Release notes/0.46

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Inkscape 0.46

(not released yet)

Highlights in this release:

  • Paintbucket tool
  • Tweak tool
  • 3D Box tool
  • Live path effects
  • Color management
  • New SVG filters and UI
  • Native PDF and AI import
  • XAML import/export
  • Open Clip Art Library integration (import/export)
  • Bitmap editing extension effects
  • Full on-canvas gradient editing
  • Engraver's Toolbox in the Calligraphic tool
  • Touch selection
  • Dockable dialogs
  • Command-line access to verbs
  • Snapping made usable
  • Significant speed and interactivity improvements
  • Hundreds of smaller features and bugfixes

Speed and interactivity

  • In this version, Inkscape starts using the cairo library for rendering. It is now used for outline mode display which, thanks to using cairo and other optimizations, redraws faster by about 25%. More impressive are memory savings: thanks to cairo, in outline mode Inkscape now takes only about 50% of the memory used by 0.45 for the same file.
  • Smart redraw directionality: With complex images and/or on slow computers, you may have noticed that Inkscape redraws the screen image in horizontal strips, and these strips are painted in order from top to bottom. Now the redraw always starts at your mouse cursor location and proceed upwards and downwards from it, so that the area near the cursor is always redrawn first. This significantly improves program's responsiveness in some situations. For example, when you are node-editing part of a complex path, the entire path needs to be redrawn on each change, but now this redraw starts from the point you're working on. Moreover, the redraw is interruptible, so each mouse movement starts new redraw from the mouse cursor area. As a result, during such operations those parts that you're working on redraw often and feel snappy and responsive, while areas further away may lag behind more.
  • Faster blur for exporting and high quality on-screen rendering: Inkscape now uses an IIR (Infinite Impulse Response) filter for blurring with large radius. This greatly improves the speed of blur redraw at high zooms or in high-resolution export (or simply with very large blur radius). On the other hand, the results are an approximation to a true Gaussian blur, so a drawing may look slightly different from the mathematically precise blur (usually the differences are far from visible, though). This code is mainly based on: Recursive Gaussian Derivative Filters by L.J. van Vliet, I.T. Young and P.W. Verbeek (see the source code for more detailed references).
Exporting drawings with blur was particularly slow in 0.45; some files could take hours to export. Now this is fixed, in part by the faster algorithm mentioned above and in part by a bugfix in the export code. Now even the quite complex files with large blurs export at high resolution in at most a few minutes.
  • [faster gradients - mental]
  • Dragging handles and nodes as well as dragging and transforming objects by mouse became more responsive, so that working in complex drawings and especially editing complex paths is noticeably easier. In particular, this fixes the annoying latency issue where a node or a handle could follow mouse cursor even after you release mouse button after a drag.
  • Moving the cursor around in a file with large and complex paths has become much snappier and more responsive. Previously, in extreme cases Inkscape could freeze for seconds while catching up with the mouse cursor; such delays are now eliminated.
  • Several improvements make canvas panning and scrolling smoother and more interactive in complex slow-rendering documents:
  • When panning by the middle mouse button, Inkscape no longer attempts to redraw the canvas while your mouse button is pressed. Any redrawing only happens after you release the mouse. As a result, the newly revealed parts of the canvas are somewhat more "dirty" but the panning is smoother than before, with few if any "hiccups".
  • Redrawing the newly exposed parts of the canvas after scrolling, especially diagonal scrolling, is now faster because only the exposed areas are redrawn; before, this often resulted in the entire screen being redrawn which was much slower.
  • Previously, if you started panning with middle button while Inkscape is still redrawing screen in a complex drawing, panning sometimes completely failed or moved canvas just a little step. Now it is guaranteed to pan the canvas all the way from mouse-press point to mouse-release point in any case, even if sometimes it fails to show the intermediate positions.
  • When pressing and holding Ctrl+arrows to scroll canvas, Inkscape normally accelerates scrolling so that each next scrolling step is bigger than the previous. Previously, in complex drawings this acceleration sometimes got interrupted, which made scrolling annoyingly bumpy and slow. Now this is fixed so that scrolling is smoothly accelerated even in a slow-rendering document.
  • The default starting speed and acceleration of Ctrl+arrows scrolling are slightly increased. (They are both settable in Preferences.)
  • Better responsiveness and more visual feedback in user interface:
  • When you zoom, the zoom control on the right end of the statusbar now updates immediately, not after screen redraw as before.
  • Many potentially slow commands (Save, Simplify, Combine, Break Apart and others) now display a busy cursor and flash a message in the statusbar (e.g. "Saving document...") while they work.
  • The statusbar messages displayed while you're drawing a shape or a path in Pen tool do not lag behind the mouse movements.
  • Combine and Convert to paths commands are now orders of magnitude faster when applied to a selection with hundreds or thousands of objects.
  • The time it takes to snap to objects using the selector tool has been reduced dramatically, which is most noticeable for snapping to complex paths.


Paint Bucket tool

The new Paint Bucket tool works exactly as you would expect: click in any area bounded on all sides and it will fill it with color. Being a vector tool, however, Inkscape's Paint Bucket just creates a new path that "fills in" the area in which you clicked.

How it works

It is important to note that the tool is perceptual, not geometric. That is, when looking for the boundaries around the point you clicked, it takes for such boundaries any visible color changes. This means that filling will stop at gradients, blurs, and even the color boundaries in imported bitmaps, but will ignore any paths or other objects that are fully (or almost) transparent or for any other reason do not stand out from the background. In short, it will work exactly as if you were filling a rasterized version of your image in a bitmap editor like Photoshop or GIMP - but will give you a vector object to work with.

For example, now you can scan a pencil sketch, import the bitmap into Inkscape, and quickly fill all its cells with colors even without tracing the bitmap first. This is a very convenient and interactive way of digitizing your paper drawings, making the traditional bitmap tracing unnecessary in many cases.

Internally, the tool works by performing a bitmap-based flood fill on a rendered version of the visible canvas, then tracing the resulting fill using potrace and placing the traced path into the document.

It places the rendered path onto the current layer, so you can have a layer on top (for example, "Inks") and select the layer below ("Colors") and do the fills so that they always appear below the Inks.

The resolution of the bitmap image used to perform the trace is dependent upon your current zoom level -- the more zoomed in to an area that you are, the higher the resolution of the bitmap-based flood fill. So, if you are got a fill that is too imprecise, has rough corners, or don't go into small nooks and appendices where it is supposed to go, just undo, zoom in closer and repeat filling from the same point. Conversely, if the fill leaks out through a small gap, zoom out to make the gap less visible and fill again (or use the auto gap closing parameter, see below).


Like all object-creating tools, the Paint Bucket may use the last-set style for the objects it creates (this is the default), or it can use its own fixed style. You can switch between these modes on this tool's page in Inkscape Preferences (Ctrl+Shift+P). As in all other tools, the style swatch on the far right of the Controls bar shows the style that will be used for the next fill object you create.


In the tool's Controls bar:

  • Paint Bucket's perceptual fill can use either all visible colors or specific color channels. Using the Fill by drop-down list, you can restrict the fill algorithm to one the following channels:
    • Red
    • Green
    • Blue
    • Hue
    • Saturation
    • Lightness
    • Alpha
  • The Threshold (in per cent units) controls how large must be color difference at a point (compared to the initial click point) to stop the fill. Zero tolerance means only the area of strictly the same color will be filled; the larger the tolerance, the easier it will be for the fill to leak into adjacent different-color areas. The default value is 10%.
  • Using the Grow/shrink by parameter, you can control the amount of inset/outset to be applied to the created fill path. Setting a positive outset causes fill paths to be larger than the filled bitmap area (good for eliminating anti-aliasing errors), while setting a negative outset causes the path to be smaller. This works much the same as the Outset and Inset path commands, except it's done automatically after every fill.
  • With the Close gaps parameter, you can make the Paint Bucket tool ignore any gaps in the area boundaries that would normally cause the fill to spill out of the desired area. There are four settings to auto gap:
    • None
    • Small (close gaps up to 2 pixels in size)
    • Medium (4 pixels)
    • Large (6 pixels)
Note that setting this parameter to other than None may slow down noticeably the filling of large areas.


The tool's shortcuts are:

  • Single click performs filling from the click point.
  • Shift+click performs filling from the click point and then unions the resulting path with the selected path. This way, if your first attempt did not fill in all of the desired area, you can Shift+click the remaining corner to fill it in separately and combine the result with the result of the previous fill.
  • Ctrl+click on an object simply changes that object's fill to the current fill color of the tool, and Shift+Ctrl+click changes the stroke to the current stroke color.
  • Click and drag performs filling from all of the points that you pass while dragging (you will see your path visualized by a red line). From each point, the fill spreads to the neighbors with the colors similar to that point - in other words, it's like clicking with this tool at each point of the drag path and unioning the results. This lets you easily fill an area occupied by a gradient or blur - just drag from the darkest to the lightest points in the area you want to fill.
  • Alt+click and drag works similarly to simple drag, except from each point of the drag path, the fill spreads to the neighbors (if any) with the colors similar to the initial point (the point where you started the drag). This lets you fill a series of similarly-colored yet separated areas (for example, multiple cells in a cartoon) by starting the drag in one of those areas, and alt+dragging the tool through all the other areas.

Tweak tool

The Tweak tool is an exciting new way to edit drawings which largely blurs the distinction between vector and raster editing. Instead of meticulously selecting some objects and then performing an action on the selection, you can now select all objects (or all objects you are interested in) and apply the Tweak tool's brush to smoothly and naturally change the shape or style of only those objects (or parts thereof) that the brush touches.

The area of the tool's action - its brush - is marked by an orange-colored circular outline that moves with your mouse cursor. However, that area actually has no sharp boundaries; the power of the tool's action falls off gradually, following a smooth bell-shaped profile. This makes the tool act softly and smoothly.

The tool will work on any number of selected objects; for example, you can select all (Ctrl+A) and "smear" your entire drawing by Push mode or paint it by Color Paint mode. You can also apply it to groups of objects; it will go into groups and act on individual objects inside groups. If you're trying to use it without anything selected, it will remind you by a statusbar message to select some objects.


The width of the tool's brush, in the range from 1 to 100, can be changed by the Width control in the tool's controls bar above the canvas. You can also change width by Left and Right arrow keys (same as in the Calligraphy tool) at any time (including during action) as well as Home and End. Also, as in Calligraphy tool, the visible width of the brush is independent of zoom; simply zooming in or out is often easier than adjusting the width if you want to cover a smaller or larger area of the drawing.


The next control is Force which adjusts the power of the action, also in the range from 1 to 100. You can also change width by Up and Down arrow keys at any time (including during action).

If you have a pressure-sensitive tablet and your "Use pressure" button on the right-hand end of the controls bar is on, then the force will also depend on how hard you actually press your pen into your tablet, changing in the range from zero to whatever you set in the Force control. If all you have is a mouse, then the force will be constant but still settable by the Force control.

Path editing modes

The Tweak tool has a number of modes, selectable by toggle buttons in the tool's Controls bar and by keyboard shortcuts. Some of these modes change the shapes of paths while others affect the colors of objects. All these modes share the Width and Force controls but otherwise are quite different. Let's look at the path editing modes first.

Unlike the Node tool, to edit paths with the Tweak tool you don't need to worry about where the nodes of a path are and how to manipulate them. You just apply the tool's brush to any point, and the selected paths at that point will reshape smoothly and naturally - as if made of soft jelly - regardless of where its nodes lie. If applied to a shape or text object, the tool converts them to paths automatically.

While not very useful for technical drawings, tweaking paths will be indispensable for artistic uses of Inkscape - cartoons, drawings, sketches, anime, etc. This new functionality is somewhat similar to the tools such as "Pucker" and "Bloat" in the latest versions of Adobe Illustrator.

There are currently six path editing modes in the Tweak tool: Push, Shrink, Grow, Attract, Repel, and Roughen.

  • This default mode of the tool, Push, simply displaces the part of the path under the cursor in the direction of the drag. The path behaves like soft jelly, bending and bulging smoothly and naturally. It's an easy way to produce various irregular, lifelike, handmade-looking shapes starting from something as simple as an ellipse or a calligraphic stroke. For parallel-stroke hatching (engraving) done in the Calligraphy tool, pushing is an easy way to bend, pinch, or curve the entire hatching uniformly.
  • The Shrink and Grow are two opposite modes that move each point of a path in a direction perpendicular to the path's surface at the point, either inwards (Shrink) or outwards (Grow). This is similar to the Inset and Outset commands, except that the Tweak tool can act on a part of a path instead of the whole path.
For example, the visible lightness/darkness of an engraving hatching may not exactly correspond to your artistic intention. Also, the ends of Calligraphy pen strokes are often far from ideal - they may be too blunt or have unsightly bends or blobs. This is where the Tweak tool may help. Select all the strokes in a hatching pattern and apply a light Shrink action where you want the lines to become thinner (and the hatching to become lighter), up until total disappearance. If you press hard, shrinking works as an eraser, so you can easily clean the strokes' ends to make them thin, sharp, and uniform. Conversely, applying Grow makes strokes wider (i.e. the hatching becomes darker).
Of course, shrinking and growing are useful not only for calligraphic strokes. Same as with Push, with Shrink and Grow you can sculpt any path, spawning smooth treacle-like appendages with Inflating and carving holes with Melting. Unlike the "node sculpting" mode in the Node tool, however, this does not require adding new nodes to the shape.
  • The Attract and Repel modes work by moving each affected point on a path towards (Attract) or from (Repel) the cursor point. In some cases this may look similar to Shrink and Grow, but the difference is that shrinking/growing moves paths perpendicularly to the path in each point, whereas attracting/repelling moves them to or from the cursor regardless of the path shape. These modes are similar to the Pinch effect in ; you can use them for various central-symmetric distortions in parts of your paths.
  • The Roughen mode does exactly this: roughens the edge of the path without changing its overall shape. Slight roughening simply makes the edge crooked and uneven; strong roughening tears and explodes the edge into random blobs and splotches. Note that this operation, especially with high Fidelity, adds a lot of nodes which increases the size of your SVG document and may slow down Inkscape considerably. In particular, pushing/melting/inflating of a roughened path becomes much slower and more difficult, so it's recommended to finalize the overall shape of a path first and roughen it, if necessary, only as the final step.


Any tweaking of a path slightly distorts the entire path, including even those parts that you didn't touch. These distortions are similar to those that a Simplify command produces. The Fidelity value (also in the range from 1 to 100, default is 50) allows you to control the amount of these distortions. With a higher fidelity, the distortions are less noticeable, but the path may end up having a lot of nodes which inflates up the SVG size and slows down Inkscape.

The best value of Fidelity depends on the nature of your artwork. If you're sculpting an amorphous blob, you can do with low fidelity of about 20. If, however, you are pushing or inflating a text string (as a single path) and want the letters outside the distorted area to remain crisp and clean, you will need to raise fidelity to 80 or more.

Known problems

Known problems with the path editing modes in Tweak tool:

  1. they don't work on open paths (an open path becomes closed if you tweak it);
  2. they are rather slow;
  3. they quickly eat memory; and
  4. they are sometimes buggy - thin calligraphic strokes may suddenly disappear or change their shape drastically as you're melting or inflating them.

For (4), it helps to increase Fidelity. Also, you can undo the bad change and try again with less pressure on the pen - if you do your thinning in several light touches instead of one heavy press, usually you will be able to get the desired result without the buggy behavior.

Also, sometimes after roughening, further tweaking of a path becomes impossible with this diagnostic:

 WARNING **: Shape error in ConvertToShape: directedEulerian(a) == false

All these problems stem from the livarot library that we use for geometric manipulation of paths. Fortunately, livarot is scheduled for replacement by lib2geom, a new library now in development, so hopefully these issues will be addressed then.

Color-changing modes

The Color Paint and Color Jitter modes, unlike the path editing modes, change the colors of objects instead of their shapes. Yet they share enough common features with the path-changing modes to be part of the same tool: These modes also use a circular soft-edged brush controlled by the Width and Force parameters on the Controls bar and affected by the pen pressure (if you have a pressure-sensitive tablet).

  • Color Paint applies the style of the tool to the selected objects under the brush. The style of the tool is visible in the style swatch at the rightmost end of the tool's control bar; it can be changed by clicking on the color palette or by any other style assignment command, such as Fill and Stroke dialog. (Note: unlike all other tools, in Tweak tool in Color Paint mode you cannot assign style directly to selected objects; any style-setting command changes the tool's style instead.)
The fill from the tool's style applies to the fills of the painted objects, and the stroke applies to the strokes. If the tool's style has no fill or no stroke, it won't affect fills or strokes, correspondingly. For example, if you want to color the fills of objects blue but leave their strokes untouched, assign blue fill to the tool's style (just click blue on the palette) but set its stroke to None (middle-click the Stroke swatch in the statusbar). Similarly, master opacity in the tool's style affects master opacities of the touched objects (if the O channel is on, see below).
This mode allows you to literally paint over objects, shifting their colors towards the target style of the tool. For example, if you paint with yellow fill over a blue-filled object, the object will become greenish blue, then green, then yellowish green, and end up being exactly the yellow color you're painting with. This speed of this gradual transition depends on both Force parameter and pen pressure; also, objects touched by the periphery of the brush are less affected than those hit by the brush center. Overall, using this tool is very similar to a soft brush in a raster editor such as Gimp or Photoshop.
  • Color Jitter mode does not apply any color, but instead jitters (randomizes) the colors of the objects it touches. The force of the action determines how strong is the randomization, i.e. how far the colors deviate from the original values. This mode does not use the tool's style.

Both modes work on flat fills and gradients; for gradients, the tool takes into account not only the position of the entire object with gradient, but also the position of each gradient stop relative to the brush. This means that, for example, you can change the blue color only in an object filled with blue-red gradient simply by painting over its blue end with a brush small enough to not touch the red. (Note that color tweaking does not create gradients on objects that used flat color before, but only adjusts existing gradients in the drawing.)


Color Paint and Color Jitter honor the Channels control. This control comprises the four buttons: H, S, L, and O, which allow you to turn on and off the tool's action on the object's hue, saturation, lightness, and opacity, correspondingly. For example, if you want to raise the saturation of some part of your drawing without changing the hue, select some maximum-saturation color (e.g. pure red) and turn off all Channels buttons except S. Similarly, you can replace the hues without affecting saturation or lightness (only H pressed), or lighten/darken all colors without changing their hues and saturation (only L pressed). Pressing O allows you to apply the master opacity from the tool's style to the master opacity of objects (but not fill or stroke opacity).

Usage notes

Color painting with Tweak tool is similar, but not exactly analogous to bitmap painting. Even though the tool itself works as a soft brush, it still applies its color to vector objects, which behave as vector objects usually do. For example, if you want to change the tint of the face in your drawing, and if a hand in the drawing is part of the same object as the face, that hand will change its tint too even if it's located far from the point you are painting. (We foresee a "fracture" command in one of the next versions of Inkscape which will help you turn a monolithic object into a mosaic of small fragments that will be then easy to paint with Tweak tool.) Still, even with this limitation, color painting is a novel way of dealing with vector drawings which allows you to quickly and intuitively make adjustments which would be awkward and slow with traditional approach.

Drawings containing patterns or scatterings of small independent objects are best suited for color painting with Tweak tool. Examples include:

  • freehand drawings with Calligraphy pen, consisting of many separate strokes;
  • gradient meshes imported from Adobe Illustrator files (Inkscape renders these meshes as lattices of small polygons; while there's no direct support for gradient meshes in Inkscape yet, color painting on such lattices is almost as good);
  • text converted to paths and with Break Apart command applied so that each letter is a separate path;
  • patterns made with the Tile Clones command; note that you need to unset the fill and/or stroke on the original object and use the Color tab to assign some initial color to the clones - this will make them paintable with the Tweak tool without unlinking.

Moreover, color tweaking can be useful for compositions with a few objects or even for single objects. Unlike all other color selection methods, painting with the Tweak tool implements the color mixing metaphor which is much more familiar to traditional artists than RGB sliders or even the color wheel. For example, start with a rectagle of pure blue color; then, pick different colors by Color Paint and apply light touches with minimum Force and minimum pen pressure: add a little green, a little brown, a little yellow, etc. until you have the exact hue you need. Similarly, you can whiten or blacken any hue by admixing white or black.

You can also use color tweaking to add a tint, darken/lighten, saturate/desaturate, or color jitter your entire drawing. Just select all in all layers, zoom out, choose a large brush width so it covers all of the drawing, and apply a little color tweaking (with minimum Force) that will therefore affect all visible objects.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • W, Shift+F2: switch to the Tweak tool
  • Shift+P: switch to the Push mode
  • Shift+S: switch to the Shrink mode
  • Shift+G: switch to the Grow mode
  • Shift+A: switch to the Attract mode
  • Shift+E: switch to the Repel mode
  • Shift+R: switch to the Roughen mode
  • Shift+C: switch to the Color Paint mode
  • Shift+J: switch to the Color Jitter mode
  • Left, Right, Home, End: change width
  • Up, Down: change force
  • mouse drag: act on selected path in the current mode
  • Ctrl+mouse drag: temporarily switch to Shrink (while Ctrl is down)
  • Shift+Ctrl+mouse drag: temporarily switch to Grow (while Shift+Ctrl is down)

3D Box tool

Inkscape is a two-dimensional drawing tool. However, very often it is used to draw three-dimensional objects. The new 3D box tool helps you create such 3D drawings by automating the most common operation: creating a three-dimensional box in a given perspective. The tool automatically ensures that all sides of the box lie on the corresponding perspective lines. We're not going to compete with Blender - but even simple things can go a long way.

Currently in the 3D box tool you can:

  • draw a 3D box by dragging on canvas (use Shift+dragging without releasing the mouse button to extrude in z direction)
  • adjust any of its 3 dimensions by handles
  • move a 3D box "in perspective" by dragging its center; without modifiers, movement occurs within the XY-plane (press Ctrl to constrain the movement to the directions of the coordinate axes or diagonals), with Shift the box moves parallel to the Z-axis
  • adjust the vanishing points of a perspective by dragging them across the canvas (see below) or toggling their states; all boxes sharing this perspective are transformed accordingly

In SVG, a 3D box is represented as a group (svg:g) with a special extension attribute (in inkscape namespace); this group contains the 6 quadrilateral paths representing the sides of the box. Only the 3D box tool treats this object as a box; for all other tools it is just a group, so you can select any of the paths by Ctrl+click, apply any style to it, delete it, etc. You can of course transform the entire box or any face in it using Selector or Node tools.

When several boxes are selected, all vanishing points of their associated perspectives are shown on the canvas. If vanishing points of different perspectives coincide, they are combined in a single "dragger". Moving this dragger moves all the vanishing points simultaneously and transforms the associated boxes accordingly. Note that some non-selected boxes may also be reshaped if their perspectives share the same vanishing point. Pressing Shift while moving the dragger can be used to only transform the selected boxes, separating their perspectives from the non-selected ones'. On the other hand, when a vanishing point being dragged comes close enough to another one, both snap together and are combined in a single dragger.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • X, Alt+F4: switch to the 3D box tool
  • The various kinds of parentheses, namely [ ], ( ), { }, can be used to rotate infinite (i.e., parallel) perspective lines in X-, Y-, and Z-direction, respectively. Closing parentheses rotate clockwise and opening parentheses rotate counterclockwise. The angle of rotation is taken from the preferences. Pressing Alt reduces the amount of rotation to 1 screen pixel.
  • L: toggle visibility of perspective lines
  • A: when perspective lines are visible, toggle between "all lines" and "only lines connected to front corners" (this can help to avoid visual clutter)


Gradient Tool

Selecting multiple stops

More than one gradient stop can be selected at a time. Shortcuts for working with multiple stop selections are generally modeled on the Node tool.

  • Add a stop to the selected stops by Shift+click.
  • Press Ctrl+A to select all stops in the selected objects.
  • Shift+drag around stops to add them to selection.

Multiple selected stops:

  • Can be moved together by mouse drag or by arrow keys. For example, creating a linear gradient, then press Ctrl+A to select all stops and use arrow keys to move the entire gradient as a whole.
  • Can be deleted at the same time by pressing Del.

An always up-to-date description of the current handle selection is provided in the statusbar in the Gradient tool, including the number of selected handles (and the type of the single selected handle), as well as the total number of handles and selected objects.

Editing intermediate stops

Intermediate stops in gradients can be added, deleted, and edited on canvas (previously this was only possible in the Gradient Editor dialog).

  • Stops can be added by double clicking or by Ctrl+Alt+Click on the gradient line. Also, you can drag-and-drop a color from the palette onto the gradient line to create a new stop with this color. Dropping a color on an existing stop changes the color of that stop.
  • When two or more adjacent stops are selected, pressing Ins adds stops in the middles of all selected stop intervals.
  • Intermediate stops can be mousedragged or moved by arrow keys along their gradient line, within the limits of the adjacent unselected stops (or end handles).
  • Dragging with Ctrl moves the selected stops snapping them to 1/10 fractions of the available range.
  • Dragging with Alt moves the selected stops depending on how close each one is to the stop being dragged, using a smooth bell-like curve similar to the node sculpting feature in Node tool. This makes it easy to approximate different gradient profiles; for example, if you have a two-stop gradient that you want to shape according to a curve profile, select both ends of the gradient, press Ins a few times to add a number of intermediate nodes, then Alt+drag a node in the middle to smoothly profile the gradient.
  • Stops can also be moved by arrow keys with all the regular modifiers (Shift for 10x movement, Alt for pixel-size movement at the current zoom, Shift+Alt for 10 pixels movement at the current zoom).
  • Stops can be deleted by Ctrl+Alt+Click on a stop or by the Del key for all the selected stop(s).
  • When you delete an end stop, the nearest intermediate stop becomes the new end stop of the gradient (without moving - i.e., the gradient span becomes shorter).
  • When you delete an end stop and there are no intermediate stops, the object will be painted with a solid fill taken from the color & opacity of the remaining stop.
  • Pressing Ctrl+L with some intermediate stops selected attempts to simplify the selected portion of the gradient, removing those stops that can be removed without too much change in the way the gradient looks. In particular, new stops created by double-clicking or pressing Ins initially do not change the appearance of the gradient, so if you press Ctrl+L, all redundant stops that weren't moved or repainted since creation will be deleted.

Style of gradient stops

  • When you have one of the gradient handles selected, its style (color and opacity) is reflected by the selected style indicator (left of the statusbar) and the Fill&Stroke dialog. Previously, opacity of a gradient handle was reflected as fill-opacity and stroke-opacity; now it is reflected as master opacity (the "O:" spinbutton in the selected style indicator, the "Master opacity" slider in Fill&Stroke). This makes it much easier to view and change opacity of gradient handles using only the selected style indicator in the statusbar.
  • When multiple gradient stops are selected, the selected style indicator (in the statusbar) displays and controls the averaged color and opacity of the selected stops.
  • When one or more gradient stops are selected, using the Copy command (Ctrl+C) copies to the clipboard the style (color and opacity) of the selected stop or the averaged style of several selected stops, not the entire object with gradient as before. This means you can now copy/paste style between stops: select the source stop(s), copy, select the destination stop(s), paste style (Ctrl+Shift+V). With several selected stops, this also allows you to easily average their colors and opacities by copying them and pasting the style back onto them. (After that, redundant gradient stops can be removed by simplification with Ctrl+L).
  • If the selected object(s) have gradient in fill or stroke, the selected style indicator in the bottom-left corner of the editing window now displays a live gradient preview prefixed by R or L to indicate Radial or Linear gradients (instead of displaying "L Gradient" or "R Gradient" text labels as before). Also, this and other similar widget now use italic font face to indicate None and bold to indicate Unset.

Automatic duplication of gradients

When copy/pasting or duplicating an object with gradient, it now automatically gets a copy of the original gradient, so modifying it does not affect the source object's gradient anymore (before, you had to press the Duplicate button on the Gradient controls bar for this). The Duplicate button is therefore removed.

However, to accommodate the needs of users who have relied on sharing the same gradient definition across objects, this behavior can be optionally suppressed. The Prevent sharing of gradient definitions checkbox on the Misc tab of Inkscape Preferences is by default checked; if you uncheck it, Inkscape does not automatically copy gradient definitions for new objects, which means that copy/pasting, duplicating, pasting style, and explicit assignment of a gradient to an object via the Gradient tool controls results in a shared gradient definition, so that changing the colors or mid-stop positions of the gradient on one object (but not changing the coordinates of the end handles) affects all other objects that share the same definition.

Calligraphy tool: Engraver's Toolbox

Several new features were added to the Calligraphic pen to make Inkscape capable of the ancient art of line engraving. Traditional engraving is a very labour-intensive process, and while for a long time it was the only practical way of reproducing lifelike images in black-and-white print, about a century ago it was almost completely displaced by automatic halftone screens. However, line engravings have their characteristic charm, and there's no reason not to try to resurrect this art form with the help of Inkscape.

A brief visual guide to the new functionality can be seen on these screenshots:

Tracking a guide path with Ctrl

One of the most common operations in line engraving is hatching (or sometimes cross-hatching when several hatching grids cross): filling a space with many parallel straight or variously curved lines (usually of varying width to represent a gradual shading). You could try to achieve a similar effect with e.g. path interpolation (blending), but it is rather cumbersome and limited; manual drawing of hatch lines, on the other hand, is tedious and nearly impossible to do uniformly. Now Inkscape provides "assisted hatching" by tracking a guide path, allowing you to hatch quickly and uniformly and at the same time giving you sufficient manual control over the process.

Here's how to do this. First, select the guide path that you will track. It may be another calligraphic stroke, any path or shape, or even a letter of a text object. Then switch to Calligraphic pen, select the desired parameters (line width, angle, fixation etc.) and, before starting to draw, press Ctrl. You will see a gray track circle centered at your mouse pointer and touching the closest point on the selected guide path. (If you have no guide path selected, a statusbar message will tell you to select it.)

Now move your mouse close to the guide path, so that the track circle radius is equal to the desired spacing of your hatch pattern, and start drawing along the guide path. At that moment, the radius of the circle gets locked; now the circle slides along the guide path - and the actual stroke is drawn by the center of the tracking circle, not by your mouse point. As a result, you are getting a smooth stroke going parallel to the guide path and always at the same distance from it.

When the stroke is ready, release your mouse button (or lift your tablet pen) but do not let go of the Ctrl key because as long as you have it pressed, the tool remembers the hatch spacing you set when you started drawing. Now, you have just created a new stroke and, as usual with Inkscape tools, it gets selected instead of what was selected before. In our case, this means that the newly drawn stroke itself becomes the new guide path. Next, you can draw a second stroke along the first one, then a third one along the second, etc. Eventually you can fill any desired space with uniform hatching.

Alternatively, if you uncheck "Select new path" in the Calligraphy tool preferences, newly created strokes will not be selected, so your original guide path will be kept selected. In this mode, Inkscape will increase the tracking distance after each created stroke so that you can create uniformly spaced hatching by tracking a single guide path.

The attachment to the guide path is not absolute. If you stray your mouse pointer far enough from the guide path, you will be able to tear it off (the track circle turns from green to red) and move freely. This is intentional; this feature allows you, for example, to continue drawing a stroke past the end of a guide stroke, thus making your hatching cover a wider area than the initial guide path. Special care is taken to make such tearing off as smooth as possible and to suppress violent jerks, but this is not always possible; the general advice is to not try to hatch too fast. If jerking and unintended tearoffs still bother you, try increasing the Mass parameter.

Also, special code is in place to prevent flipovers - accidental jumps to the other side of the guide path. Brief flipovers are suppressed, but if you intentionally go over to the other side and stay there, eventually Inkscape will obey and your tracking stroke will also flip over to follow you.

Tracking a guide also allows some slight feedback by gradually changing the tracking distance in response to your drawing behavior. Thus, if you're consistently trying to draw closer or farther from the guide than the current tracking distance, the distance will correspondingly decrease or increase, so you will get a hatching that is slightly spacing in or out. (The effect is very slight, however, so as not to become a nuisance.) Also, note that since tracking follows the edge of the stroke, strokes of varying width (such as those tracing background, see below) will result in gradual bending of the hatching pattern as you proceed.

Tracing background by stroke width

There is a new toggle button on the Calligraphy tool's controls bar, Trace background. When on, the width of your pen depends on the lightness of the background under the stroke in each point, so that white translates into the minimum stoke width (1) and black translates to the maximum (which is set by the Width parameter). This can work alone or in combination with pressure sensitivity, depending on whether the "Use pressure" button is also toggled.

This feature allows you to not only hatch over an imported bitmap image or any drawing, but to do so automatically reproducing the highlights and shades of the background with your strokes becoming lighter and heavier as needed.

Misc features

  • For consistency with other drawing tools, drawing with Shift in Calligraphy tool automatically unions the newly created stroke with whatever paths were selected (and selects the result). Thus, you can do a series of overlapping Shift+strokes to create one unioned path object instead of separate objects as before.
  • To facilitate changing the Width parameter, the Home/End keys in Calligraphy tool switch you to the minimum (1) and maximum (100) width, correspondingly. (This is in addition to the Left/Right arrow keys that change Width by 1; remember also that you can press Alt+X, type any width, and press Enter.)


  • A new selection mode is available: selecting by touch. In this mode, you draw a freehand path across the objects; when you release mouse button, all objects that are touched by this path get selected. This mode is very convenient in situations where you need to select objects so intermingled that selecting them by the rectangular rubberband is too difficult and so numerous that click-selecting them one by one is too tedious.
To activate selecting by touch, whenever you are drawing a rubberband rectangle, just press Alt to switch it to the touch mode. The rectangle will disappear and a red touch path will be shown instead. When dragging from an empty space, you can press Alt first and then start to drag to get the touch mode (note that your selection must be empty, otherwise Alt+dragging will move the selected objects instead). To start a touch selection from a point over an object, or to add to existing selection by touching, press Shift+Alt and then start to drag.
  • Previously, the only way to switch selection from scale mode to rotate mode or back was to click on it, which was rather inconvenient when the selected object is in a group or under other objects. Now you can switch modes with keyboard as well by pressing Shift+S in Selector tool.
  • Draging the scale handles with Alt now scales selection by an integer factor, i.e. up to 2, 3, 4, etc. times the original size or down to 1/2. 1/3, 1/4, etc. of the original size (in any of the two dimensions independently). This way you can, for example, mirror any object around one of the edges of its box. (This replaces the old and rarely used "slow" scaling mode with Alt.)
  • Horizontal/vertical flipping: So far, flipping a selection made it flip within its bounding box, so that the latter remained fixed. In the move/scale mode of the selector tool, this behaviour remains unchanged. However, in rotate/shear mode flipping now happens about an (imaginary) vertical/horizontal axis through the rotation center. This is very handy, since the latter can be freely dragged around and snaps to all kinds of objects if desired.
  • Objects to Marker was added to the objects menu, which converts the current selection to a marker, with the center point of the selection being set to the center of the marker.

Node tool

[sculpt profiles - bbyak]

  • If any of the nodes in the currently selected path is mouseovered, then horizontal/vertical flipping ('H' and 'V' keys), stepwise rotation ('[' and ']' keys) and scaling ('<' and '>' keys) now all use this specific node as center/axis. If there is no mouseovered node, the center of the bounding box is used instead (as is currently the case unconditionally). Nodes that are covered by one of their handles are also detected as mouseovered.
  • [helper path display - johan]

Text tool

  • [text toolbar - deadchip?]
  • If text contains a tref element, the text tool's behavior may not be as expected. Please see #The tref Element

SVG features

The tref element

Inkscape can now correctly open files with tref elements, and new tref elements can be created manually in the XML editor.

The actual character data contained in a text element can either be embedded directly, or it can be the character content of an element referenced by a tref.

While the textual content from the referenced element will be stripped of any markup before being used by the tref, the tref element can itself have the same attributes as a tspan. In fact, when rendered, it is as though the tref element is replaced by a tspan with the same attributes, and the referenced character data is embedded in that tspan.

The property xlink:href is used to refer to another element whose character data will be used. Any element can be referred to except an ancestor of the tref. When any of the text contained in the referred element changes, the tref will immediately be updated to display the new data.

Existing tref elements can be converted into tspan elements with Edit > Clone > Unlink Clone. If more than one tref is contained within a selection, all trefs will be converted into tspans. All attributes applied to the tref will be retained in the new tspan.

A tref element can be mixed with any other elements allowed to be contained by a text element.

The cloned character data rendered by the tref may not be edited, but any characters surrounding it can be changed. Styles cannot be applied to a subset of the cloned characters, but if all are selected, a style can be applied to the tref.

SVG filters

New filters supported

  • The feBlend filter primitive gives us image blending modes, like in many image manipulation programs. These modes are screen, multiply, darken and lighten. There's a caveat, though: when blending an object against an semi-transparent background, the background will be accumulated twice, resulting in thicker objects under the bounding box of blended object. This is a limitation of current version of SVG format, not a bug in Inkscape.
  • The feOffset filter primitive offsets the image by an user-defined amount. For example, this is useful for drop shadows, as the shadow has to be in a slightly different position than the actual object.

Filter Effects

Filters UI

  • New dialog for creating and modifying filter effects (Object>Filter Effects...)
  • The list at the left of the dialog displays all filters currently in the document.
    • New filters can be added with the Add button beneath the list
    • Right-clicking a filter for the pop-up menu allows duplicating or removing a filter.
    • Double-clicking a filter will apply it to all selected objects
    • A black dot is placed next to whatever filter is applied to the selected objects. If more than one filter is in use by selected objects, an unfilled dot is used instead.
  • The second list, at the left of the dialog, displays the filter primitives that are contained within the currently-selected filter.
    • New primitives can be added by selecting the primitive type from the combo box beneath the list, and then pressing the Add button.
    • Right-clicking a primitive for the pop-up menu allows duplicating or removing a primitive.
    • Primitives can be rearranged by clicking and dragging any filter in the list.
    • When a filter is selected, the Settings group at the bottom of the dialog will change to display the attributes available for that primitive. Changing a setting results in an immediate update to the document.
    • The "in" and "in2" attributes for filters that support them are not shown in the Settings group. These input connections are displayed graphically in the list, under the Connections column.
      • Inputs for a particular filter are displayed as triangles. Depending on the primitive type, there may be one or two inputs (or more for Merge primitives.) Connections can be created by clicking on a triangle and dragging.
      • There are six standard input types that can be used for any primitive input; Source Graphic, Source Alpha, Background Image, Background Alpha, Fill Paint, and Stroke Paint. These are displayed vertically on the far right of the list. Click and drag from an input triangle to one of the standard inputs to connect them.
      • Primitives can also be connected to other primitives by clicking an input triangle and dragging upwards to another primitive. A primitive can only be connected to one higher up the list.
      • Single-clicking on an input triangle will unset it, returning it to the default. If it is on a Merge primitive, the input will be deleted.
      • Merge inputs have an empty input at the end. Dragging a connection from this input will add a new input to the primitive.

Live path effects

Live path effects (not to be confused with extension effects or SVG filters) are a new way to non-destructively modify path and shape objects. Path effects affect the path data of an object but not its style. The original path is preserved and can be edited directly on-canvas, and the path effect applied to it will be updated live.

In this version, we include several path effects that are analogous to the corresponding extension effects (such as Path along Path effect that replaces the extension of the same name). The most important advantage of path effects is that they are, indeed, live - you can still edit the original path and the effect will update in real time (unlike the extension effects which were one-time one-way transformations). In the future, we plan to reimplement most if not all of path-changing extensions as live path effects.

Live path effects were developed by Johan Engelen as part of the GSoC 2007.

Applying effects

[Path Effects dialog, Ctrl+Shift+7]

[Paste Path Effect command, Ctrl+7]

When a path with a path effect applied is selected, the statusbar description mentions that, for example "Path (4 nodes, path effect)".

Editing effect parameters

[lpe can be node-edited, preserved in simplify]

[lpe parameters can be node-editted, press "7" to cycle through the different on-canvas params, statusbar says name of parameter?]

Available effects

Path along path

The Path along Path effect can curve a path along another path. When this effect is applied to path A (called skeleton), another path B (called pattern) can then be passed as a parameter. The result is that path B is bent along path A. With the node edit tool, path A can be changed on-canvas and the result is updated live. This provides a direct equivalent of "vector brushes" or "skeletal strokes" features in other vector editors.

In the effect's control panel in the Path Effects dialog, you can select how many copies of the pattern are attached (either single or repeated) and whether the pattern is stretched to fill the skeleton path. You can also choose the pattern for the selected skeleton [either directly or] by pasting it from clipboard (that is, you select and copy to the clipboard the pattern, then select the skeleton, apply the Path along path effect, and paste the pattern). The Scale width parameter allows you to change the width of the pattern applied to the path.

Example file: live-path-effects-pathalongpath.svg

Curve Stitching

The Curve Stitching effect connects points from two subpaths of the path with straight line or curved segments. The result is also referred to as "String Art". For some examples of what can be made with this method, see Note that this effect can only be applied to a path with two subpaths in it (use Path > Combine to create such a path from two separate paths).

Example file: live-path-effects-curvestitch.svg


The Gears effect is a toy effect. It generates a chain of interconnected gears from the path that has the effect applied to it. The nodes of the path define the centers of the gears. The first 3 nodes are special; the first defines the start angle of the chain, the second defines the center of the first gear and the third knot specifies the radius of the first gear. That is, to create a chain of 2 gears, you will need a path with 4 nodes; for 3 gears, 5 nodes, and so on.

Example file: live-path-effects-gears.svg

Development of new effects

One of the goals of the Summer of Code project was to make it easy to create new effects. There is a framework that greatly simplifies effect implementation; very little code is needed to get the effect hooked into Inkscape. This leaves valuable time for the actual effect to be implemented. See the wiki page for an explanation of how to get started with your own effect!


Extension effects

Live preview

  • Live preview of effects: Using the async behavior (see below), as soon as the parameters dialog for an effect is shown, the script is executed in the background and the screen updates as soon as it's finished. This can result is seemingly faster execution if no parameters are changed. If some parameters are adjusted, the script is restarted. This allows you to see immediately the effects of any parameter change without pressing the OK button on the effect's dialog.
  • Spawn Glib API: Scripting extension have been moved to the Glib spawn API to ensure that parameters and variables aren't interpreted by a shell. This also means that scripting extensions are executed in a separate process asynchronously allowing the GTK main loop to continue to execute.
  • Progress dialog: While an extension is working on a document, a small dialog is shown allowing the user to cancel the execution.

New and improved effects

  • The new Render > Barcode extension creates a barcode. Supported types include EAN13, EAN8, UPC-A, UPC-E, UPC-5, Code39, Code39Ext, Code93, Code128, and RM4SCC.
  • The new Render > Gear extension creates a mechanical gear given the number of teeth, the circular pitch (in px units), and the pressure angle.
  • A group of new effects in the Text submenu performs various case conversions on selected text objects: converting to UPPERCASE, lowercase, Sentence case, Title Case, as well as flipping case (switching uppercase to lowercase and vice versa) and rANdoMiZInG cAse. If no texts are selected, the effect works on all texts in the document.
  • Another effect in the Text submenu, Replace text, performs search-and-replace on the selected text objects or (if nothing is selected) on all texts in the document. Searching is case sensitive. You can use this effect to globally delete all occurrences of some text fragment by replacing it with empty string. Conversely, if you search for an empty string and replace it with some string, this string will be inserted after every character of your text; for example, you can space out a text by replacing in it an empty string with a single space.
  • A new effect, Replace color in the Color submenu, simply replaces one RRGGBB-specified color to another within selection or, if there's no selection, in the entire document. As with other effects in that submenu, the replacement affects fill, stroke, and gradient colors, but not colors of bitmaps.
  • The new Color > Randomize extension allows you to change the color via hue, saturation and lightness check boxes. This is useful if you want to colorize lots of shapes at the same time.
  • The Whirl extension uses the center of view as the center of whirl, so you don't have to enter the center coordinates numerically.
  • The Render > Grid extension has got an extended range of grid spacings, from 0.1 to 1000 px.
  • The Render > Function Plotter extension can now plot using polar coordinates.
  • The Generate Template > Perfect-Bound Cover extension creates templates for wraparound covers for perfect-bound books using US size and paper weight measurements. This extension will resize the document to include the width, height, spine width, and bleed measurements that are provided to the extensions, so it should be the first operation done before designing.

XSLT effects

  • XSLT is now supported for input, output and effect extensions. This is used to support the XAML file format (both import and export) and the Adobe Illustrator SVG import which removes Adobe's stuff from SVG.

ImageMagick effects

New raster operations available through the effects drop-down menu, powered by the ImageMagick library. For any of these effects to work, you need to have an image object selected in the drawing.

  • Adaptive Threshold applies adaptive thresholding to the bitmap. Average color of rectangle provided by width and height used as threshold value. Use offset to apply a different threshold than the average.
  • Add Noise adds random noise of certain types to the bitmap.
  • Blur blurs the bitmap, using radius as the amount of blur. Higher radius means more blur. (Note that unlike the vector Gaussian blur of objects, this bitmap blur will not extend the edges of the image, so it may appear truncated at the edges.)
  • Channel extracts the specified channel from the bitmap.
  • Charcoal applies a charcoal drawing style to a bitmap. Radius controls the width (or detail) of charcoal strokes. Higher radius means lower detail. Sigma: the higher it is, the less defined the charcoal is.
  • Colorize overlays the bitmap with a given color at a given intensity.
  • Contrast lightly enhances the contrast (difference between lights and darks) of a bitmap.
  • Cycle Colormap cycles the colormap of a bitmap.
  • Despeckle reduce the speckle noise in a bitmap.
  • Edge hilights edges in a bitmap.
  • Emboss embosses a bitmap, hilighting edges with 3D effect.
  • Enhance enhance a bitmap, minimizing noise.
  • Equalize equalizes a bitmap. Histogram equalization.
  • Flop mirrors a bitmap, reflecting each scanline in the horizontal direction.
  • Gaussian Blur blurs a bitmap, more strongly than regular blur.
  • Implode sucks everything towards the center of the bitmap.
  • Level scales values falling between the given Black Point to White Point range to the full color range.
  • Level Channel acts the same way as level but for only one channel.
  • Median Filter filters a a bitmap by replacing each pixel component with the median color in a circular neighborhood
  • Modulate adjusts the percent hue, saturation, and brightness of a bitmap.
  • Negate takes the inverse of a bitmap.
  • Normalize normalizes a bitmap, expanding color range to the full possible range of color.
  • Oil Paint stylizes a bitmap so that it appears to be painted with oils.
  • Opacity modifies the opacity channel of a bitmap.
  • Raise alters the lightness of the edges of a bitmap to create a raised appearance, much like a frame.
  • Reduce Noise reduces noise in a bitmap by using a noise peak elimination filter.
  • Shade shades a bitmap by simulating a distant light source
  • Sharpen sharpens a bitmap.
  • Solarize solarizes a bitmap, like overexposing photographic film.
  • Spread randomly spread pixels in a bitmap within the radius of amount.
  • Swirl swirls the bitmap around the center point.
  • Threshold thresholds a bitmap.
  • Unsharpmask sharpens a bitmap using an unsharp mask algorithm.
  • Wave alters a bitmap along the sine wave.

These effects are part of the Google Summer of Code 2007, coded by Christopher Brown.


  • All Python effects are switched from the old and unmaintained PyXML library to the new powerful lxml library.
  • A new parameter, precision is added to the parameter definitions in the inx file format, allowing you to set the number of digits in that parameter's spinbutton in the effect UI.

Color management

Calibrated SVG color including CMYK

Inkscape now supports color-managed color definitions that use a colorspace other than sRGB (for example Adobe RGB, or calibrated CMYK colors). In the SVG file, this is done using the optional "icc-color(...)" paint components as described in section 11.2 "Specifying paint" of the SVG 1.1 specification [1]. A fallback sRGB value will be used, for non color-managed workflows. This allows for the use of calibrated color spaces, including using CMYK values that are preserved across applications.

The new CMS color selector tab allows these colors to be edited.

Display calibration

In Inkscape Preferences, Color Management tab, there's a new option for enabling display color calibration; you can select any calibration profile (an ICC file) suitable for your display. Options for rendering intent can also be chosen.

Soft Proofing

In Inkscape Preferences, Color Management tab, there's a new option for enabling output device preview; you can select any calibration profile (an ICC file) suitable for your output device. Options for rendering intent can also be chosen, along with out of gamut warnings.


  • In addition to all other snapping modes and techniques, snapping has been implemented or improved in many tools and contexts:
  • Drawing of new shapes (such as rectangles or ellipses) snaps to grid/guides/objects.
  • Handles of existing objects and gradient handles snap.
  • Skewing objects in Selector snaps.
  • Snapping to objects works for images and clones (not only paths/shapes as before).
  • Snapping of text baselines works again.
  • When moved in Selector, an object optionally snaps with its rotation axis (which is by default in the geometric center of its bounding box, but can be arbitrarily moved and its position is remembered for every object). It is also possible to snap to a rotation axis with another object.
  • While dragging a guide, it now snaps to object nodes
Other snapping fixes and improvements include:
  • The snapping preferences dialog has been restyled to make it more intuitive
  • Snapping distance is now set in screen pixels and is therefore independent of zoom.
  • Snapping to bounding boxes has been added
  • Snapping of objects has been made more clean, by only snapping bounding box corners to bounding boxes, and nodes to other nodes and paths.
  • The time it takes to snap to objects using the selector tool has been reduced dramatically.
  • The bug where "node-to-node" snapping caused jerky movement of nodes is fixed.
  • The aspect ratio is correctly preserved while scaling objects with snapping turned on.
  • All four bounding box corners now snap instead of only the lower-left and upper-right as before.
  • Snapping while uniformly scaling has been improved.
  • The confusing "Default transformations origin" option is removed. Now Inkscape always uses the opposite edge of the object's bounding box as the transformation origin (though the bounding box itself can now be different, see next item).
  • A new preference option has been added to specify the kind of bounding box to be used for transforming objects (see Inkscape Preferences, Tools, Selector). You can choose between the visual bounding box (which takes into account the stroke width, markers, and blur margins; this is the default behavior) or geometric bounding box (which encloses only the path itself, disregarding stroke width).


  • a new tab in the document properties dialog, solely meant for grids; the former grid/guide tab is now solely for guides. I envision a list of guides there in the future, for easier deletion of guides etc.
  • more than one grid can be active at the same time, although i am having trouble in finding a usefull case for this
  • multiple views on the same document share the same grids, but the grid can be turned off for each view separately. For example: one could have an overview view without grid enabled. Duplicate that window and zoom in on some detail; then grids can be shown only for that view, and snapping will only happen in those views for which grids are enabled. (sorry i am not able to explain more clearly)
  • grid information is now stored in SVG as a child of sodipodi:namedview. Can someone please make an extension that converts an old grid definition to the new format?
  • axonometric grid (not yet snapping)
  • dots instead of lines

From developer perspective:

  • implementation of new grids is much easier now; subclassing CanvasGrid and adding an entry in the is enough. Have a peek at how the rectangular grid is implemented (CanvasXYGrid).
  • note that there is no longer "the grid", there might be several grids active now!

[Future plans (i will not be working on this soon, due to GSoC Live effects!):

    • possibility of enabling not all but a selection of grids for a view. Eg. when there are 4 grids defined in the document, only enable grid2 for a certain view.
    • new grids!
    • better snapping mechanism to enable snapping to intersections of guides&grids and grids&grids.

A side effect of removal of old gridcode: apparantly the origin of the desktop rules used to be set to the origin of the grid. I find this strange: specifying a grid origin of (2,2) would have me think the origin would be at ruler location (2,2) instead of (0,0) as it is in 0.45.1. I have commented the grid-origin correction to the ruler range, because now there is not a single grid anymore to correct it for. Isn't there a control somewhere to define the documents origin? Now the ruler origin is set to (0,0) -- johan]


PDF and AI import

In this version, Inkscape can natively (i.e. without any additional software) import PDF files and the newer PDF-based Adobe Illustrator files (starting from AI version 9.0).

Implemented features: The new import extension can import paths, text, clippaths, masked or non-masked images, and softmasks. It supports pattern fills (XStep and YStep attributes are ignored) as well as linear and radial gradients (only those using sampled or exponential functions). Gradient meshes are imported, but they get converted to groups of small tiles (flat-colored paths) that approximate the mesh; the user can adjust the precision of this approximation.

PDF import settings: After opening a PDF or AI document, the PDF Import Settings dialog shows up. Here you can select:

  • the page to be imported from a multipage PDF;
  • the overall clip region (which can be none or set to any of the PDF boxes, e.g. the crop box, the media box, the trim box, etc.);
  • the precision for the approximation of gradient meshes; note that setting this too high may result in a huge SVG file and slow performance when importing files with gradient meshes;
  • a checkbox controlling whether the images should be embedded into the resulting SVG document or saved on the current path;
  • a preview of the selected page (shown if poppler-cairo is present on the system or if the selected page has a thumbnail embedded into the PDF document).

Text editing tips: Any text imported from PDF or AI has each letter's precise place on the page fixed. While this preserves the exact appearance (e.g. justification of text blocks) of the imported document, it makes editing such text difficult: deleting text fails to contract the text line and inserting text fails to expand it, i.e. typed letters overlay the existing letters. (However, you still can replace a letter with another letter of about the same width, although you may need to kern it into place with Alt+arrows.)

To work around this, select the text object you want to edit and use Text > Remove manual kerns command. This will remove the exact positioning information, so if the text block was justified it will lose justification, but instead you will be able to edit it as usual.

Note that there is a way to select even a single line in a text block. For this, open the XML editor, expand the <svg:text> tree branch corresponding to your text, and select any of the <svg:tspan> objects under it. Now you can remove manual kerns from this line only. After you finish editing the line, you can manually justify it back, for example by adding spaces, manual kerns (Alt+arrows), or by adjusting letterspacing (select the whole line and use Alt+> or Alt+<).

The native PDF/AI importer is based on the poppler library and was implemented by Miklós Erdélyi as part of the Google Summer of Code 2007.

PDF export

  • [if enabled! - mental] A new cairo-based PDF exporter has been added to Inkscape. Inkscape 0.46 can export shapes, strokes, transparency, gradients, patterns, text, and images correctly to cairo. While clipping paths and masks are known to be faulty or missing. cairo will write a PDF with vector graphics when possible and fall back to raster graphics when needed. What can be exported as vectors and how much of the image will be rasterized when the fallback kicks in depends on your version of cairo. cairo version 1.2 with the pdf backend compiled in is the minimum requirement for any cairo-based PDF exports.
  • A new cairo-based exporter can be used to export to PostScript. The cairo PS backend is not as mature as the PDF backend. It rasterizes a lot of its content. Text output does not work where it works with the PDF backend.

CDR (CorelDraw) import

Inkscape can use UniConvertor if it's installed on your system to import documents in CDR format (CorelDraw). This feature is Unix-only at this time (since UniConvertor is Unix-only) and requires that you have Python and UniConvertor installed. As of UniConvertor 1.0rc2, only versions from 7 to X3 of the CDR format are supported, and text objects are not converted.

XAML import/export

  • Inkscape can import vector graphics portions of XAML documents, as well as export its documents to XAML.

Adobe Illustrator SVG clean import

  • Using this new import filter, Inkscape can open an SVG document removing any elements and attributes in the namespaces that Adobe Illustrator uses for its stuff. This will clean out everything except the actual SVG content.

Bitmap export

  • Batch export: The Bitmap Export dialog (Ctrl+Shift+E) got a new checkbox, Batch export all selected objects. This checkbox is available when two or more objects are selected. If it is checked, instead of exporting selection as a whole, Inkscape exports each selected object separately into its own PNG file. This uses each object's export hints (i.e. export filename and DPI) if they are remembered from a previous export; otherwise, the filename is created from the object ID and the DPI is 90 pixels per inch. Caution: Unlike regular export, batch export overwrites all existing PNG files without warning.
This makes it possible to implement all kinds of image slicing and automated export scenarios. For example, if you are working on a web site design, you can create a separate "export" layer. In that layer, "slice" your web page image into separate areas by creating invisible rectangles with no fill and no stroke. Select each rectangle (by Tab/Shift+Tab, or by switching to Outline mode where even an invisible rectangle can be selected by clicking on its outline) and export it into the corresponding filename (which gets saved as that object's export hint). After that, if you do any changes to your graphics, it's very easy to reexport all the slices: just switch to the "export" layer, select all in that layer (Ctrl+A), and export with the Batch export selected objects checkbox on.
  • Hide all except selected: A new checkbox allows you to hide in the exported image everything except selected object(s).
  • The Export dialog automatically appends the .png extension to the export filename you specify.

Command line

Several new command line options are added that make Inkscape even more scriptable and automatable than before.

  • --verb-list will list all the Verb IDs and their names in Inkscape. This makes writing your own menus and hotkeys much easier as you can easily find out what the choices are.
  • --verb followed by a verb ID allows you to specify a verb to be called on every document opened by Inkscape initially from the command line.
  • --select followed by a node ID will allow you to add a node to the list of selected objects.

These options can be used, for example, for performance testing. You could do something like this:

$ time inkscape --verb=FileClose my_complex_file.svg

to measure the time it takes to load and display the file.

Of course, with the ability to select objects, it can be much more useful than that. You can call extension effects, or any other verb, then FileSave and FileClose to automate all kinds of operations on your drawings.

User interface

[dockable dialogs - gustav]

Inkscape now has a dock panel to the right of the canvas, on which dialogs can be docked.

The new dockable dialog behavior exists alongside the old floating dialogs behavior. If the old behavior is preferred, one can select it under Inkscape Preferences > Windows > Dialog behavior.

Known issues:

  • It doesn't work well with multiple open documents. Fixing it requires a bit of rewrite of the current dialog manager.
  • Resizing in-dock dialogs can be cumbersome. More specifically, one won't be able to expand a dialog placed in the dock unless all dialogs beneath it are expanded in advance. Fixing this requires some changes in GDL, I've got it somewhat working, but decided that it's still too flaky to commit in its current state.
  • Remembered positions of dockable floating dialogs is inexact.

Note that this change only applies to gtkmm:ified dialogs, i.e. dialogs that subclass UI::Dialog. I've gtkmm:ified "Fill & Stroke" and with this change, that version is now default. Dialogs left to be gtkmm:ified are the "XML Editor", "Tiled Clones", "Object Properties", "Text and Font".

[ One can now change to tabbed layout if it's preferred by setting "options.dock[switcherstyle]" to "4".

Done, the new option is called "options.dock[cancenterdock]" (="1" by default).

The new option is "options.dock[dockbarstyle]". Setting it to "0" will give you icons only. ]

[toolbars - JonCruz]

Main toolbar on the left can now optionally use smaller buttons. With the several new tools added in this version, this may help users with small screens where the toolbar otherwise may not fit vertically. The toggle is on the Misc tab of the Inkscape Preferences dialog.

[calligraphy: menus, tooltips; star; ...]

Switched to stock GTK+ toolbars.

Extra magic secret sauce added.

[filedialogs - JonCruz]

Swatches panel, color drag-and-drop

  • Right-clicking a color swatch now opens a context menu which allows you to apply the color to the fill or stroke of selection.
  • Dragging colors from the color palette has been fixed and improved:
  • Now the dropped color is applied to the object on which you drop it, regardless of whether that object is selected or not. This means you can change the color of only one object from selection without having to select it separately. (If you want to assign color to the entire selection, just click on the color swatch on the palette, not drag it.)
  • If an object has stroke and you drop the color over stroke, the color is applied to stroke and not fill. (Another way to always apply color to stroke is to Shift+drag it.)
  • When gradient handles are active (e.g. in Gradient or Node tools), you can drop a color onto the gradient line to create a new gradient mid stop with this color, or drop a color onto an existing stop to recolor that stop.

Color gestures

A new method for quick and precise adjustment of colors is added in this version: color gestures. It works on the selected objects by grabbing the fill or stroke color swatch in the selected style indicator (on the left of the statusbar) and dragging it in various directions as described below. Note that this only works when the swatch displays a flat color; it does not work for a swatch showing "None", "N/A", or displaying a gradient (although you can select one or more gradient stops in Gradient tool and color-adjust them by color gestures just as you would do for objects). Color gestures can work on fill or stroke, depending on which swatch in the selected color indicator you drag.

Color gestures work in HSL color space. Dragging without any keyboard modifiers adjusts the hue channel, dragging with Shift adjusts saturation, and dragging with Ctrl adjusts lightness.

The adjustment is done by rotating the color swatch away from the original direction which is assumed to be NE at 45 degrees (i.e. from the swatch diagonally into the document window). Once you click and drag the color swatch, imagine a diagonal line going from the point where you clicked in the NE direction, across the entire Inkscape window. By dragging below or to the right of that line, you decrease the corresponding color channel, to the minimum at the lower edge of the window; by dragging it above or to the left, you increase it, to the maximum at the left edge of the window. If you hover your mouse exactly over the 45 degrees line, the change will be zero.

Note that you can easily vary the precision of your adjustment. If you drag close enough to the swatch, each small movement results in a big change of the color. If you need a finer adjustment, just drag farther away from the swatch, towards the center of the Inkscape window or even to its upper right corner, where minute movements will produce very small changes in the color. In fact, this method gives you more color precision than even the color wheel in the Fill and Stroke dialog, unless you expand that dialog to fill the entire screen which is rarely practical.

The mouse cursor changes when you're doing color gestures, reflecting the channel currently adjusted and indicating the directions for increasing and decreasing the value. Also, watch the statusbar which will indicate, as you drag, the channel you are adjusting, the original value of that channel, the new value, and the difference.

You can switch channels while you drag. That is, you don't need to drag it again and again from the swatch if you want to adjust all three channels - you can do it all in one drag, by pressing and releasing Ctrl and Shift as necessary. Note that when you change the keyboard modifiers during drag, the position of the zero-change line is temporarily changed to go through the current mouse position; this is done so that there are no sudden changes in color if you are switching modifiers away from the original 45-degree line.

For example, you can select a green rectangle and first turn it into greenish-blue by dragging away from the Fill swatch and slightly above the 45 degrees line; then, without releasing the mouse, press Ctrl and drag a bit to the right to darken the color; then press Shift, release Ctrl, and adjust saturation. You can press or release Ctrl and Shift as many times as necessary during a single drag; when you are finally satisfied with your color, release the mouse to commit the change.

Apart from precise adjustments, you can use color gestures to very quickly perform common color transformations:

  • Ctrl+drag the swatch to the right and down to paint all selected objects black.
  • Ctrl+drag the swatch upwards and to the left to paint all selected objects white.
  • Shift+drag the swatch to the right and down to desaturate the color of selected objects.
  • Shift+drag the swatch upwards and to the left to maximize saturation of the color of selected objects.

Note that when several objects or gradient stops with different colors are selected, the selected style indicator shows their averaged color. If you adjust that color by gesturing, the changed color will be assigned back to all selected objects/stops, in effect eliminating any difference between them. If you want to adjust many different-colored objects preserving their relative differences, use the color modes of the Tweak tool or color adjustment extension effects.

This new technique requires some getting used to, but once you get the idea it is quite convenient, fast, and precise.

Print dialog integration

  • Print Dialog: The GTK Unix Print Dialog has been hooked up! From the dialog, you can select any of the Postscript-capable printers known to your system and configure them as with any other GTK application.

Saving window geometry globally

Previously, window geometry (size and position of document windows) could only be saved into the document (so that each document stored its own window geometry). Now, a new option is added to save the geometry of the last used window to the preferences and apply this geometry to all new windows. Thus, with the "Save geometry to preferences" option enabled, new windows will open with the shape of the most recent previous window. This mode also remembers and restores the maximized/fullscreen state (unlike geometry saved to documents).

Preserving zoom/view of reverted documents

When reverting files to their previously saved state, the current zoom factor/panning is now retained (as opposed to reverted to the saved state, too, as it was the case before). This less interrupts the workflow when one is working on some detail in the drawing.

New ways to scroll and zoom

  • You can now enable Space+mouse drag to pan canvas, as it does in Adobe Illustrator. This mode is enabled by the Left mouse button pans when Space is pressed checkbox in the Scrolling tab of the Inksape Preferences dialog. By default it is off and pressing the spacebar key switches you to Selector and back, as it always did in Inkscape.
  • By default, rotating the mouse wheel scrolls the canvas vertically and Ctrl+wheel zooms in and out. Now, if you turn on the Mouse wheel zooms by default checkbox in the Scrolling tab of the Inksape Preferences dialog, this behavior is reversed: mouse wheel zooms without Ctrl and scrolls with Ctrl. This new mode should be familiar for users of AutoCAD and CorelDraw.
  • In the Zoom tool, right mouse button always zooms out instead of calling the context menu (which is rather useless in this tool anyway).

Using other keys in place of Alt

  • Many Linux users have found the use of Alt-drag and Alt+click in Inkscape problematical because this shortcut is often captured by window managers. In 0.46, instead of disabling of the window manager shortcut as suggested in the FAQ, you can change a setting in your preferences.xml file called mapalt in the options group. This numerical value ranges from 1 to 5; 1 indicates no change, any other value refers to some special key on a keyboard, such as Alt Gr, the Windows key, etc. The specific mapping of these values to the keys on your keyboard can be viewed and/or editied by xkeycaps, available from The value associated with a particular key is shown in that program at the top of the screen beside the word "Modifiers" when the mouse is held over a key on the main display.

GTK theme on OS X

A GTK theme is now included in bundle on OS X. If the user does not have any personal customization (e.g. in a .gtkrc-2.0 file) this theme is used. It reflects the OS X settings for "Appearance" and "Highlight Color" set in System Preferences > Appearance.

Other changes and improvements

  • Gnome VFS Improvements: Gnome VFS Non-Local files are now usable through all of our file choosers in Open, Save and Export. This compile-time option allowed people to open any Gnome-VFS-based URI from the command-line in the past, but not non-local resources (WebDAV, SFTP, etc) and this now allows for all the lovely possibilities Gnome-VFS provides.
  • In previous versions, Inkscape didn't allow you to group a single object. Yet in some cases, this operation is useful (for example, to blur the clipped edged of an object, or apply more than one clippath/mask to an object). Now this limitation is removed; just select any single object and group it to get a single-object group.
  • The somewhat cryptic "F:" and "S:" labels in the selected style indicator (at the left end of the statusbar) and in tool's style swatches are now spelled out as Fill: and Stroke:. We believe this makes the interface, even if less space-efficient, a bit more friendly for newbies.
  • The style swatches at the right end of object-creating tools' control bars now open the Preferences page of the corresponding tool when clicked. Also, now these swatches display a tooltip explaining its purpose (e.g. "Style of new rectangles", "Style of new calligraphic strokes", etc.)
  • After dragging a curve segment in Node tool, Inkscape no longer selects the two adjacent nodes if they were not selected before.
  • The Tile Clones dialog now uses the object's defined rotation axis (which can be freely moved by Selector tool and which is saved separately for each object) for all rotations (including both symmetry rotations and the Rotation tab rotations), scales, and flips. This renders unnecessary the previous workarounds where you had to group an object with another transparent object to affect how it's rotated by the clone tiler.
  • In Pencil and Calligraphic tools, pressing Esc or Ctrl+Z while drawing cancels the currently drawn path or stroke. When not drawing, these keys work as before (Esc deselects, Ctrl+Z undoes last action). (This is the same behavior as in the Pen tool where it was introduced in a previous version.)
  • A set of new verbs has been added to allow the user to easily unlock all locked objects or unhide all hidden objects. There are two variants one that operates on the current layer and its children and one that operates globally. While searching for hidden or locked object descendants of locked layers are ignored.
  • Several more rotation snapping increments are available in the Steps tab of the Inkscape Preferences dialog: 36, 22.5, 18, 12, and 0.5 degrees.
  • The list of folder shortcuts in the Open dialog includes the folder with Inkscape's SVG examples for easy access. Similarly, the Save dialog has a shortcut for the user's own templates dialog making it easy to save the current document as a template (if saved as default.svg, it will be loaded every time you run Inkscape or create new document with Ctrl+N; with any other name, it will be added to the File > New submenu).
  • For time-intensive operations such as Paint Bucket and Simplify, the system's busy wait cursor is displayed to indicate to the user that Inkscape is actively working, and not frozen.
  • Several improvements in inkview: busy cursor is shown while loading file, the button window stays on top and responds to keyboard shortcuts; several memleaks stopped and bugs fixed. The "slideshow mode" of the main inkscape application (-s or --slideshow command line option) is removed; use inkview instead.
  • In Document Metadata dialog, updated Creative Commons Licenses to version 3.0.
  • File dialog windows (open/save) now have a "Enable preview" checkbox which allows you to disable the preview pane.
  • In the Calligraphic pen controls, the toggle button to enable tablet pressure sensitivity is moved to the Width control, and the button for tilt sensitivity is moved to Angle, to better reflect what parameters these toggles affect.
  • In Node and Gradient tools, using Tab/Shift+Tab to select next/previous node or gradient handle scrolls the canvas if necessary to show the selection.
  • The option Import bitmap as <image> is removed; it was added several versions ago to allow optionally importing images as rectangles with image pattern, to make clipping the images easier. Now that you can easily use clipping paths, as well as convert any image to rectangle with pattern with Alt+I, this option is not really necessary and removed to reduce confusion. Bitmaps are always imported into SVG as an <image> element.
  • Support has been added for stock patterns, in the same way that stock markers were already supported. Adding patterns to share/patterns/patterns.svg, and giving them a inkscape-stockid attribute as found on the examples already there will make them available in all Inkscape sessions from the patterns tab of the fill & stroke dialog.

Notable bugfixes

These are bugfixes compared to 0.45.1; for a list of fixes in 0.45.1 compared to 0.45, see 0.45.1 release notes.

  • The sodipodi:docbase attribute is no longer added to the root <svg> element. This attribute used to keep the latest directory that the document was saved to, and thus represented a mild privacy violation (i.e., by sharing your Inkscape SVG files you allowed others to have a peek into your directory structure). Note, however, that Inkscape does not remove this attribute from old documents it opens; if you want you can remove it yourself. Inkscape just no longer creates this attribute in new documents.
  • A fix in the blur rendering code made exporting blurred objects to bitmap much faster and fixed the disappearing of blurred objects in exported bitmaps which happened for large objects in 0.45. The same fix got rid of the rendering artefacts that sometimes appeared on blurred objects during scrolling.
  • Inkscape now properly quotes font-family values and therefore can use fonts with various nonalphanumeric characters in their names, which previously failed.
  • If you have saved documents with a previous version of Inkscape which used right-to-left text (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew) then the paragraph alignment of non-flowed text has been reversed in this release. This is due to a bug in previous versions - the new behaviour is compliant with the SVG specification and compatible with other editors and viewers. To correct your images, simply reverse the paragraph alignment by selecting the text and clicking the appropriate button on the toolbar.
  • A large family of bugs was exterminated where an object's style could only refer other objects (such as gradients, patterns, and filters) that come after it in the document. Now any objects can be referenced from a style regardless of their place in the document. This fixed the disappearance of gradients/patterns/filters after you undo an effect, as well as lots of assorted crashes and misrenderings (mostly on non-Inkscape SVG files).
  • On Windows, file opening/saving dialogs can no longer sink under the main editor window (they now have the inkscape window set correctly as their parent window).
  • Stock markers now appear in the "recently used markers" section of the marker selector dropdowns in the Fill & Stroke dialog. Before, any markers with stock id's (including markers modified by the user) were hidden, making it difficult to work with modified stock markers.
  • A regression in 0.45 caused crashes when undo or redo was attempted before the previous action could complete (e.g. pressing ctrl+z while you are still drawing a rectangle). This is now fixed.
  • Previously, if there was a single invalid property in a style attribute, the entire attribute was discarded, i.e. the object lost all styling. Now Inkscape's behavior is more compliant to the CSS specification: it ignores only the invalid property but reads in all the rest.
  • Several bugs are fixed in searching for linked images. Now moving SVG documents with their associated images to a different place or a different machine should work more reliably.
  • Master opacity did not apply to stroke markers as it should; fixed.
  • Creative Commons Public Domain Declaration URI points to the right location now.
  • Text objects didn't display the pattern editing handles; fixed.
  • On Windows, the Inkscape uninstaller deleted all files under the install directory. This could lead to removing user-created files, or even other program files not related to inkscape if the install directory was C:\Program Files. The new uninstaller tracks all installed files and asks for confirmation before deleting any other files. However, installation and uninstallation process is now slower.
  • Clones were wrongly unlinked when their original was moved to another layer; fixed.
  • Previous versions had a problem on Windows Vista where selected menu item was invisible. Now our Windows builds use a newer version of GTK library which fixes this problem.

Previous releases