As stated previously, I love Inkscape. I’ve used it professionally for 8 years or so now, and know my ways around it quite well. So I thought I’d share everything useful I can think of. I’ll try to keep it succinct, or at least single-paged. Onward.
-are one of Inkscape’s best features.
- For tools in the Toolbox you can usually hit the initial letter of the tool you need, like B for bezier, R for rectangle, E for ellipse, T for text. But the keys you’ll use most often are F1 for object select, F2 for object detail select, and CTRL (plus scroll up/down) to zoom in and out.
- CTRL+SHIFT+another key bring up side menus; +F for fill menu, +T for text, +M for modify & transform, +E for export bitmap, +O for object properties, +D for document properties, +L for layers, +A for align & distribute.
- PageUp/PageDown raise and lower the depth of an object. Home brings it to the front, End to the back.
- SHIFT+click selects multiple objects. Click a selected object again to deselect.
- SHIFT+click on a colour to set stroke colour.
- ! negates the selection (select everything that isn’t, and vice versa).
- Number keys 1-6 handle zoom types; 1 for actual size, 2 for double size, 3 to centre on selected objects, 4 to centre the whole drawing, 5 to centre the page and 6 to match the page width.
- CTRL and + or – will unite or divide two overlaying selected objects. When dividing the topmost object’s shape is cut from the object underneath.
- CTRL+G and CTRL+SHIFT+G groups and ungroups selected objects. Grouping puts all grouped objects on to the same depth.
- # brings up the grid. There are two types, but new documents always begin on square. Change grid type from Document properties (CTRL+SHIFT+D), in the Grids tab. Snapping must also be on for grid snapping to work (far right-top icon).
- | brings up guides. You won’t see anything unless you have guides on the page (drag from edge rulers into workspace to create a guide)..
- In object mode (F1), drag from an open area to create a selection rectangle. Hold SHIFT to not select any object you happen to start dragging on. ALT+drag draws a line which selects any objects it touches.
- Click an object once to select it. Note scale handles around edges. Click it again. Note how the handles change to rotate and shear mode.
- Double click an object to enter detail mode. In this mode you can change roundedness of corners of rectangles, arc range of ellipses, position and scale of patterns and gradient fills, edit vertices of polygons etc. You can also change an object or selection’s centre of rotation and scaling. Look for the cross.
- SHIFT and CTRL, on their own and at the same time, modify scaling and rotation by mouse.
- The toolstrip directly above the workspace is context sensitive, so it’ll show actions relative to what’s currently selected.
- Drag from either the horizontal or the vertical rulers into the workspace to create a guide.
- Icons down the right are snap settings. Learn when to use the right type and you’ll live a bit longer.
- “Affect” icons at top of screen change what parts of an object get scaled, from stroke thickness to pattern.
- The Find menu is useful. CTRL+F then search by partial match of a fill or stroke style, object type, ID, content text or attribute. Another life extender.
- Use the Align & distribute menu to centre your work on the page.
- If you draw a square, say 10x10px large, then add a stroke with a thickness of 2px, your square will now be 12x12px. If you now grid snap that square to another position with the “Snap to bounding box” option on, it’ll snap to the outside edge of the stroke, not to the edge of the square. Don’t spend 18 hours on a meticulous grid-snapped masterpiece only to then zoom in and realise that I am an idiot who will die alone.
- If you lose focus of an object once it’s gone behind another, use detail mode (F2) and select it’s path.
- To frame work perfectly before exporting a bitmap, draw a rectangle over it with half opacity, then adjust the rectangle to your liking. When done, make the rectangle fully transparent, then bring up the Export bitmap menu with CTRL+SHIFT+E, and save with “Selection” button on and “Hide all except selected” off. You can add a stroke to your rectangle to effect a frame around the bitmap.
- Alternatively you can bring up Document properties with CTRL+SHIFT+D, choose “Resize page to content” then “Resize page to drawing or selection” while your rectangle is selected, before deleting it and using Export bitmap with “Page” button on.
- If you’ve drawn/built something that overlaps the edges of the page, use “Guides Around Page” from the Edit menu.
- You absolutely don’t have to use the page. I tend to scroll all the way to the right when I begin and build on copy after copy. Some logos drafts have a roughly A1 sized work area by the time I’m done, filled with hundreds of revisions.
More to come, as I think of them.