Inkscape - path editing

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This article covers how to manipulate paths in Inkscape, a free and open-source vector graphics editor.

Paths are a sequence of straight line segments and/or Bezier curves that can have fill and stroke properties. Paths are make up of nodes.

To edit a path in Inkscape, select the Node tool from the toolbox, by using the keyboard shortcut (F2), or by double-clicking any a path with the selector tool.


Note: If you cannot see your toolbox, unhide it from View > Show/Hide > Toolbox

Nodes and Handles

Nodes are dots on the path. Handles are... Not all nodes have handles

CTRL click on handle to delete it SHIFT + drag from the node to add it back in

Rotate [ ] Length .,

Manipulate nodes

Select nodes

Show path outline Hide bounding boxes

Click on node to select it Tab to select next node / shift-tab for previous node

Shift- click for next tab CTRL + A for all nodes

Move nodes

Click and drag, arrowns, CTRL to constrain in horizontal or vertical movemtn XY coordinates in the command bar

Spacebar to move objet when in node tool + spacebar to exit //show bezier handles

Add nodes

Double click on the path In the midlde of two nodes: select two then: shift + I Add node on top of other nodes: shift + d

Delete node

CTRL + delete = delete and changes the path Delete = delete and does not change the path

Node types

There are 4 types of node handles styles. Can convert from one node type to another by clicking the buttons in the commands CTRL + click to cycle through modes

Name Shape Used for # of handles Handle control Shortcut
Corner/Cusp(?) Diamond Sharp corners, change of direction 0,1 or 2 handles move independently Shift + c
Smooth Smooth curves Square 2 move in unison, length can be adjusted independently Shift + s
Symmetrical Square 2 position and length are linked Shift + y
Auto-smooth Octagon Similar to smooth but nearby handles are reshaped as you move 2 --- Shift + a

Combining and splitting paths