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One of Inkscape's main priorities is ease of use. This is evident on the Main Window as every bar's button (icon), numeric-value and unit of measure boxes will generate a button tip message (help). The Menu bar is title and not button based, so when using these title edits Inkscape still provides updated assistance. Click the Menu's bar File option, mouseover 🖰 and highlight one of the menu's options and the Statusbar (bottom center) will provide an updated Notificaton message describing the highlighted Menu bar item.

The Inkscape default window is laid out with four bars at the top, two on the left, two on the right and three at the bottom. You can create and edit graphics using various displays, such as bars, dialogs, numeric-value and unit of measure boxes. You can also adapt the bars and dialog displays to the way you draw, by customizing the Main Window view with style settings. The window layout of an application is also referred to as the Graphical User Interface (GUI).

Inkscape v0.91, Graphical User Interface (GUI)

  • The Menu bar across the top contains file and graphic based editing.
  • The Commands bar contains common commands associated with file and graphic editing. Related commands are grouped together and seperated by vertical lines (|).
  • The Tool Controls bar displays editing option buttons (icons), numeric-value (if applicable) and unit of measure boxes for the currently enabled Toolbox bar tool.
  • The Rulers bar shows the x and y axis positioning of the cursor on the canvas and is one source for placing Guidelines over the canvas.
  • The Scrollbars are placed to the right and bottom, adjacent to the canvas.
  • The Snap Controls bar is displayed on the right side of the user interface and sets the snapping methods (modes).
  • The Pallete bar below the bottom Scrollbar and above the Statusbar displays customizable color palletes.
  • The Statusbar at the very bottom of the interface, displays common editors, dynamic tool-tip messages of the current on Canvas node/handle mouse-over 🖰, edits and Menu bar interaction being performed.
  • The Canvas area is the play area for your creations.
  • The Page can be seen as the print/export area, even though one can print/export from multiple areas.

The sub Menu option View ‣‣Show/Hide allows on and off display of various bars, the Menu bar is the only bar that cannot be hidden.

If you work with two or more files, you can position each window side by side on the screen or across multiple monitors. You can also switch between file windows using;

  • View ‣‣Next Window or ⇧ Shift+Tab ↹
  • View ‣‣Previous Window or Ctrl+⇧ Shift+Tab ↹

Interface basics[edit]

The Inkscape interface is based on the user friendly GNOME Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) standard. The HIG applies visual idicators (background changes) and feedback (pop-ups, tool-tip and notification messages) for any interface buttons, numeric-value and units of measure boxes, on canvas editing icons, bounding boxes, guides, etc. and Menu bar commands.

Here are some examples of Inkscapes HIG features:

  • Mouseover 🖰 the cursor on top of any interface button, numeric-value or unit of measure box and the interface will display a pop-up (feedback) description of the button and boxes. And if the button or box is available for execution, the interface will highlight the button/box with a light blue visual idicator (background).
  • When a button or numerical-value box foreground is grayed out, it indicates that the button/box cannot be used under the current canvas selection/status, but will still display a pop-up message.
  • Edit/Tool buttons that are currently enabled will have blue (aqua) square/rectangle backgrounds.
  • Mouseover 🖰 on top of any on canvas editing icons (i.e., nodes, handles, segments, etc) and the editing icon will change colors and generate a tool-tip message in the Statusbar's Notification area.
  • When Snap Controls are enabled, during the 'snap to' action an on-canvas pop-up messages will briefly display feedback on how the snap will be placed (example, Bounding Box corner to Bounding box Corner)
  • Within the Statusbar there is a Notification Area that will display dynamic messages based on;
    • Mouseover 🖰 of any on canvas edit icons/segments
    • Menu bar highlighting of command features
    • Menu bar transactions

Interface preferences[edit]

To open the Interface preferences menu, use the Menu bar Edit, ‣‣Preferences... (Ctrl+⇧ Shift+P) and open the <Interface> sub-menu. There are many customizable settings available under the Interface preferences and its three sub-menus. Just like the mouseover 🖰 feature availability for on canvas edits and interface bars, you can also mouseover 🖰 preferences' window items; drop down menus, check box descriptions and value boxes.

Inkscape v0.91, Interface settings and menu mouseover 🖰 feature

The three sub-menus under Interface are; Windows, Grids and Keyboard Shortcuts. Under the Windows sub-menu there is a setting for:
Dialog behavior (requires restart)

  • Dockable
  • Floating

The Dockable setting will place a dialog's (example, Fill and Stroke Dialog) window against (docked) the Snap Controls bar on the right side of the Interface. The Floating setting will place the dialog's window onto the top right area of the Canvas.

Menu bar[edit]

The very top bar of the Inkscape interface is the Menu bar, the Menu contains the basic File, Edit and Help functions like many other programs. A fairly new >File command worth noting is the >>Import Clip Art... window which allows for the searching and importing of files from the Open Clip Art library. The remainder of the Menu bar's commands are related to working with graphic design.

Inkscape v0.91, Menu Bar

Commands bar[edit]

The Commands bar has buttons of frequently used edits such as file options, zoom levels, undo, copy, group, etc. To group associated edits into the same area along the bar the groups are separated by a | vertical line. A great example of this is the grouping of the highly used Zoom levels.

Inkscape v0.91, Commands Bar

Toolbox and Tool Controls bars[edit]

Inkscape v0.91, Tool Controls Bar
Inkscape v0.91, Toolbox Bar

The third bar down is the Tool Controls bar, which changes depending upon the currently enabled tool in the Toolbox bar. The Toolbox bar is located on the left side of the user interface. In the example graphic the Tool Controls bar edits are complementary to the Toolbox bar's Selector Tool.

The Tool Controls bar edit buttons (icons) and numeric-value boxes are editors under the Selector Tool properties and are grouped into five sections, each separated with verticle | lines. Here is a summary of the groupings starting with the left grouping first:

  • ① Select all objects or all nodes(Ctrl+A); ② Select all objects in all visible and unlocked layers (Ctrl+Alt+A); ③ Deselect any selected objects or nodes(Esc)


  • ④ Rotate selected objects 90° counter-clockwise (Ctrl+[); ⑤ Rotate selected objects 90° clockwise (Ctrl+]); ⑥ Flip selected objects horizontally (H); ⑦ Flip selected objects vertically (V)


  • ⑧ Lower selection to bottom (End); ⑨ Lower selection one step (Page Down);
    ⑩ Raise selection one step (Page Up); ⑪ Raise selection to top (Home)


  • ⑫ Horizontal coordinate of selection; ⑬ Vertical coordinate of selection;
  •  ⑭Width of selection; Lock button - See graphic above for mouse-over pop up msg; ⑮ Height of selection; ⑯ Drop down menu, sets the selected object(s) units of measure
For value box shortcuts, see the "Control bar shortcuts" section below


  • ⑰ When scaling objects, scale the stroke width to the same proportion; ⑱ When scaling rectangles, scale the reach of rounded corner; ⑲ Move gradients (in fill or stroke) along with objects; ⑳  Move patterns (in fill or stroke) along with objects

The amount of interface bar button pop-up messages support in Inkscape is very impressive, as it is hard to find a button, numeric-value and unit of measure boxes that do not generate pop-up messages on mouseovers 🖰. The Tool Controls bar example graphic shows a pop-up message, that is generated (feedback) when a mouseover 🖰 is above the Selector's Tool Controls bar open lock button.

Controls bar value boxes[edit]

To access the Tool Controls bar numeric-value boxes and units of measure box:

  • Click inside the numeric-value boxes
  • Click the drop down button in the unit of measure box

There are also Controls bar shortcuts that not only make the navigation of the varying boxes quicker, but will likely lead to a great habit of using more precise settings when creating detail oriented files. While svg editors compliment bitmap editors, svg editors can be seen as another domain for artwork. SVG relies heavily on mathematics and a part of Inkscape's ease of use gateway to its internal mathematics are via these boxes. While the shortcuts below may seem cumbersome at first, over time they will ultimately lead to enhanced graphic creations through ease of use and a 'best practice' of zeroing in on Inkscape's rich mathematics.

Tool Controls bar shortcuts[edit]


The Tool Controls bar provides different buttons and numeric-value boxes for each tool.

jump cursor to the first value box


Use these shortcut keys to move between boxes in the Tool Controls bar.
Tab ↹
⇧ Shift+Tab ↹

jump to the next box
jump to the previous box

Change values

Values can be entered by typing, right-clicking for a preset pop-up menu along with these shortcut key options:
Up Arrow, Down Arrow
Page Up, Page Dn
↵ Enter

change value by 0.1
change value by 5.0
accepts the new value, returns to canvas
cancels value changes made, returns to canvas
cancels value changes made, stays in the value/setting box.

Controls Bar visual feedback[edit]

The currently enabled Toolbox tool will have an aqua colored squared backdrop. The Tool Controls bar also places an aqua colored squared backdrop to any enabled edits. In the Tool Controls graphic there is an example of four edit features grouped together. The first button is not enabled so there is no aqua background on the button, but it is available since it is not grayed out. The next three edits are enabled: and have blue color backgrounds. For new (rookie) graphic designers over looking these settings can lead to re-editing of objects.

Selector tool rate of use[edit]

The Selector Tool is the most used tool in Inkscape. So to improve the ease of use for this tool it has three shortcuts, and is one of the two tools that has a 'toggle' feature. One of the three Selector Tool shortcuts is the Spacebar, which toggles the activation of the Selector Tool. When using any other tool, press the Spacebar to switch to the Selector Tool, then perform the Selector Tool based edit(s). Once the Selector Tool edit(s) are completed press the Spacebar again to return (toggle) to the previously enabled tool.

Toolbox bar description table[edit]

The tools can be enabled from the Toolbox bar on the left side of the interface or by using the shortcut key assigned to the specific tool. To find out what edit/feature each tool provides, simply mouseover 🖰 a Toolbox bar button (icon) and a pop-up message (feedback) will provide the tools title and its assigned shortcut key in parenthesis.

Here is a table with shortcut key(s), tool's name and descriptions for each of the Toolbox tools (v0.91):

Icon Key(s) Action Description
Inkscape icons tool pointer.svg S Select and Transform tool From this option you can, select, freehand move, rotate, flip, raise and lower in steps, raise to top, lower to bottom, change width/height with W/H numeric-value boxes,position with x/y numeric-value boxes, scale, rotate, and skew objects
Inkscape icons edit nodes.svg N Edit Node tool Edit object's nodes, handles and segments to set geometry
Inkscape icons tool tweak.svg W Tweak tool Tweak objects by sculpting or painting
Inkscape icons sticky zoom.svg Z, Q Zoom tool Allows you to access a wide set of zoom operations, Q allows quick (temporary) zoom
Inkscape icons measurement tool.svg M Measurement tool live on-canvas update with measurements of length and angles as you pass over objects in your drawing.
Inkscape icons draw rectangle.svg R Rectangles and Squares tool For creating and editing rectangles and squares, with optional rounded corners (Rx, Ry)
Inkscape icons 3d boxes.svg X 3D Box tool Used to create 3D boxes
Inkscape icons draw ellipse.svg E Circles, Ellipses and Arcs tool For creating and editing circles, ellipses and arcs
Inkscape icons draw polygon star.svg * Star and Polygon tool For creating and editing stars and polygons
Inkscape icons draw spiral.svg I Spiral tool For creating and editing spirals
Inkscape icons draw freehand.svg P Pencil tool Draw lines in freehand or spirol modes, creating dots
Inkscape icons draw path.svg B Bézier curve and line tool For drawing bézier curves and straight lines, spiros, straight line segments and paraxial lines, creating dots
Inkscape icons draw calligraphic.svg C Calligraphy tool For drawing calligraphic or brush objects
Inkscape icons draw text.svg T Text tool For creating and editing text
Inkscape icons tool spray.svg A Spray tool Spray clones, copies or single objects by sculpting or painting
Inkscape icons draw eraser.svg Shift+E Eraser tool Used to erase an area from an object or to delete an entire object
Inkscape icons color fill.svg U Fill (Bucket) tool Used to fill objects with a color or gradient and can also color a stroke (border)
Inkscape icons color gradient.svg G Gradient tool Used to add and edit radial or linear gradients to an object's stroke and fill separately
Inkscape icons color picker.svg D Color Picker (Dropper) tool Used to pick and or drop a color from any image/object to any object within the canvas
Inkscape icons draw connector.svg O Connector tool Used to create diagram connectors

Rulers bar[edit]

Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl+R

The fourth bar down, from the top, is the Rulers bar, this interface bar is two-sided as it also displays along the left side of the Canvas. Both of the rulers directly border the Canvas area. The top bar (left to right) is "horizontal" and is referred to as the X axis. The left bar (down to up) is "vertical" and is referred to as the Y axis within Inkscape. In the example Rulers bar graphic, the X axis ruler's down arrow icon (⏷) and Y axis ruler's right arrow icon (⏵) follow the on-canvas cursor's positioning. If you prefer not to use the Guidelines or Canvas Grids, zooming in while editing nodes, handles, etc will increase the accuracy of on-canvas editing. The Node's Tool Controls bar has precise x/y numeric-value boxes for an objects bottom left bounding line's corner x/y positioning.

The rulers can represent distances by different units of measure and can be set using the following Menu bar command, File ‣‣ Document Properties ‣‣‣Page Tab <Default units>, ⇧ Shift+Ctrl+D. Any changes will be saved with the document, as this is not an entire (application) preference. Inkscape provides the following configurable default units of measure:

  • pt (points)
  • cm (centimeters)
  • m (meters)
  • in (inches)
  • mm (millimeters)
  • pc (picas)
  • px (pixels)
  • ft (feet)
Inkscape v0.91, File ‣‣Document Properties... ‣‣‣Page tab <Default units:> setting

The Document Properties default units (of measure setting) is px (pixels). To verify any change of the default units, simply mouseover 🖰 the Rulers bar and a pop-up will display the default units of measure setting.

Inkscape v0.91, Rulers bar Guideline drags

The Rulers bar is one method of placing guidelines onto the canvas area. The guidelines are in place to assist in editing and are not part of rendering or exporting of any files.

To extract (pull out) a guideline from one of the Rulers bar, switch the Tooolbox tool to either the Selector Tool (spacebar) or the Node Tool (N). For a 0° angle guideline place the mouse cursor over the top X axis ⏷ Ruler Bar, then Drag (Click+Hold) the mouse cursor toward the canvas. A red line will come out of the Rulers bar and will be positioned (x/y) over the canvas where the drag is released. Once released the Guideline will change to the color blue (default). For a 90° angle guideline repeat this drag over the left Y axis ⏵ Ruler Bar.

The graphic (Inkscape v0.91 Rulers bar guideline drags) also shows how to drag pre-configured guidelines from the top left corner for a 45° angle and for a -45° angle from the top right or the bottom left of the Rulers bar.

The command keys Ctrl and ⇧ Shift enhance the edits of the guidelines. Here is the tool-tip message (StatusBar) when hovering the Selector or Node Tool cursor over an existing guideline:

Guideline: horizontal, at 50px; Shift+Drag to rotate, Ctrl+Drag to move origin, Del to delete

To angle a guideline at 15° snap increments drag the guideline using the following key command, Ctrl+⇧ Shift+Drag.

The guidelines can be viewed or hidden by, a Single-Click over the Rulers bar, shortcut ⇧ Shift+| and View ‣‣Guides (Alt+V, U). Displaying the Rulers bar to the user interface can also be viewed or hidden using the following options, Ctrl+R or via the Menu bar View ‣‣Show/Hide ‣‣‣Ruler bars.



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Snap Controls bar[edit]

Keyboard Shortcut: %

The bar to the far right, of the interface, is the Snap Controls bar that enables setting of object snapping modes. In general, snapping is a method for accurate and symmetrical placement of objects onto the canvas. It features edits that easily align items in many different ways.

The very top icon in the bar enables snapping in general for the current file, the keyboard shortcut is assigned to the Snap bar. Once snapping is enabled, there are six main modes available. The first three modes have sub-snap edits available, while the last three have no sub-snap edits.

The first mode of snapping, is Snap bounding boxes. A bounding box is a dashed line, outlining an object's height and width. The Selector and several other tools show an object's bounding box. A bounding box is also displayed when selecting multipls objects.

Inkscape v0.91 Snap bar

The options for Snap bounding boxes include:

  • Snap bounding boxes (must be enabled for setting of following modes)
    • Snap to edges of a bounding box
    • Snap bounding box corners
    • Snap midpoints of bounding box edges
    • Snap centers of bounding boxes

The second mode of snapping, is Snap nodes, paths and path segments, here are the options:

  • Snap nodes, paths and handles (must be enabled for setting of following modes)
    • Snap to paths
    • Snap to path intersections
    • Snap cusp nodes, including rectangle corners
    • Snap smooth nodes, including quadrant points of ellipses
    • Snap midpoints of line segments

The third mode of snapping is Snap to other points (centers, guideline origins, gradient handles, rotation center (+), etc.), options include:

  • Snap to other points (must be enabled for setting of following modes)
    • Snap to centers of objects
    • Snap an objects rotation center (+)
    • Snap text anchors and baseline

The last three snap modes are independant of each other and are not grouped like the previous modes. These snap modes require that the general snapping mode is enabled, shortcut key %.
The independant modes are:

  • Snap to the page border
  • Snap to grids
  • Snap to guides

Palette bar[edit]

Ketboard Shortcut: ⇧ Shift+Alt+P

At the bottom of the user interface below the Scrollbar is the Palette bar. This bar provides fill and stroke coloring options. Fill is the color inside of an object, stroke is the outer edge (border) of an object.

Here is how some of the palette's color edits are placed onto objects:

  • Drag (press and hold the left mouse button) a color box from the palette onto an object and release the drag, this will change the target object's fill. The great benefit of this feature is the object does not have to be selected before the drag color box edit.
  • ⇧ Shift+Drag a color box from the pallete onto an object and release the drag, this will change the object's stroke color. Again, the target object does not have to be selected.
  • Select an object first, then Right-Click a color box in the palette. A pop-up menu provides options to 'Set fill' or 'Set stroke'.
  • Select an object then Left-Click a color box to set the object's fill.
  • Select an object then ⇧ Shift+Left-Click a color box to set the object's stroke.

Inkscape v091, Palette Bar

The top half of the palette bar displays color boxes. To the right of the last displayed color box is a small left arrow. Click the arrow for a menu with the following options:

  • Size; from tiny to huge color boxes (5 settings).
  • Width; from narrower to wider color boxes (5 settings)
  • Border; none, solid and wide (wide setting is shown in the palette bar graphic)
  • Wrap; will add a second row of color boxes to the palette
  • Color theme; there are 21 (v0.91) themes to chose from.

Just below the color boxes is the palette's scrollbar, there are many colors to choose from and most of the color themes require the use of this scrollbar. The scrollbar's default placement is to the left of the palette bar.


The Statusbar delivers routine edit settings and essential display only information.

  • Settings with editing capabilities
    • Style settings; Fill and Stroke style bars, Stroke width setting
    • O: (Opacity) Box ; Numeric-value box
    • Layer; Visibility, Lock/Unlock and Selection box
    • Z: (Zoom) Box; Percentage-value box
    • Window size
  • Displays only
    • Tool-tip and Notification Display; On canvas editing tool-tip, and Menubar interaction messages
    • Cursor Display: X: Y: values of the cursor's coordinates on the canvas
Inkscape v0.91, Satusbar

Style settings[edit]

First, select an object and the style setting (bottom left of the user interface) will update to reflect the style of the object. With the selection still in place, Right-Click the Fill color bar and a pop-up menu will provide the following options:

Inkscape v0.91, Statusbar- Style Settings
  • Edit fill... (opens the Fill and Stroke Dialog, to the Fill tab)
  • Last set(a) color and Last selected(b) color
  • Invert; changes to the contrasting (opposite) color
  • White and Black; color edits
  • Copy/Paste color, Swap fill and stroke
  • Fill;
    • Make fill opaque (full color)
    • Unset fill
    • Remove fill

a) Lest set - will replace the color to the object's last 'set' color, no matter what sequence of selections and edits have occured. This edit is attached to the object's properties and is not attached to a que (chain) of selections. b) Last selected - is a mirror of the common chain based Edit ‣‣Undo, shortcut key Ctrl+Z edit.

The Stroke color bar, Right-Click is a mirror of the Fill pop-up menu (above), but it applies to the selected object's stroke, not the fill. When there is a stroke color displayed, of a selected object, the color bar is narrowed and the stroke's width numeric-value setting is displayed. Right-Click the numeric-value setting and a pop-up menu provides editing of the stroke's unit of measure (i.e., px, mm, inch, etc), preset stroke width values from 0.1 to 32 and a remove (stroke) edit.

Opacity box[edit]

First lets define Opacity with regards to graphic design. The opacity value applies the transparency (see through) percentage of an object or of a group of objects. The perecentage is a unit of measure to which the background behind the object is overlaid.

The Opacity percentage-value, O: box displays the opacity value for the selected object's combined fill and stroke. Right-Click the percentage-value O: box to select preset values from 0% (transparent) to 100% (opaque). Double-Click  the value box to manually enter the opacity setting.

Please note that in Inkscape, Opacity refers to the transparency of both the object's fill and stroke. While the term Alpha refers to Color models (RGB, HSL, CMS, etc.) and allows for individual editing of an object's fill and or stroke.

Layer settings[edit]

The Statusbar's layer settings is a minimized version of the full featured Layers Dialog and allows for quick layer selection/settings. The full Layer Dialog will be covered in the Dialogs chapter. Briefly, layers allow for the creation of and grouping objects within a given layer, not to be confused with the object group/ungroup features. If you are new to graphics, most graphic nerds use layers from a bottom to top method for their artwork, this is a side step as most people see things from a top to bottom view. An example of using layers can be drawn from the creation of a birthday card, here is a quick outline of the potential layers:

  • Text (layer 6 - Top), Happy Birthday _ _ _ _ _!
  • Photograph (layer 5), bitmap of birthday person
  • Candles (layer 4)
  • Balloons (layer 3)
  • Gradient (layer 2), contains a radial gradient or a filter/effect over the background layer
  • 2nd Background/Backrop, contains a different background color for quick comparison
  • Background/Backdrop (layer 1 - Bottom), contains a background color for the birthday card

The Layer settings let you work on one layer and its objects potential filters/effects, with no worry of mistakenly editing other objects. For a first time user the layer features may not seem essential. But as a given creation becomes more complex, the layers make graphic editing so much easier.

Here are the definitions of the Statusbars' layer settings. The first button (eye icon) is the view/hide layer toggle button. Followed, to the right, by the lock/unlock button of the current layer, when a layer is locked the objects within this layer are still displayed but cannot be selected nor edited. The layer's name and its drop down button allows for quick changing between layers. The Statusbar's layer settings are a quick and essential way of moving between layers.

Tool-tips and Notifications display[edit]

The Tool-tips and Notifications display is very helpful for beginners, as it generates Tool-tip Messages by following the sequence of possible on canvas edits one is performing on an object. It also generates Notification Messages when interacting with the Menu bar functions. If you are new to graphics, the tool-tip messages are prominent within graphic programs when compared to other types of programs. Please note Inkscape has thousands of edits, and this display is a key element if you want to grow your graphic design skills and have more fun.

Tool-tip messages[edit]

Here is an example of the on-canvas tool-tip messaging feature. First select the Square and Rectangle tool, then draw a shape on the canvas. While you are actively dragging (editing) a handle the Statusbar's messaging will change and provide command key (Ctrl, ⇧ Shift and Alt) edit tool-tip messages.

Now mouse-over 🖰 one of the rectangles handles, the shape handle will change color (visual indicator) and a new tool-tip message (feedback) will appear. Regardless of the active tool, nearly every on-canvas edit icon will generate a new tool-tip message.

Another example, select the Square and Rectangle tool then draw a shape on the canvas. Except this time once the rectangle is rendered (displayed) on the canvas, mouse-over 🖰 a handle then press and hold one of the command keys, like the Ctrl key. While holding down the command key the tool-tip message updates and provides assistance for the command key you are holding, if applicable this also works when pressing and holding the other command keys (Shift and Alt). Not all of the Toolbar tools use all of the command keys.

When you switch from a newly created rectangle to either the Selector spacebar or Node tool N, the tool-tip messaging will update to the newly enabled tool. Tool-tips messages are extensive and very helpful, here are the on-canvas tool-tips based on frequently used tools:

  • Shape or Path tool active on-canvas edits, along with handle, node, node handles and path segment mouse-overs 🖰.
  • Selector tool active edits of scale, stretch, skew, rotation and center of rotation along with mouse-overs 🖰 also generate tool-tips.
  • The Node tool also generates extensive tool-tips based on active edits and mouse-overs 🖰 of cusp, smooth and auto-smooth nodes, node handles and segments.

Notification messages[edit]

The Statusbar Notifications Messages are generated based on any type of Menu bar interactions, except for the ‣Extensions menu (v0.91). As an example, click File then move the cursor down and highlight the ‣‣Save option. The Statusbar will update and display a new notification message of "Save Document'. Now click on the ‣‣Save option and a new notification message of "Saving file" will be displayed. Once the file save is complete the Statusbar will then display an updated notification message with the file's directory information. While most applications have this similar feature, Inkscape's notifications implementation stands as one of it's best features.

If you are new to graphics, notification messages are very helpful when interacting with the Menu's bar. More than 70% of the Menu bar's commands are based on graphics. These messages provide great help with the understanding of what a specific graphic based command will do and will also update the message if a command failed to execute.

In this example three messages are shown with the last two b) and c) are user errors and shows how the Statusbars display will update with assistance based notification messages on how to execute the command correctly.

1) Command: ‣Object ‣‣Clip <Set>

a) Apply clipping to selection (using the topmost object as clipping path)a
b) No objects selected. Shift+Click, Alt+scroll mouse on top of objects, or drag around objects to selectb
c) Select mask object and object(s) to apply clip path or mask toc
^a Highlighting of command ‣Object ‣‣Clip <Set>
^b Execution of the command with no objects selected
^c Execution of the command with one object selected (clip edit requires 2 or more stacked objects)

Cursor display[edit]

In vector graphics, sometimes the positioning of objects can be cumbersome. But dependant upon what the final workup will be used for positioning can be very important. Laser printers, material cutters will print/cut with precision and therefore any mis-alignment of objects may easily be seen. The X: (horizontal) and Y: (vertical) display shows exactly where the cursor is on the canvas. A higher zoom level increases the accuracy of the cursor's position. Grids, Guides, Snapping and Zoom levels are additional methods for increasing accuracy of object, handle, node, text, etc. vector based placements.

Zoom box[edit]

Keyboard shortcut: Alt+Z

The Zoom box increases accuracy of any on canvas edits. Right-Click the percentage-value box for a pop-up menu with preset zoom levels. The pop-up menu also has options for setting zoom levels to; page, drawing and selection. You can also click inside the value box and set the zoom percentage to your liking.

Tip - When working with blurs, path effects, filters and extensions you may want to set the zoom level to 100%. This will help you see the final workup. As an example, some filters may not seem impactful enough when viewed at 100%. A work-around for this is to stack (repeat) the same filter (at 100% zoom) onto the same object until you are satisified with the filter's edit.

Window size[edit]

At the bottom right corner of the Statusbar is the freehand window size handle. Using this handle is free form, you can set the height and width of the Inkscape window to your monitors liking. To resize the window, Drag the window size handle to the way you want the window to be displayed, then release the mouse.

Like other applications the top right corner of the Inkscape interface has window minimize _ and maximize □ buttons. In the Menu bar there is a full screen option using View ‣‣Fullscreen (Alt+VF) or the shortcut key F11, to toggle back to the previous window display repeat the previous fullscreen menu command or press the shortcut key again.



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Menu types[edit]


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Drop Down menus[edit]


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Popup menus[edit]


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Dock and Float[edit]


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You can pan the canvas in any direction using Ctrl+Arrow keys, or by dragging (click and hold) the middle mouse button (MMB), then moving the mouse in any direction.

Scrolling also works by rolling the middle mouse button, rolling up and down also pans the canvas up and down. To pan left and right, press and hold the Shift key while rolling the MMB (⇧ Shift+MMB) up pans to the left, down pans to the right.

Changing between multiple Inkscape windows, for the next window Ctrl+Tab ↹, the previous window, use  Ctrl+⇧ Shift+Tab ↹ .

To view/hide the scrollbars using the Menu bar, View ‣‣Show/Hide <Scrollbars> or shortcut keys Ctrl+B.

Introduction · Shape Tools