Naveen Kumar

Difference between SVG and HTML 5 Canvas

By Naveen Kumar

Last updated cal_iconDecember 15, 2021

SVG: The Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is an XML-based image format used to define two-dimensional vector-based graphics for the web. Unlike raster images (Ex .jpg, .png, .gif, etc.), a vector image can be scaled up or down without losing the image quality.

An SVG image is drawn out using a series of statements that follows the XML schema — it means SVG images can be created and edited with any text editor, such as Notepad. There are many advantages of using SVG over other image formats like GIF, JPEG, PNG, etc.

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Canvas: The HTML element is mainly used to draw graphics on the fly via scripting (usually JavaScript). The element is a container for graphics. You must use a script actually to draw the graphics. Canvas has many methods for drawing paths, circles, boxes, text, and adding images.



 SVG vs. Canvas Comparison Table:

Key Differences between SVG and Canvas:

Both are popular in the market; let us discuss some of the significant differences:

  • SVG does not depend on the resolution, which means it is resolution-independent. If we enlarge the image, it will not lose its shape. Canvas is resolution-dependent, means that the image is enlarged, it will start reflecting the image pixel.
  • SVG refers shape-based, whereas Canvas refers pixel-based.
  • SVG is suitable for applications with large rendering areas like google maps. On the other hand, Canvas has poor text rendering capabilities.
  • SVG usually becomes slow rendering if it is complex because anything which uses the Document object model (DOM) to a great extent will become slow. Canvas provides the high-performance element best-suited for rendering faster graphics like image editing, an application that requires pixel manipulation.
  • SVG is considered powerful in a browser as it is vector-based and provides a high-quality experience. It can be linked with multimedia, audio, and videos. Canvas is mainly powered by graphs, drawing shapes and complex photo compositions.
  • SVG can be modified through script and CSS. Canvas can be modified through script only.
  • SVG images cannot be saved in other formats. In Canvas, you can save the resulting images in .jpg and .png format.
  • SVG is mainly recommended for use in full-screen user interfaces. Canvas is not being recommended for larger screens.
  • The size of a file for SVG can grow faster if the object has a large number of small elements. For canvas images, the file size has not increased much.
  • SVG is mainly better for an application with fewer elements or items. Canvas is better for thousands of objects and careful manipulation.
  • SVG graphics are mainly developed using mathematical functions and formulas which require less data stored in the source file. In Canvas, there are many strategies to develop to draw the graphics.
  • In SVG, the event model or user interaction is abstracted. For Canvas, the event model or user interaction is granular.


Both, SVG and Canvas are used for creating or developing images and shapes. The developers use both SVG and Canvas to solve their purpose according to the requirements. SVG is not used to create dynamic applications like gaming, and canvas is not used for its poor rendering of text and animation. Both SVG vs. Canvas are used for making rich graphics on the web, but they are fundamentally different.

SVG mainly relies on files, whereas canvas primarily uses scripting. SVGs are considered more accessible as they support text, and canvas depends on Javascript. So, if the browser does not support SVG, text can still be displayed. If Javascript has been disabled, the device cannot interpret the javascript output. So, selecting the technology based on the requirement and its usages is necessary.

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