Release notes/0.46

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Revision as of 22:42, 11 August 2009 by Tweenk (talk | contribs) (→‎Details about operation: restore part 3)
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Inkscape 0.46

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)
  • Stock patterns
  • 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
  • "3D" / axonometric grid
  • Angled guidelines
  • Conversion of objects to guidelines
  • 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.
  • Minor improvements have been made to gradient rendering performance.
  • 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 objects, nodes, and gradient handles by cursor keys as well as scaling and rotating objects from keyboard and zooming by keys are much more responsive when working with complex slow-rendering objects. Now, if you press and hold a key, your selection/zoom level will quickly jump to the final position instead of going through all the intermediate steps as before.
  • 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, a message will appear in the statusbar reminding you 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 Grow and carving holes with Shrink. 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 AI; 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, shrinking, or growing 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.

See the screenshot at [1] for a few examples of using the path editing modes of the Tweak tool.


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 shrinking or growing 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 editing 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 editing 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.)

See the screenshot at [2] for a few examples of using the color editing modes of the Tweak tool.


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 create drawings or objects that appear three-dimensional. The new 3D box tool helps you create such drawings by automating the most common operation: creating a box in a given 3D 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; Shift+drag without releasing the mouse button to extrude in Z direction.
  • Adjust any of its 3 dimensions by handles. The 4 handles on the front X/Y side resize it, the four ones on the back X/Y side expand/contract the box in Z direction. With Shift, the functions of handles on front and back sides are reversed. With Ctrl, the side-resizing handles snap to the coordinate axes or diagonals.
  • 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 on the canvas (see below) or toggling their states; all boxes sharing this perspective are affected by a vanishing point move.

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.

In SVG, a 3D box is represented as a group (svg:g) with a special extension attribute (in Inkscape's 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.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • X, Shift+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.
  • When the 3D box tool is active, Shift+X, Shift+Y, and Shift+Z toggle perspective lines in the corresponding direction between "converging" and "parallel".

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), as well as to -1/3, -1/2, -1, -2, -3, etc. 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.

Node tool

  • 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.
  • As a long-requested feature, two entry fields are added to the toolbar which allow precise editing of the coordinates of selected nodes.

Rectangle Tool

  • Ctrl+dragging now also allows the creation of rectangles with sides constrained to the golden ratio (approx. 1 : 1.618034), not only integer ratios.

Ellipse Tool

  • It is now easy to create ellipses/circles passing through particular points. Normally, the starting and ending point of the mouse drag mark the corners of the bounding box. Now the Alt modifier can be used to enlarge the ellipse so that its circumference passes through these two points.
  • Ctrl+Alt+drag is an exception from this rule. It creates a perfect circle whose diameter is defined by the starting and ending point of the drag.

Pen/Pencil Tools

These tools can now create single dots by Ctrl+click on the canvas. This creates a small circle filled with the current stroke color. The radius can be set in the Preferences of the respective tools (it is specified as a multiple of the current stroke width). Shift+Ctrl+click creates a dot twice the specified size, and Alt+Ctrl+click varies the size of the created dots randomly.

Dropper Tool

The shortcut 'D' is now used to toggle (not just switch to) the dropper tool - much like space is used to toggle the selector tool. That is, pressing 'D' a second time switches back to the tool used before.

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 feColorMatrix filter primitive applies a matrix transformation to colour of each rendered pixel. This allows for effects like turning object to grayscale, modifying colour saturation and changing colour hue.
  • The feComposite filter primitive composites two images using one of the Porter-Duff blending modes (described in paper Compositing Digital Images by T. Porter and T. Duff, published in SIGGRAPH '84 Conference Proceedings, Association for Computing Machinery, Volume 18, Number 3, July 1984) or the aritmetic mode described in SVG standard. Porter-Duff blending modes are essentially logical operations between the images. For example, xor mode shows the areas, where either one of the objects is, but not the areas where both of the objects are. Arithmetic mode lets you specify coefficients k1-k4 for blending equation (result colour) = k1 * (first input colour) * (second input colour) + k2 * (first input colour) + k3 * (second input colour) + k4.
  • The feConvolveMatrix lets you specify a Convolution to be applied on the image. Common effects created using convolution matrices are blur, sharpening, embossing and edge detection. There's a fairly good explanation and some example matrices at Note that while gaussian blur can be created using this filter primitive, the special gaussian blur primitive is faster and resolution-independent.
  • Filter primitives feDiffuseLighting and feSpecularLighting create lighting maps for the object in input image. SVG doesn't have concept of third dimension, so these filters use alpha channel of input image as a height map: the more opaque given point in input image is, the nearer spectator it is considered to be. There exists an example for using these in Inkscape distribution, in share/examples/lighting_effects.svg or in SVN
  • The feDisplacementMap filter primitive displaces the pixels in the first input using the second input as a displacement map, that shows from how far the pixel should come from. Classical examples are whirl and pinch effects, that can be found in most image manipulation programs and even in some screensavers, where this kind off effect is moving around screen, twisting desktop beneath it.
  • The feFlood filter primitive fills its region with a given color and opacity. It can be used as an auxiliary tool, usualy in combination with other filter primitives, in order to facilitate some common color handling operations.
  • The feImage filter primitive allows using external images as part of filtering chain. For example, one could use external image as a displacement map for feDisplacementMap or as a height map for lighting effects. Note that while SVG standard allows using other parts of the SVG file in this filter primitive, the current Inkscape implementation only allows external images.
  • The feMerge filter primitive composites several temporary images inside the filter primitive to a single image. It uses normal alpha compositing for this. This is equivalent to using several feBlend primitives in 'normal' mode or several feComposite primitives in 'over' -mode.
  • The feMorphology filter primitive provides erode and dilate effects, that are common in image manipulation programs. With erode, darker and more transparent areas spread to lighter and more opaque areas, whereas with dilate lighter and more opaque areas spread to darker and more transparent areas. For single-colour objects, this basically means, erode makes the object thinner and dilate makes it thicker.
  • The feOffset filter primitive offsets the image by an user-defined amount. For example, this is useful for drop shadows, where the shadow is in a slightly different position than the actual object.
  • The feTurbulence filter primitive renders Perlin noise. This kind of noise is useful in simulating several nature phenomena like clouds, fire and smoke and in generating complex textures like marble or granite.

See also wiki page Filter Effects for more info on filters in Inkscape in general.

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 (LPE)

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 and Pattern along Path 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.

Details about operation

The following schematic tries to explain how LPE work.

   original style  ------------>  output style
   original path   -->  LPE  -->  output path

The original style and path are from the path that the effect is applied on. The output is what is visible on screen. What is very important to notice is that output style equals original style.

The parameters can be paths, numbers, points, text, in principle anything.

Applying effects

Path effects are applied through the Path Effects dialog (opened from the Path menu, or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+7. This dialog is also used for controlling the effect's parameters and for removing effects.

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

There is a special Paste Path Effect command (Ctrl+7) that can be used to copy effects from one path to another.

Editing effect parameters

When switching to the node edit tool (F2), the original path can be edited. The original path is shown as a red helper path. Normal path operations, like simplify, still work.

Some parameters of effects can be edited on-canvas. For example, path parameters can be node-edited, by pressing the "edit on-canvas" button in the Path Effects dialog. Press "7" to cycle through the different on-canvas editable parameters. This way, one can edit the parameters without opening the Path Effects dialog. The statusbar tells the name of the parameters that is currently being shown.

Available effects

Path along path

The Path along Path effect can curve a path along another path. When this effect is applied to a path, it can be bend along another path (called bend path). With the node edit tool, both the original path and the bend path 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 original path are put along the bend path (either single or repeated) and whether it is stretched to fill the bend path. In this dialog you'll also find a button to edit the bend path on-canvas and a button to paste a new bend path from clipboard. A possible workflow is this: you select and copy the new bend path to the clipboard, then select the path you want to bend, apply the Path along path effect, and paste the bend path with the paste button next to 'bend path'.

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

Pattern along path

The Pattern 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

Stitch Subcurves

The Stitch Subcurves effect connects points from two subpaths of the path with straight line or curved segments, i.e. the stitches. It looks a lot like the Effect Lines from Expression 3. The result is also referred to as "String Art". For some examples of string art, see

The shape of the connecting paths can controlled by the stroke path parameter. This could be used to draw 'hair-shaped' connecting paths with sharp end-tips. Other controls include the number of paths, the variation in spacing between the connecting paths (clustering) and also whether the start and end points of the stitches should like exactly on the original subcurves or can stray randomly around them. Finally the width of the stroke path can be varied.

Note that this effect can only be applied to a path with two subpaths in it, hence 'subcurve' in the name. 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 Modify Path > Edge 3D extension creates black, grey and white paths around a shape, then blurs and clips them for a 3D effect.
  • The new Generate from Path > Dimensions extension creates CAD style dimensions that are basically arrows with lengths equal to selection's bounding box and captions representing length.
  • 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.

Stock patterns

Since a few versions ago, Inkscape supports patterns in fill and stroke. However, up to now the only way to apply a pattern was by creating it in the document using the Object(s) to Pattern command, which wasn't very convenient. Now, if you switch an object's fill or stroke to pattern using the Fill&Stroke dialog, you will get a drop-down list with a number of predefined stock patterns that you can apply simply by selecting them from the list:

  • A selection of plain stripes differing by the ratio of the stripe width to gap width (for example, the "Stripes 1:2" pattern has gaps twice as wide as stripes), in the range from 4:1 to 1:64. All stripes patterns are in two versions: with black stripes and with white stripes (gaps are always transparent).
  • Two checkerboard patterns with black and white odd squares (even squares are transparent)
  • Packed circles: a hexagonal pattern of black circles with transparent gaps.
  • Polka dots: a scattering of dots designed to look randomly but evenly distributed so as to mask the regularity of the repeating pattern. There are three size variants of this pattern (small, medium, and large dots) and two color variants (black and white dots).
  • Wavy is a pattern of wavy lines.
  • Camouflage is a green-toned protective pattern such as that used by the military.
  • Ermine is the traditional heraldic pattern representing stylized stoat furs with black tails.
  • Three bitmap patterns: sand, cloth, and old paint are based on seamless photographic tiles and allow you to add some natural texture to your drawing. All of them are grayscale, so you can make objects with these textures semitransparent and overlay them over other colored objects to "texturize" them.

After applying a stock pattern, switch to Node tool to edit the location, scale, and rotation of the pattern via on-canvas handles.

All stock patterns are stored in the file patterns/patterns.svg in Inkscape's share directory (typically /usr/share/inkscape on Linux, inkscape-dir/share on Windows). You can add your own patterns to this file or replace it with any other SVG file containing the patterns you need.


  • A new command, Objects to Marker, was added to the Object menu. It converts the current selection into a marker. After you do it, the selection is deleted, but the list of markers in the Fill and Stroke dialog, Stroke style tab, now contains the new marker that you can apply to paths.
  • When creating the new marker, Inkscape assumes that the original objects are oriented as they should be on a horizontal path that goes from left to right. For example, if you create a new arrowhead that you plan to use as an end marker, make it point horizontally to the right before converting it to marker.
  • Similar to standard markers, the user-created marker will scale up and down as you change the stroke width. Its initial size (i.e. the size of the object that you have turned into a marker) corresponds to the 1 px stroke.
  • When you create a new marker, Inkscape uses the rotation center of the (first) selected object as the anchor point, i.e. the point which will coincide with the node to which that marker is attached. By default, the rotation center is in the center of the object's bounding box, which means the newly created marker will be centered around its node. If you move the rotation center, for example, to one of the corners of the object, the new marker will touch its node by that corner.
  • Several new UML markers were added to the standard set, including filled and hollow diamonds and triangles.
  • Master opacity did not apply to path markers as it should; this is fixed.
  • Stock markers, if used in the document, now appear in the "this document's markers" section at the top of the marker lists in the Fill & Stroke dialog. Before, any markers with stock IDs (including markers modified by the user) were hidden, making it difficult to work with modified stock markers.

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 [3]. 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 adjustment

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

Per-window adjustment

Display adjustment is enabled and disabled per each editing window. This allows for simultaneous viewing of adjusted and unadjusted views of a single document by using multiple windows. There is a toggle at the bottom-right corner of the scrollbars that allows for turning on and off display adjustment. It also will be disabled to provide visible feedback when no profile is set to be available for adjustment.

XICC Support

On X11-based systems (i.e. Unix and Mac OSX), use of [ICC Profiles In X Specification] (or XICC) can be enabled. Support for version 0.2 of this specification has been implemented. Enabling this option by choosing to retrieve profiles from the display will switch Inkscape to using profiles attached to screens at runtime. These allow display adjustment to be changed on the fly, and to be set and cleared per-monitor. This is especially helpful with more than a single monitor.

Other Open Source software such as GIMP support XICC. This allows all aware applications to be adjusted by setting a profile only once.

Multi-monitor aware

When XICC support is enabled, windows will adjust to the proper profile as they are moved across monitors. Also, as the windows are moved onto monitors with no profile attached, the adjustment toggle will become disabled. When the windows are moved onto screens that do have profiles, the toggle will become enabled.

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.

OS support

Сolor management is supported in Linux and Mac OS X only at this time.

Grids, guides, snapping


Grids have undergone some big changes under-the-hood. These are the visible changes:

  • There is a new 3D/axonometric grid. It consists of three sets of parallel lines, one vertical and others at angles of +30 and -30 degrees from the horizontal. The angles of these two latter sets and the spacing of the grid are user-settable.
  • A new tab in the Document Properties dialog, Grids, is devoted solely to grids; the former grid/guide tab is renamed Guides and is now used only for guides. On the Grids page, you can create and manage grids of various types in your document; so far the two types available are Rectangular (default) and Axonometric, but more types may be added in the future.
  • More than one grid can be active at the same time:
  • Each grid can be enabled/disabled separately from the Document Properties dialog.
  • For each grid, you can hide it by unchecking the "Visible" checkbox in the grid's tab, or disable snapping to it by unchecking "Enabled". Note that you can have "Enabled" on and "Visible" off (but not vice versa), in which case you snap to the invisible grid.
  • Multiple views on the same document (i.e. different Inkscape windows with the same document loaded) share the same grids, but the grid can be turned on and off for each view separately. For example, you could have a zoomed-out "overview" view without grids showing. 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.
  • The rectangular grid now has an option to show dots on gridline intersections instead of solid lines.

From developer perspective:

  • Implementation of new grids is much easier now by subclassing CanvasGrid. 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!
  • Grid information is now stored in SVG as a child of sodipodi:namedview. Old files will be converted to this new format automatically.
  • An old bug is fixed: apparently the origin of the document coordinate system used to be set to the origin of the grid. For example, in 0.45.1 and before, specifying a grid origin of (20,20) moved the origin or coordinates to that point, and the grid was still starting at (0,0) in this moved coordinate system. This is now disabled, and the coordinate origin is not affected by grid origin.

Angled guidelines

Now, Inkscape also provides angled guidelines! Double click on a guide to set its angle.

  • When dragging a guideline off the rulers close to the end of the ruler, the guideline will automatically be angled. The angle is set depending on the grid.
    • For the rectangular grid, the angle is 45 degrees.
    • For the axonometric grid, the angle is matched to the grid. When Ctrl is pressed, the angle is perpendicular to the grid lines (useful for aligning gradients).

Creating guidelines from objects

  • Selected objects can now be converted to guidelines. To do this, either use the menu command "Object->Object to guides" or press Shift+G in Selector tool (this shortcut also works in some other tools, see below). The conversion process recurses into groups, i.e. all objects in the current selection are converted regardless if they are grouped or not.
  • Created guides can be quickly deleted by Ctrl+clicking on them (this is of course not restricted to guides created by the process described above). Note that this only works in Selector and Node tools, i.e., in contexts where guidelines can be manipulated with the mouse.
  • Paths are converted by creating one guide for each straight line segment occurring in the path (whereas curved segments are not taken into account). To make this conveniently accessible, the shortcut Shift+G works in Pen and Pencil tools, too.
  • For all other objects, conversion usually happens by placing the guidelines around the object's bounding box (use the corresponding checkbox in the "Tools" page of Inkscape Preferences to switch between geometric and visual bounding box).
  • For rectangles and 3D boxes there is a special option in their preferences pages (checked by default) which instead allows the guidelines to be placed along the object's edges so that they imitate its true shape. This is especially useful when converting rotated or skewed rectangles (to create guidelines in a special position) or for creating 3D scenes containing other objects than just boxes. The shortcut Shift+G works in these tools as well.


  • Snapping has been implemented or improved for:
  • Newly created shapes
  • Skewing of objects
  • Handles of objects, incl. gradients
  • Images, ellipses, and clones
  • Text boxes, which snap to text baselines again
  • Objects, for which snapping now optionally considers the rotation center
  • Objects, which now allow for constrained snapping
  • Guides, which now snap while dragging them
  • Axonometric grids
  • Angled guide lines
  • Bounding boxes, of which now all four corners snap
  • Other snapping fixes and improvements include:
  • It is now possible to snap to intersections of e.g. gridlines with guidelines, and of line segments.
  • The snapping preferences dialog has been restyled to make it more intuitive.
  • Inkscape now has a global snapping toggle, which has been added to the view-menu and is accessible through a shortcut
  • Inkscape now allows for controlling the snapping per grid when multiple grids are being used
  • Snapping distance is now set in screen pixels and is therefore independent of zoom.
  • 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 significantly.
  • 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.
  • Only nodes at non-smooth parts of a path now snap.
  • The confusing "Default transformations origin" option has been 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).


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

  • A new cairo-based PDF exporter has been added to Inkscape (marked as "Cairo PDF" in the export format list). Inkscape 0.46 can export shapes, strokes, transparency, gradients, patterns, text, and images correctly to cairo. Clipping paths and masks are known to be faulty or missing. Also, unlike the old PDF exporter, the cairo-based PDF export produces compressed PDF files that are reasonably compact. 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, but it is highly recommended to use at least cairo 1.5.2 for quality PDF export.
  • A new cairo-based PostScript exporter has been added (marked as "Cairo PS" in the export format list). 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 and requires that you have Python and UniConvertor installed. As of UniConvertor 1.1.1, versions from 7 to X4 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.

WMF import