Difference between revisions of "Inkscape glossary"

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[[Category:User Documentation]]

Revision as of 03:11, 20 June 2006

This is a beginning of an Inkscape glossary. Please respect it and contribute to it if you work on Inkscape UI. If you are doing translations, please create and link below a similar glossary for your language.


A good reference for SVG vocabulary is the [SVG standard website](hosted by the [W3C]) itself.


  • Object: an independent editable thing on the canvas. May be a path, a shape, a text object, a group, etc.
  • Path: object, with nodes, but without handles. For example a line created using the Freehand tool.
  • Live Shape: an object that does not display nodes but may have controls. An example is a circle or star. A live shape can be converted to path by Convert to Path command.
  • Node: point of a path that you can manipulate with. If you use Node tool, then it is displayed as gray or blue (if selected) rectangle on a path. Shapes do not have nodes, only handles. Node can have one or two handles too - displayed as circles connected to node. They modify Bezier's tangents.
  • Handle:
    • One of two points around a node, displayed (for selected nodes) as a circle connected with its node by a line (node handles);
    • The arrows around the selected object in selector (scale handles, rotation handles);
    • Points on a shape that can be dragged by node tool to edit the shape, displayed as small white diamonds (shape handles);
    • The things that you drag on canvas to set the placement, direction, and size of a gradient or pattern (gradient handles, pattern handles). Internally this is called a Knot, but this is a deprecated term in user documentation.
  • Stroke: a visible outline of a shape or path. Not the same as path; a path may or may not have a stroke. If the stroke is present, it can be converted to path by Convert Stroke to Path command.
    • Stroke shape (to be implemented): the dependency of the stroke width on distance along the stroke. Currently only constant-width strokes are supported.
    • Stroke pattern (to be implemented): the representation of a stroke as a sequence of arbitrary objects positioned along the path.
  • Fill: is an optionnal attribute for objects and their strokes. It can be a color, a pattern, a gradient or even unset (no defined, allowing clones of the object to receive their own fill).
  • Pattern:
  • Gradient:
  • Text:
  • Group:
  • Layer:
  • Clone:


  • Document:
  • Canvas:
  • Page:
  • Grid:
  • Guide:

User Interface

Document window

The main window, displaying the Canvas, Menus, Commands Bar, Toolbox, Tool Controls Bar, Status Bar, etc. Note that the same instance of the program may have several document windows. Some dialog are referred to as "windows" therefore it is important to distinguish between them and the Document window.


Main part, with optional border, rulers and scrollbars


Bar at the top.


Displaying the Tools icons, along the left side

Selector tool

Node tool

Zoom tool

Rectangle tool

Ellipse tool

Star tool

Spiral tool

Pencil tool

To preserve consistency, please do not refer to this tool as freehand tool. Pencil tool (freehand) is better to use.

Pen tool

To preserve consistency, please do not refer to this tool as Bezier tool. Pen tool (Bezier) is better to use.

Calligraphy tool

Text tool

Gradient tool

Color dropper tool

Commands bar

Beneath the Menu, with buttons for commands like New, Open, ... Note that this one will likely be broken into many smaller toolbars, each covering one topic, so the user will be able to switch them on/off and rearrange. So this name is temporary.

Tool Controls bar

Beneath the Commands bar. Has the controls for the currently active tool. Note the capitalization. One should not refer to it as the "Tool bar," nor is it a "Tool" edition of the "controls" variety of "bar". It's proper name should be "Tool Controls" bar.

Status bar

Along the bottom side of the window



Dialog Boxes

From wikipedia: Dialog boxes are special windows which are used by computer programs or by the operating system to display information to the user, or to get a response if needed. They are so-called because they form a dialog between the computer and the user—either informing the user of something, or requesting input from the user, or both.

Fill and Stroke




Text and fonts

Align and Distribute

Tile Clones

Global Preferences

Document Preferences

Document Metadata

Object Properties

XML Editor

Verbs (actions on objects)

on objects

  • group
  • ungroup
  • clip
  • mask
  • pattern
  • raise
  • lower
  • rotate
  • flip

on paths

create path(s) from object(s)

  • object to path
  • stroke to path
  • trace bitmap

boolean operations

  • union
  • difference
  • intersection
  • exclusion
  • division
  • cut

manipulate paths

  • combine
  • break apart
  • inset
  • outset
  • dynamic offset
  • linked offset
  • simplify
  • reverse

on texts

  • put on path
  • remove from path
  • flow
  • unflow
  • convert to text
  • remove kerning

on layers


Fretboard designer

Generate from path


Modify path

Depreceated terms

These are used inside the code. Never use them for documentation.

  • knot (this may be a "handle", "control", "node" etc as seen by the user)
  • item (use "object")
  • desktop (use "canvas" or "document window" depending on context)
  • event contexts (they are known to users as "tools")

Words being used as verbs and names

Translators, pay attention to those words that can be used in the interface either as verbs either as names or even either as adjectives

  • Group
  • Clone
  • Unset