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Shape tools

Geometric shapes, despite their basic look, are useful for many drawing techniques (and not only vector drawing). With path operations (substract, merge…), you can quickly get awesome results from some elementary shapes. Then you can still improve your drawing by touching path nodes — this is detailed in a later section.

Before you can use the Select tool, there must be something on the canvas! So let's draw some geometric shapes. All the shape tools (Rectangle, Ellipse, Star/polygon and Spiral) follow similar rules to let you create and edit your shapes, but each tool has specific options (an ellipse can become a pie, a rectangle can have its corners rounded…).

To create a geometric shape:

  • select the relevant tool from the toolbar;
  • click and drag on the canvas with the left mouse button;
  • the shape is ready when you release the mouse button.

White handles, either discs, rectangles or diamond, should surround the shape. These are available only if you created your shapes with these tools and offer some fancy possibilities. These handles appear only with the Rectangle, Ellipse, Star and Spiral tools.

Many features of Inkscape are accessible through keyboard shortcuts. While drawing your shape:

  • press Ctrl to force an integer ratio (1:1, 2:1, etc. so you can draw squares and circles);
  • press Shift to use the origin as a center rather than a corner.

Sketching a cloud from ellipses.

Click and drag to create a shape.

Primitive shapes provide handles as squares, discs or diamonds.

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