What Is Inkscape?


Inkscape is an open source, vector graphics software program compatible with SVG standards that offers sharp print output and flexible resizing without loss of resolution, supported by web browsers.

Younger youth and adults can become acquainted with the program via YouTube’s selection of high-quality screencasts – such as this one about creating beautiful stellations.

What is Inkscape?

Inkscape is a free and open source vector graphics program used for artistic and technical illustrations such as cartoons, clip art, logos, diagramming and flowcharting. Based on XML and W3C Web standards for SVG file storage format support to provide advanced features not found elsewhere, Inkscape boasts rich functionality not available with other vector software packages.

Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw, but supports more file formats and boast an extensive feature set comparable to these programs. Cross platform, it runs on Apple Mac OS X, Linux and Microsoft Windows PCs – as well as supporting third-party plugins and extensions.

Objects are drawn on paths which can be edited through nodes, then moved, rotated, resized and made visible or invisible as required. Layers provide the means for stacking them to meet individual preferences for stacking orders. In addition, this program offers image tracing from raster data as well as text editing features including font, line spacing, kerning ligatures font size rotation etc.

Shape tools include rectangles and squares, 3D boxes, circles and ellipses, stars and polygons. Text can be created in several fonts, sizes and styles such as Bold Italics Condensed Heavy. Clones can be resized rotated moved independently from their parent object while changing attributes like blur, opacity or color as needed.


Inkscape is a vector graphics program and its interface focuses on working with vector objects. The workflow features various tools that facilitate manipulating primitive vector shapes like rectangles, ellipses and arcs as well as more complex ones like 3D boxes with adjustable perspectives, stars, polygons and spirals. Their borders may be filled with solid colors or patterns or filled with gradients of solid or linear color gradients; and transformation may occur by skewing, scaling rotating and moving them around.

Inkscape provides users with tools and object transformations, but also provides editing paths – which connect points, edges or circles to form complex designs such as logos and illustrations.

The main menu can be found in the upper left corner, and dockable dialogs for specific functionality can be found along the right side. Additionally, there is a Snap Controls bar which contains icons allowing for accurate placement of objects on canvas using different snap modes – you may turn this feature on or off depending on your working habits – plus it contains a toolbar with commonly-used functions.


Inkscape allows users to easily create vector shapes (squares, circles, ellipses and polygons), paths and text. Once created, these objects can be filled with solid colors or patterns while being given basic transformations such as moving, rotating scaling skewing cloning attributes such as transparency blur opacity color gradients etc.

Paths are complex objects that can be edited using various commands such as cutting and pasting, joining paths together or intersecting them, performing Boolean operations and more. Inkscape allows paths to be combined together into compound paths using Ctrl+K/Ctrl+Shift+K commands or broken apart using Ctrl+Shift+K commands respectively, or altered into different curves by selecting their nodes with Node tool.

Other objects included in Inkscape include text, patterns and clones that can be edited according to their specific use case – for instance text can be formatted using font selection in Text menu and Character properties editing in Character menu or edited directly via Inkscape itself. Furthermore, Inkscape can rasterize vector graphics to produce pixel-based images suitable for web pages or printing.


SVG documents are made up of paths. Paths are composed of straight line segments or Bezier curves connected by nodes with either fill or stroke properties, along with handles at either end for connecting other paths. Nodes and handles on paths can be modified by clicking them directly, using toolbar buttons or mousewheel.

When you click on a path, Inkscape automatically highlights and selects its nodes, enabling you to easily drag nodes by their handles to change the shape of the path. Arrow keys such as Tab, [, and > work in exactly the same way as they do in object selector for this task.

Every object can be easily turned into a path using the Object-> Path menu, then edited as you would any other path; most objects will likely stay their respective shapes (i.e. circle as circle and rectangle as rectangle). Furthermore, compound paths and compounds of paths can also be combined or broken apart using this technique.


Layers in Inkscape provide a powerful means to organize your work into distinct levels that can be edited and viewed independently of one another. By default, every document includes at least one layer (known as Layer 1) as its starting point.

To create a new layer, click on the green plus sign icon at the bottom of Layer Settings page. A new layer will be created directly above your current layer and can be named to meet your specific needs – for instance Text for use when entering names, job titles, phone numbers or addresses.

Each layer can contain multiple objects that are independent from one another, making your artwork much simpler to manage. As you work, layers can be moved, reordered and merged as necessary; additionally they can also be locked so they cannot be altered until unlocked – helpful when working on large documents that could alter anything outside their immediate area of influence by mistake.

The Layers dialog box features arrows to help you move layers up or down within their stack. For instance, using either Up or Down buttons allows you to raise or lower selected layers within their stack – click Up for raising to the top, Down for lowering them back down again.


Text in Inkscape offers many possibilities. The primary use case is creating text objects you can type or copy and paste from external sources into. Once created, these can then be formatted using controls from either Commands Bar and Font Palette of text tool or via its Text and Font menus.

Use these options to change the size or style of the text you are typing; bold or italicize it; change font style based on font choice (for instance condensed font will cause closer spacing of letters while script font makes them further apart), etc.

Add text to a path for further customization by selecting both it and its surrounding shape, then selecting Text | Put on Path from the drop-down menu of your Node Toolbar. Alternatively, press Shift + R for further direction adjustments of this path.

Converting text to paths is one way of ensuring it will display correctly when exported into vector formats like PDF. This is essential if you plan on sharing your artwork with someone who doesn’t use the same fonts that were used during its creation.


Cloned objects are exact copies of existing objects on screen and in xml code. Changes made to the original will immediately impact its clones; this includes modifications that change their style (fill and stroke paint). Clones can be transformed independently; however if its fill and stroke paint changes all subsequent clones down its hierarchy will too; thus it is sometimes desirable to unlink one from its parent so that changes to it do not impact it directly.

Edit > Clone – Unlink Clone (Shift + Alt + D). This will disconnect the link between the original and its copy, so any modifications to either will no longer affect both.

Create Tiled Clones is another way of creating multiple copies of an object quickly and easily, producing a grid of squares cloning it exactly. This method works well when creating patterns due to being easy to control the exact spacing of each clone – however it may not be flexible enough when it comes to changing its size, shape or nodes; Edit Clone – Relink to Copied can help here.

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