?

Scalable Vector Graphics are vector graphics that ensure the image is scalable without compromising the resolution. SVG image files are vector graphics that follow the mathematical calculation to make scalable images irrespective of resolution. 

In this article, we have explained A-Z on how to use SVG files and the advantages of SVG files.

Why Use SVG Files?

Before we begin, let’s go over the features that make SVG files better than raster images. 

  • SVG images are scalable, i.e., you can zoom in and out without compromising on the resolution.
  • SVG files are text-based, create and edit SVG images with a text editor.
  • They are lightweight and highly scalable.
  • Looks great on retina displays.
  • Design control like filters and interactivity in the image.

How To Get the Images?

One of the free sites from where you can download the image is unDraw. Then, select any image you want to cut and design. 

  • You can download SVG images from any free website like Pixabay or unDraw.
  • In unDraw, change the background color to blue or yellow, which gives a happy vibe.
  • Select an image, and a pop-up window will appear. 
  • Download the image in the SVG file.
  • You can use InDesign space or silhouette cut as a cutting machine for SVG cut files. 

Once you have downloaded or created an illustration, proceed to the next step. Now, open the image in a text editor. If the images are zipped, you can open and unzip the folder with modern browsers. Once the folder is unzipped, take the SVG image and copy it in a text editor. 

Once you open this image in the text editor, the sight can be intimidating with the codes, especially if you are a novice. But don’t get anxious; this is simple than it looks.

How To Use SVG In CSS and HTML?

Using SVG as an <img>

If you have saved the file in SVG format, you can directly use the <img>tag. So, assuming you did everything right while saving and downloading the file, then you can go ahead and add the snippet above the HTML tag. 

You can change the width of the image like a png or jpeg file. However, make sure you customize the width and length of the image in the text editor. 

Even after you change the size of the SVG images via the <img> tag, there are still some restrictions that you need to change in the SVG image.

Using SVG as Background Image

This is similar to adding the <img> tag in the text editor, and the only difference is we have to do it with CSS background instead of HTML. 

Add background-image: URL (here put the image name); this is the code snippet.

Browser support

Using browser support has its limitation; it has the same effect as the <img> tag. So instead, you can use Mordernizr. 

Here Mordernizr is more helpful and effective than the <img> tag. Replacing the background image with this has advantages like using one HTTP request instead of two. It adds the class name of ‘no SVG to the HTML element. 

How to use inline SVG images

SVG codes can be from the line in the text editor. You can drop the code in HTML, and it will show you a similar result as the <img> tag. This benefits you as the img tag shows on the top of the document, so you don’t have to make additional HTTP requests. 

Using inline gives you the authority for customization, which is opposed in <img> or background-image method. One of the significant advantages of using inline SVG images is it lets you customize, unlike <img> and background image methods. However, despite its advantages, it has some disadvantages like the inability to cache and bloating documents.

How To Use SVG as an <Object>

If inline SVG isn’t your jam, then proceed ahead to far more interesting and exciting usage of SVG, that is, SVG as an <object>.

As we discussed earlier, inline has some legit drawbacks like being heavyweight and unworthy to cache. You can link the SVG file and retain its efficiency with CSS using <object>

You can use the data attribute to specify the link URL from the resource you will use as an object; in your case, it is an SVG image. You have to mention the height and width of the image to specify the size of the image. 

It works well for caching and provides deeper support, which is better than using it any other way. But if you want the CSS to work, you can put any external stylesheet or <style> in your document. To work the style in SVG image, you have to use the <style> element inside the SVG file.

External stylesheet for <object> SVG

SVG has a way of declaring stylesheets which has numerous benefits like caching and authoring. This works for SVG <object> embedded files. You have to put it above the opening <svg> tag. It does not work in HTML. This does not give any productive result; the page barfs and would not render any result. When you put a text file with <img> tag and background image, the page does not lag. 

How to Use SVG file as an <iframe>

Even if it is not advisable you can add <iframe> in HTML text. Using <iframe> has more negative impacts than positive ones. It impacts your site’s SEO, and it defeats the purpose of Scalable. SVG is a scalable vector graphic, <iframe> embedded files are not scalable.

How to use SVG as an <embed>

The HTML <embed> element is another way to use SVG images. In HTML and CSS use the syntax: <embed src= “SVG image url” />

But is it good to embed an SVG? Well, it has some limitations too. According to MDN, modern browsers have a different approach for SVG images, so it has deprecated and removed support for browser plug-ins. This means <embed> element is not a wise choice for your site.


This article has provided you quick tour of different ways to use SVG images in CSS and HTML. It was not intended to give thorough and detailed information, and it has just pointers to provide you with basic knowledge on how to use SVG images. To know more about SVG, you can head over to this SVG tutorial