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Tips and Tricks For Working With Inkscape's Nodes

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There are so many things to learn when it comes to nodes, but this quick tip should get you on the right track to properly using and manipulating your nodes, and ultimately, your artwork in Inkscape. Let's check out some neat tips and tricks with nodes!


1. A Few Basics

Before we get into the good stuff, let's just cover the simplicity of nodes.

  • Nodes are the points by which a vector is made.
  • You need at least two nodes to create a vector/path which can then be styled as a line/stroke.
  • At three or more nodes, you can apply a fill and stroke.
  • Connect three or more nodes and you have a polygon.

Essentially, nodes are the foundation upon which every Inkscape design is made.

what are nodes

2. Sequential Selection

A really neat (and fairly obscure) trick is sequential selection. This allows you to select one node right after the other without even moving your cursor.

With the Nodes tool selected, select an object and hover over a node. Now, simply hold Control while pressing the Page Up or Page Down keys. Alternatively, you can use your scroll wheel instead of the Page keys.

sequential selection

3. Nodes Transform

Here's another great option that took me too long to find. Make your nodes selection and then head to the nodes toolbar and click "Show transformation handles". You'll get that familiar box with stretching options which interacts with your selected nodes. Also, clicking on one of the selected nodes a second time will bring up the rotate/skew transforms.

nodes transform

4. Snapping Nodes

Step 1

Whether you have a grid or a ruler, you'll want to be snapping your stuff, especially those nodes! Go to your snapping toolbar and select the four options shown below. These enable snapping, enable nodes to snap, snap to grid and rulers.

I wanted to align the bottom of my shape to the ruler, so now I can just select my node and watch it snap for me as shown below.

Note: If you're snapping more than one node at a time, it'll snap the nodes relative to the node you are carrying, not the selection of nodes as a whole.

snap nodes to ruler

Step 2

Snapping to grids is the same concept just as long as you keep those snapping options set. Below, I have aligned all of my nodes of my shape to a grid.

snap nodes to grid

5. Cutting Paths

Step 1

Say you have a completed path that you'd like to cut into. Maybe you've tried just deleting the nodes, but it just keeps reconnecting, doesn't it? We're going to need to remove some segments.

Below, I'm pointing to a segment that I'd like to remove entirely.

remove line segment

Step 2

To do this, get your Nodes tool and actually click on the line segment between the two nodes. Then, go to the nodes toolbar and click "Delete segment". This will successfully remove the segment without rejoining your path.

remove segment

Step 3

I'm going to continue this design by removing some more segments. There are a bunch of options with this type of design, but something like this should do the trick.

remove more segments

Step 4

And with a little added eye candy, we could eventually end up with a neat design like this.

removed segment design

Now You Know Your Nodes!

In this tutorial, we tackled Inkscape at the atomic level of nodes. Whether it was the complete basics of nodes or removing line segments, I hope you've learned a trick or two! Thanks for reading.

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