SGF editing software & graphic file formats


I have two question regarding editing.

I compiled a Go dictionary, and of course there are a lot of diagrams. For the pdf and html versions I used CGoban, and the pictures was saved as jpg.

I decided to produce a printed version, where color diagrams will bee to expensive, so must be Black and white. making color pictures BW is not a good option so I need to make them from scratch again, stupid me did not saved sgfs. I chose multigo this time because in BW seems that is very clear image. But I realized that there may be an sgf editor that can save images directly as pictures. Does anybody know about this feature?

And the second question is about the graphic format. it is nothing pretentious, just black and white images to put in a doc and exported as pdf which will be printed. But there may be some details I should know before choosing the file format.

Anyone here with experience in printing?


Here is an online SGF editor that supports saving snapshots as image files:
You can also change the theme to a black-and-white “book style” under the settings.

There are various go typesetting packages listed here on Sensei’s Library that you might find useful:
Some of them work within the LaTeX typesetting system to directly produce graphics embedded within the prepared PDF document


Thanks, very useful. It looks very good.
And wow, it even crops the board. I thought of it but did not dared to ask :slight_smile:


Just on the off-chance you preffered desktop aplication I remember “drago” had the option of exporting positions, but do not recall what theme settings there were.

Latex would be great, but if you have no prior experience with it I would not bother.

If it is intended for print then I would go for some losless image formats - .png should be just fine, but I would probably watch out for the scaling. Not sure what word you are using or how it handles images, but with black and white lines it might potentialy cause problems I guess. If possible it would be great to export the images already with the intended dimensions, rather then scale them later.

It is probably not a problem with any modern text editor to be honest, but it just came to mind as a potential issue :slight_smile:


and why is that?


I would use a vector graphics format like svg (or direct pdf export). Vector graphics have the advantage to be scalable without looking bad.

If you are going for a pixel graphics format like png you should create them with high resolution.


Just for notice I link here a previous thread about a PDF printed with bad results.
If you follow the link to the “life in 19x19” forum, you’ll see pictures about how scaling can produce weird results on b/w images: look at board lines.

If you want to use pure b/w images, make them with the highest resolution.
Usually a colour image or a greyscale can be good enough for print with 300 dpi (dots per inch).
Pure b/w (sometimes called “bitmaps”, don’t know why) need at least 600 dpi.
Luckily, because of the reduced colour depht (just 1 colour), b/w images can produce smaller files even with a huge resolution. Expecially if they have big clear zones of white and black (no dithering or textures) as it should occour with clean goban diagrams.

Otherwise a vector format would be better, but I don’t know how you could produce vector diagrams.
You could draw them with a vector editor (such as Corel Draw or Adobe Illustrator). But it could be hard work because they for sure don’t know what a SGF is.


Vector would be nice if any export provides such function.

And I am sorry, but I am not sure I agree with the suggestions about highest resolution. If possible, make them the PROPER resolution, to avoid having to re-sample later. There is no point in having three times the resolution you will print. Quite the contrary it can theoretically make a mess because it will have to be resampled later. (although again I say in any modern editor it should work fine as long as you are not making them bigger than you have, just saying what I percieve as the safest possible way :slight_smile: )

PDF in itself is not an original graphic format, it depends on what you put into it. If you start with a bad JPEG it will still be bad when in PDF. Just saying (to avoid potential misunderstandings) that if the PDF printed badly it is not the fault of the PDF, but more likely the source data.


GOWrite can create EPS, SVG and WMF book-quality diagrams.

I would GOWrite give a try. It has support for various vector graphic formats.
GOWrites website states, it is a

Heavy-weight go publishing tool with adjustable printing, clipboard image and export options


This is my experience with comics, where a drawing must be coloured and composed in a page and will for sure be resampled. When all your starting information is just black pixels, better to have plenty of them. :slight_smile:

If I remind well, in the example I pointed (Shape Up), the PDF looked fine.
So I would think the fault was in the printing (and probably the resampling used for printing) than in the source data.
I just wanted to point out that a good looking PDF could become a bad looking print. Watch out.

Also the Adobe PDF software that I used in the past was not so friendly and customizable about image resolution. So it happened that a high resolution source image was resampled by PDF software to make a small file (that wasn’t needed nor required in that case) and I couldn’t be able to avoid that (my fault probably).

All this just to say: beware! “To put in a doc and export as pdf which will be printed” could be problematic.


I think at least part of the issue with the Shape Up PDF and printing was that various fonts were not properly embedded in the PDF. For users that had those fonts installed on their system, the PDF looked fine. However, for other users without those fonts (including myself), the PDF looks bad on the screen.

It seems that the Amazon print-on-demand system also did not have those fonts available, and hence their printing had kerning issues.

However you create your PDF, be sure to embed all fonts to avoid issues! I’ve even come across academic papers where missing fonts actually cause printing to completely fail (at least for some of the popular PDF viewers on a Linux system).


Would you be willing to share the stuff? (as in show, not as in give up your rights on it) :slight_smile: if you have the .html ready for example. I would be curious to have a look.


Oh, sorry, the stuff is already public, I just not thought to post the link because is Romanian version., not interesting for the rest of the world. And it is a translation of the English versions also public found on,

And my translation was for free, so there are no rights required for this work, anyone is free to distribute it as see fit. If somebody wish to make money with it… good luck. The targeted market is minuscule, and if somehow that somebody succeed to make it bigger, than deserves ten thousand more than can get on dictionaries sold :slight_smile:

And sorry, just discovered that pictures for letter a and b, are missing. Picassa messed things, I need to fix them, but the doc version is there with all pictures.


I just assumed that this


transformed in this


is worse than this

So for me is not a good option, maybe I am wrong, what do you think?


I don’t know any other SGF editor that could potentially export as SVG (or any vectorized format), except for this:

I wrote a free, open-source SGF editor (BesoGo). You can play with it here: :point_left: default theme :point_left: book (black/white) theme
and the code is available here:

Note: to avoid displaying the blue cross indicating the previous move, either use the edit stones feature or just simply pass after making a move. In a future version, I’ll add an option to just hide/change the next move marker altogether.

My editor renders the board as an SVG, which is then subsequently styled with CSS to support themes. Currently, it does not natively support exporting the SVG as a stand-alone file (or convert to PNG), but this does seem to be pretty easy to add ( Hence, I could add this feature, if there is interest.

BUT, there is a hack to extract any SVG rendered image from any website (and works with mine):
Use SVG Crowbar 2 in particular.

This seems to work with my editor. However, right now, the only ugliness is that the SVG file is quite larger than it needs to be, since it includes an overlay layer and transparent objects that I used to implement click-detection and the mouse-over graphics. If I were to build this feature directly into my editor, I could clean up the file of these extraneous objects first.

Anyways, the above is the only tool that I know that could generate an SVG of a board position from a simple point-and-click SGF editor. Many other editors use the raster-based canvas environment to draw the board.


I used TikZ (a latex pacakge) to create the graphics in this presentation:

go introduction
It was slow going to place all of the stones though!


i don’t know. if you are starting from scratch, then of course the bottom one is better. But considering you already have the coloured pictures, and all the trouble needed to create a new set of b/w pictures again, maybe the top one isn’t that bad after all. it’s still readable.


Actually you may be right. I just assumed that will look bad, did not tested it. And as it seems some will may find it better. So I will print a page to test how it looks on paper. It will save me few hundreds of hours of work. I am willing to waste those hours because I really like a clean diagram. But I will listen to others opinions. Thank you for yours.


Greyscale can become paler or darker when printed, depending on the printer and settings you use. So some tests are definitely worth trying.


it works for you. It has export to svg and pdf as vector formats. in addition to other export uses