Inkscape Interface


The Inkscape interface is constituted of elements which are designed to make work simple, harmonious and contextual. It is composed principally of a single window in which drawings are created and manipulated. Within the window are particular components which it is important to identify in order to easily navigate the software.



We may divide it into eight major areas:

  1. the Menu (at the top of the window)
  2. the Commands Bar
  3. the Toolbox
  4. the Tool Controls Bar (also called just Controls Bar)
  5. the Canvas
  6. the Rulers, Guides and Grids
  7. the Palette
  8. the Status Bar


  1. メニュー (ウィンドウのトップ)
  2. コマンドバー
  3. ツールボックス
  4. ツールコントロールバー (単にコントロールバーとも呼ぶ)
  5. キャンバス
  6. ルーラガイドグリッド
  7. パレット
  8. ステータスバー

The Menu



As in most GTK applications, the Inkscape Menu contains the essential functions of any program, those which concern the application itself: [New], [Open], [Save], [Export], [Quit], etc. The functions relating to drawing are also present in the Menu.

大多数のGTKアプリケーションと同じように、Inkscapeのメニューはどんなプログラムにも用意されている、そのアプリケーション自身を対象とした基本的な機能が含まれています。[New], [Open], [Save], [Export], [Quit], などです。またメニューには、ドローイングに関する機能も用意されています。

The Commands Bar



The Commands Bar is located at the top of the workspace directly underneath the Menu. It contains icons which are shortcuts to commands which are otherwise accessible from the menus or shortcut key commands. It also contains other controls for manipulating the document and drawing objects. For example, from the Commands Bar you can open a new or existing document, print, import an image, undo previous commands, zoom, open the dialog to adjust document properties, etc. It is possible to see all the functions by hovering over each one and reading the tooltips.


There may be an arrow on the right side of the Commands Bar pointing down which you can click to reveal any command shortcuts that were not able to fit on the bar due to monitor size or resolution settings.



The Toolbox and Tool Controls Bar



The Toolbox, consisting of vertically aligned buttons located on the left of the window, is Inkscape's main editing control. It contains the basic set of drawing utilities, in particular for creating and editing shapes. There are controls for geometric shapes as well as free-form shapes and lines, text, and fills (colors and gradients).


Located directly under the Commands Bar is the Tool Controls Bar.



When each tool is selected in the Toolbox, the Tool Controls Bar changes to show particular options associated with that tool. Depending on context, some of these options affect the selected object while some take effect only when drawing a new object; others can affect either existing or new objects.


The Canvas


The Canvas is the main workspace, and is the most central and important part of the interface, since it is here that the drawing is created and viewed. It is located in the middle of the window and is represented as a blank "page" with open space around it. By default, there is a Ruler above and a Ruler to the left of the Canvas which is set to measure in pixels (the standard SVG unit), but these defaults (ruler visibility and unit) can be adjusted in [Document Properties].

While the "page" defines the boundaries of a document intended for certain media (print, export, etc.), an SVG is not limited to the page boundaries. In fact, the page border and shadow can be made invisible in the [Document Properties]. Some artists will prefer to use a particular page boundary and use the white space as "scratch paper"; others will prefer not to be limited by page boundaries.


The Rulers are graduated lines placed on top and left of the canvas. The first is called "horizontal" and the second "vertical". Graduations represent distances and are expressed in units that can be set in the Units option of the Page tab of the [File] > [Document Preferences].

When the mouse is over the canvas, two triangles appear in the rulers to show its X and Y coordinates, relative to the page's bottom left corner. Those coordinates are also displayed in the Status Bar (at the bottom of the document window) on the left, near the Zoom Control.

Note : In SVG, coordinates begin at the bottom left of the document like in Cartesian geometry.

[Ctrl] + [R] is a quick way to hide or display the Rulers. One can also do that with the [View] > [Show/Hide] > [Rulers]



Guides are user-defined 'magnetic' lines. Using Guides makes object alignment easy even with the mouse. To use Guides, click and drag from the Rulers to the point where the Guide is to be inserted and release. Clicking and dragging from the horizontal Ruler produces a horizontal Guide. Clicking and dragging from the vertical Ruler produces a vertical Guide.

How to use

Moving Guides

When the Selector Tool [F1] is active, passing the mouse over a Guide will change its color to red. Then, click and drag the Guide where you want.

Deleting guides

To delete a guide, just drag it to the appropriate Ruler with the Selector Tool [F1]

Guide Visibility

To make Guides invisible, without deleting them, select [View] > [Guides] from the Menu Bar. The keyboard shortcut for toggling Guide visibility is [Shift] [|](hold shift and press the pipe - [|] - key, which is usually paired with the backslash key.)


[File] > [Document properties] let define if Guides should be displayed as default and change the color both of the Guide itself and for the highlight when the mouse passing over. Guides are also often used with snapping that makes it much more easier to place object on the canvas, especially for precise or technical drawings. In this case just check the <span class="menu">Snap guides while dragging</span> checkbox.


Instead of using lots of Guides, it can be useful to activate Grids. Do this with the [View] > [Grid] menu or press # ([Shift] + [3] ).

There are of 2 types : rectangular and axonometric. They can be defined in the window from the [Document Properties] > [File] menu. Most commonly used is the rectangular Grid which is made of vertical and horizontal lines.

Axonometric Grids allow the user to define any kind of angled Grid which can be interesting for technical or architectural drawings.


Here is an example of standard axonometric Grid.


How to Use

To chose between one of those, just drop down the list in the document properties and click the new button. A new tab is created within the main one (one can define several Grids for a single document). Then define the units you would like to use and both the Origin point and the distance between to lines of the Grid. When on Axonometric Grids another option to define the angle is available.


The user will use or not this Grid in the document


The user will see or not the grid on the canvas. This is the default value for that grid. But if the [View] > [Grid] is uncheck, the Grid won't be visible on the Canvas even if [Visible] is checked here.

Grid Units

Many commonly used units are available from mm, to feet and px. Choose the one that best suits your needs. If no special needs, keep the default px.

Origin X and Y

Define the beginning point of the Grid. Usually set to '0' (zero) it is useful to change if an offset is needed especially to define margins from the Canvas side.

Spacing X and Y

Defines the space between to lines of the Grid. These spaces can be different for horizontal and vertical lines so that the Grid pattern can be set to any kind of rectangle.

Angle X and Y

Only available for axonometric Grids, lets define the angle of the Grid lines.

Grid line color

Default color for the Grid is blue, but this can be changed here. There are two kinds of line. The most often used is the Grid line, but the major Grid line helps to evaluate the distance especially when the grid spacing is short and that many lines are displayed. In this case, one can define a different color for each, and set the frequency of major grid line , usually 5 or 10.

Show dots instead of lines

Since lines can overload the screen, it can be uneasy to work with Drawing Tools. It can be done here.



Swatches is a quick way to apply color on shapes. It is display at the bottom of the Canvas, or in a window by [View] > [Swatches] ( [Shift] + [Ctrl] + [W] )

How to Use

To find the color you like, just scroll the swatch line and choose. Yo can change the color by another preset by clicking the triangle at the right of the bar and choose one.

To apply a color in a shape as a fill color, just click on a color after selecting one or more shapes.

To apply the color on the stroke, press [Shift] while clicking and it's done.

Status Bar

Status Bar is the bottom-most of Inkscape interface. It includes (from left to right) :

  • Color indicator for the object
  • Quick layer selector
  • Help message area
  • Mouse Coordinate indicator
  • and finally a zoom factor in which one can right the factor he wants to use.