Working with Guides in Inkscape

Guides (or Ruler Guides) are lines that can be placed on the document, useful for lining up and snapping elements. Guides can be a little non-discoverable in inkscape, so this article gives you a few quick tips to get the most out of guides in inkscape.

1. Quickly creating a guide

A guide can be quickly created by clicking on either the vertical or horizontal ruler, and dragging onto the canvas. If you drag from close to where the corners meet, an angled guide will be created:dragging-guides

 

2. Converting a path to Guides

Any object or path can be converted to guides Using Objects > Objects to guides (or keyboard shortcut Shift + G)

convert-path-to-guides

3. Deleting a guide

To Delete a guide, hover the mouse cursor over the guide, and press the Delete key on the keyboard.

deleteguide

4. Rotating a guide

To rotate a guide, hover over it with the mouse, and press the Shift Key. The cursor will change to a rotate cursor. Click and drag the guide to rotate it. Additionally, you can hold down the Control Key to restrict the rotate to 15 degree chunks.

rotateguide

5. Changing the colour of a guide

**Update** – thanks to twitter user @daishi424 for pointing out that the guide colour change is only in inkscape 0.91 (as yet unreleased) and newer versions of inkscape

To change the colour of a guide, double click the guide to bring up the Guideline dialog. Click the colour switcher button under the Label field to change the colour of the guide

guide

6. Labeling Guides

**Update** – thanks to twitter user @daishi424 for pointing out that the guide labeling is only in inkscape 0.91 (as yet unreleased) and newer versions of inkscape

The Guidelines dialog (shown when you double click a guide) also allows you to set labels to your guides. These Labels are shown on the guide at the Guide Origin (the small circle that is on every guide)

labelled-guides

Inkscape 0.91 Feature — Keyboard Shortcut Editor

The Inkscape developers are hard at work developing the new version of Inkscape (0.91). This post is part of a series that will outline some of the awesome new features that will be available when Inkscape 0.91 is released.

Previously, to change Inkscape’s keyboard shortcut configuration to another one of the included presets involved moving files around in the Inkscape config directory. Configuring your own keyboard shortcuts required you to hand-edit an XML file like this.

In Inkscape 0.91 there is a brand new keyboard shortcut editor (under Interface > Keyboard Shortcuts in the Preferences Dialog). This addition provides a GUI for the user to view the key combinations available in the current shortcut scheme, switch between the included preset schemes, and edit and change individual shortcuts.

keyboardschortcuteditor

If you want to try out this new feature already, you will need to  Download a “nightly” or “development” version of inkscape. Links to various builds of development versions of inkscape are listed at the Inkscape downloads page.

Inkscape 0.91 Feature — Insert node at a curve’s extreme value

The Inkscape developers are hard at work developing the new version of Inkscape (0.91). This post is part of a series that will outline some of the awesome new features that will be available when Inkscape 0.91 is released.

The upcoming release of Inkscape has a new feature that allows the user to insert new nodes on the selected curve’s extreme values (i.e. you can easily add a node at the highest point in a curve, lowest point, leftmost point or rightmost point).

The tool control bar for the Node Tool features a new dropdown to use this feature. For example, the below animation shows how to insert a new node at the highest point in the selected curve segment by selecting the segment with the node tool, and choosing “Insert Node at Max Y”.

Add_nodes_at_max

If you want to try out this new feature already, you will need to  Download a “nightly” or “development” version of inkscape. Links to various builds of development versions of inkscape are listed at the Inkscape downloads page.

Inkscape FAQ: How do I crop in Inkscape?

One of the most frequently asked questions from Inkscape users is “how do i crop an image or object?”. Inkscape is primarily a vector graphics editor, so when someone asks this question, they could possibly mean something slightly different to a traditional image crop. This FAQ explains a few of the techniques that people actually mean when they say they want to crop in inkscape.

What do you mean when you say “crop”

  • If you have a single path or object (like a star or a rectangle), and want to trim or crop that object down, then Boolean Operations is probably what you need. (click here to jump to how to do this)
  • If you are exporting your inkscape document (SVG) to a bitmap (a PNG) with the “File > Export Bitmap” command, and want to only export a portion of your document, then changing the document size, and just exporting the document is probably the solution for your needs. (click here to jump to how to do this)

 

Clipping

The Clipping feature is an easy and versatile way to crop vector or bitmap/raster objects in Inkscape. Let’s start with our little monster friend that i downloaded from the Open Clip Art Library:

Continue reading

Inkscape 0.91 Feature — Greyscale Colour Mode

The Inkscape developers are hard at work developing the new version of Inkscape (0.91). This post is part of a series that will outline some of the awesome new features that will be available when Inkscape 0.91 is released.

The upcoming release of Inkscape has a new feature that allows an artist to easily view their entire image in greyscale. This feature is useful for those times you want to focus more on drawing layout and space weighting than colour. This mode is separate to the previous Display Modes of Normal, Outline and No Filters, so you can also view your no-filtered drawing in greyscale also.

To enable this mode in inkscape 0.91, simply choose View > Colour Display Mode > Greyscale.

inkscapemodes

 

If you want to try out this new feature already, you will need to  Download a “nightly” or “development” version of inkscape. Links to various builds of development versions of inkscape are listed at the Inkscape downloads page.

The Horizontal and Vertical Bezier technique

Here is a tutorial / article that outlines the “Horizontal and Vertical” Bezier curve technique. Basically, with a little practice, editing beziers can become a lot easier when you align all your handles horizontally or vertically. While this tutorial talks specifically about illustrator, the concept also works with inkscape beziers.

In inkscape, holding down the alt key is the simplest way to constrain your bezier handles to the horizontal or the vertical.

beziers

Where to go for real-time Inkscape help!

There are plenty of places around where you can get your Inkscape questions answered, including the inkscape forum, inkscape answers on launchpad, and the inkscape section on the graphic design stackexchange.

But if you need an answer to a question in real time, the official #inkscape user channel on irc.freenode.net is the best place to go.

Never used IRC before? All Good, as the new inkscape website now has a web app that lets you connect directly through your webbrowser to all the knowledgeable folks in the #inkscape chat!

Inkscape 0.91 Feature — Measurement tool

The Inkscape developers are hard at work getting ready for the release of the new version of Inkscape (0.91). This post is part of a series that will outline some of the awesome new features that will be available when Inkscape 0.91 is released.

The Measurement tool is a new feature for the artist to measure the elements in their drawing. To use the measurement tool, simply choose the tool, click anywhere on the drawing and drag the ruler out. The measurement tool will live-update with measurements of length and angles as you pass over objects in your drawing.

ruler

If you want to try out this new feature already, you will need to  Download a “nightly” or “development” version of inkscape. Links to various builds of development versions of inkscape are listed at the Inkscape downloads page.

Quick things to do with Tile Clones

Tile clones is a powerful feature of inkscape, it allows you to create tiled copies of an object while tweaking the variables on how they are placed and styled. The dialog, however, can be daunting for the artist that is not familiar with it.

In this instalment of the “Inkscape Quick Tips” series on Tuts+, Aaron Neize provides a brief intro into the tile clones dialog, and shows you a few quick, yet awesome things you can achieve with it.

repeating-4

How do you rotate in inkscape?

How do i rotate is one of the most frequently asked questions for beginner Inkscape users. There are multiple ways to rotate in inkscape, and this FAQ will show you the basics for four of them. The three different ways for rotating objects are: the toolbar buttons, the on-canvas rotation handles, transform dialog, and the keyboard shortcuts.

Method 1, the toolbar buttons

Rotating with the toolbar buttons only lets you rotate objects 90 degrees at a time. To rotate with the toolbar buttons, first choose the select tool:

Next, select the object that you want to rotate by simply clicking on it. Once you have clicked on the group once, arrows  and a dotted line should appear around the object:

Finally, press the rotate button on the toolbar to rotate your selection in 90 degree increments.

Method 2, Rotate on Canvas

Using the toolbar buttons to rotate objects in inkscape is by far the easiest method to discover. However, it only lets you rotate in 90 degree increments.

For a wider range of motion, using the on-canvas rotate handles is the way to go. As with the previous method, choose the select tool, and then select the object that you wish to rotate. The select box and handles should appear as before:

Now that the resize handles are visible, simply click on the object again to display the rotate handles:

Now that the rotate handles are visible, simply click on one of them, and drag it to rotate your object freely.

Method 3, the Transform dialog.

The free rotate that the on-canvas rotate controls (method 2) give are great, but what if you need more accurate control? When using method 2, you can hold down the ctrl key to limit the rotation to 15 degree increments, but what if you want to rotate the object by a specific, arbitary amount?

That is where the transform dialog comes in. First, as with the other methods, select the object that you want to rotate. Then open the transform dialog from the menu, Object > Transform.

Switch to the “Rotate” tab of the newly opened Transform Dialog, enter in how many degrees you need your object rotated, and click apply to rotate.

Method 4, the keyboard shortcuts

This method is super simple. Select the object(s) that you wish to rotate, and press the square brackets key( [ or) to rotate left and right by chunks.

For finer-grained rotation with the keyboard shortcuts, use the shortcuts alt + [ and alt + ] to rotate one degree at a time.


The four methods above outline the basics of rotating objects in inkscape. For further information about rotating and transforming objects in Inkscape the “Select Tool” chapter of the Inkscape Manual has more detailed information, including how to change the rotation point or rotation center of your object. The transforms chapter of Tav’s Inkscape Guide also provides some in-depth documentation of rotating in Inkscape.

Are we close to a release of the next version of Inkscape?

It has been a long wait for the next version of Inkscape. The last major release of Inkscape was over 3 years ago back in August 23, 2010. And since then, the inkscape developers have been hard at work adding a multitude of new and awesome features to our favourite open source vector graphics editor.

However, the question that most people ask is when is the next version of inkscape being released? About a month ago, after a long-standing blocker was resolved,  Inkscape developer Martin Owens asked this question on the inkscape-devel mailing list. The basic consensus on the mailing list was that all the important blocker bugs (the count was 10 in September) needed to be resolved before the release process could even start.

Now, a month later, after a busy month, the awesome inkscape developers have whittled this down to 3 blockers. Martin writes on fedora-devel:

Hey Devs,

This is the bi-weekly report on our release-hope goal:

Blockers: 3 
 * High #1163449 Imported bitmap appear blurry when zoomed in
 * Medium #953992 Imported pattern fill disappers while transforming
 * Medium #1005892 Patterns applied to text objects are blurred

If you can fix one of these, please do. We can use all the help to
debug, locate the errors causing these regressions and fix them. These
blockers are high priority for our project goals.

So, we are inching ever closer to an Inkscape release!

Creating Interactive SVGs

Here is a tutorial from Máirín Duffy explaining how to quickly implement interactivity into your inkscape SVGs. The approach the Máirín Duffy takes is great for when you need an Inkscape SVG to have a small amount of interactivity, like a basic User Interface Mockup. However, this approach probably would not scale if for more complex interactive SVGs.

uimockup

 

 

Inkscape pro tip: resizing or rotating selected nodes of a path

A little known feature that was introduced in Inkscape 0.48 was the ability to resize and rotate selected nodes in a path using on-screen handles. These handles behave in the same manner as when rotating or resizing objects with the select tool.

Enabling the onscreen handles

To use this feature, first you need to enable it, so you need to select the Node tool from the toolbox, then flip the toggle to enable display of the resize / rotate handles for nodes:

turniton

Resizing nodes

Now, with the feature enabled, select 2 or more nodes, and the resize handles should appear around them in the same way when you select an object with the selection tool.
Use these handles in the same manner to resize the nodes.

resizenodes

Note also that the ctrl and shift keys work to constrain the transformation in the same way as with the select tool.

Rotating Nodes

The same applies to rotating nodes. Select the nodes to be rotated, then single-click one of the nodes again to enter rotate mode.(just like when free rotating).  Now use the handles in the same to rotate the selected nodes.

rotatenodes

Note also that the ctrl, shift and the rotation point all also work for rotating nodes as it does with the select tool.

Inkscape 0.91 Feature — currently used fonts shortlist

The Inkscape developers are hard at work developing the new version of Inkscape (0.49). This post is part of a series that will outline some of the awesome new features that will be available when Inkscape 0.91 is released.

The inkscape developers have been drastically improving the functionality of the Text tool in inkscape for the 0.91 version. One improvement to the text tool is that when looking at the font list, inkscape now displays the fonts that are currently in use in the document at the top of the list. This super simple improvement makes the text editing user experience much better, as the user had to hunt through the list of all fonts to find a font they had already chosen.

The currently used fonts shortlist is available in both the font list in the tools control bar: fontlist

and in the Text and Font dialog box:

textshortlist2

If you want to try out this new feature already, you will need to  Download a “nightly” or “development” version of inkscape. Links to various builds of development versions of inkscape are listed at the Inkscape downloads page.

Inkscape 0.91 Feature — Selecting objects by style

The Inkscape developers are hard at work developing the new version of Inkscape (0.91). This post is part of a series that will outline some of the awesome new features that will be available when Inkscape 0.91 is released.

The upcoming release of Inkscape has a new feature that allows an artist to select objects that have the same properties as the currently selected object. For example, you could select an object that has a fill of blue. Then, using the new feature select all other objects in the drawing with a fill set to that same shade of blue:

selectsame

The new feature is a menu choice under Edit > Select Same or as a Context menu if you right click on a selected object.

Also there are other choices available to select same, including: matching both Fill and Stroke, matching just stroke, matching stroke style, or matching on object type.

If you want to try out this new feature already, you will need to  Download a “nightly” or “development” version of inkscape. Links to various builds of development versions of inkscape are listed at the Inkscape downloads page.

Inkscape 0.91 Feature — Exchange position of selected objects

The Inkscape developers are hard at work developing the new version of Inkscape (0.91). This is the first in a new series of posts that will outline some of the awesome new features that will be available when Inkscape 0.91 is released.

The new updated Inkscape features a new set of buttons in the Align and Distribute Dialog called Exchange position of selected objects. It adds the ability to exchange the positions of the objects that the artist has selected. In the following example, three objects were selected, and their positions were exchaged with each other (using this new feature) according to their selection order.

swap-objects

There are also two other new buttons in the dialog that allow the artist to exchange the selected objects based on the stacking (z-index) order, or just exchange them clockwise based on there positioning on the page.

If you want to try out this new feature already, you will need to  Download a “nightly” or “development” version of inkscape. Links to various builds of development versions of inkscape are listed at the Inkscape downloads page.