Tool Grouping and Interface suggestions

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Toolbar re-arrangement possibilities

As new tools are added, the current toolbar is getting rather long. Possible solutions include a combination of the following:

  • Grouping tools
  • Enabling hiding of some tools like in Gimp
  • Double toolbars or moving the toolbar to the top (arguable)
  • Enable “presets” bars.

Tool grouping

Tools such as rectangle, circle, star and spiral can be grouped into a Shapes tool for example.

Some possibilities:

  1. Clicking on the tool opens list of sub-tools
    • Pros: Straightforward grouping and access.
    • Cons: user has to click the tool to find the sub-tools needed.
  2. Sub-tools available as “modes” in the tool control bar
    • Pros: Top-level access.
    • Cons: Screen clutter.
    • Notes: Clutter can be reduced if the tool control bar is “dynamic”, i.e. options change depending on the sub-tool used.
  3. Sub-tools available as “drop-downs” in the tool control bar
    • This is what the “Shapes” option in Bezier and Freehand tools currently achieved.
    • Pros: You can add as many sub-tools as you want.
    • Cons: Difficult access.
    • Notes: Also requires “dynamic tool control bar” to avoid cluttering the tool control bar with sub-options.
  4. Sub-tools appear next to tool control bars
    • Pros: Because separate bars are involved, the tool control bar does not need to be dynamic, since they’re essentially separate tool control bars for separate tools.
    • Cons: Permanent sub-tool bar takes up permanent space.
  5. Tool mode vs sub-tool

Is it possible for a shortcut to link to a tool mode (for example, the "Circle" mode of a "Shape" tool), rather than the tool itself? If not, then some options should be made into independent sub-tools.

This limitation could be limited thanks to "Presets toolbars" however.

List of Tool grouping and subtool display options

Presets bars

Presets bars could be accessed from an arrow in the toolbar, and either:

  • Show the presets in place of the current toolbar (which remains available as a "default" mode)
  • Open an independant floating dialogue, where you can add new tools via drag and drop

Default presets are available according to functions. Examples:

  • Technical drawing: selection, technical drawing tools, text...
  • Graphs: shapes (diagrams?), text, connectors
  • Font design: guides, powerstroke, etc.

Tool presets for easy access to certain functions?

Other toolbar size control methods

An option could exist to hide tools that are not commonly used.

Inkscape could also have two bars instead of one, though this doesn’t really solve the issue.

Toolbar and sub-tools grouping

This describes a possible grouping of existing tools, as well as the addition of new tools and sub-tools.

  • Select/transform
    • Resize/Rotate
    • Perspective deform
    • Envelop Deform (includes “Envelop”?)

Offset and extrude will be new tools allowing the user to control offsets and extrusions on canvas. This could be useful for technical drawing.

  • Tweak
    • Object tweaks
    • Node tweaks?
    • Other tweaks?

(Breakdowns if users find the current interface too long?)

  • Guides
    • Point
    • Axis
    • Grid
    • Circular/Angular
    • Perspective
    • Composition

See Guides improvement blueprint.

  • Tiles and symmetries
    • Symmetries
    • Radial clones
    • Tiling
    • Clones along path
  • 2D Shape tool
    • Line
    • Rectangle
    • Circle
    • Star
    • Spiral

See Tech drawing blueprint. New tool: line, as well as new modes to be allowed for rectangles and circles, namely alternate means of construction by placing points on canvas.

  • Technical drawing
    • I'm not 100% what should be going in here, but where possible it could be integrated into existing tools (node, shapes) as modes and sub-tools?
  • 3D Shape tool
    • 3D box
    • Cylinder
    • Sphere
    • (etc.)
  • Freehand tool
    • Line shape: markers and line styles (dots etc.)
    • Diagram connectors?
    • Powerstroke shape: presets drop-down. Has two modes: normal and "with fill."
    • Custom shape (LPE): shows width and repeat options from tool control. Grouped with Clipboard.
    • Sketch (currently an LPE)

Additions to the tool control bar for Freehand and Bezier sub-tools

  • Bezier tool

(see Freehand)

  • Text tool
    • Typing (main mode)
    • Separate kerning mode? (for those with small screens?)
    • Text-flow? (for flowing text onto paths or into objects)
    • Text diagram? (some default text boxes for those making graphs or comics)
  • Calligraphy, Ruler, Spray, Zoom, Eraser, Bucket, Gradient, Color Picker
    • No change.
  • Mesh Gradient
    • New tool.
  • Pattern tool
    • (Rather than just make you choose from a drop-down, pattern tool allows you to generate and control some common patterns like stripes, dots etc.)