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Inkscape: SpiralTool


The Spiral Tool is one of the special class of tools that create Live Shapes.  With the Spiral tool, shapes of spiral arcs can be drawn.


How to use

Call the Spiral Tool with its icon on the Toolbox or by pressing F9 or I.


The spiral drawn with the tool has two handles, one on either end of the shape's path. Clicking and dragging the inner-most handle with the spiral tool will change the interior radius of the arc, and the handle on the outter-most end of the path edits the number of turns of the spiral.

There are four options in the Tool Controls bar which can be used to further manipulate the spiral:


  • Turns adjusts the number of rotations the spiral takes around its center.  Increasing the turns will decrease the width between successive spiral paths, since this option does not increase the dimensions of the spiral.

  • Divergence tightens the spiral either toward its center (as if it were being wound tighter) or toward the exterior.  When the divergence is increased above 1, it makes the outer part of the spiral looser, or widens the gap between its outermost paths.  The reverse is true for values below 1.
  • Inner Radius does the same as dragging the inner handle.  The inner radius parameter is a relation or fraction representing the distance from the exact center of the spiral to the beginning of the inner spiral path relative to the whole spiral radius.  When the inner handle has been moved from its position at the center of the spiral, the radius becomes more than 0.  When this is true, growing the spiral path by dragging the outer handle will decrease the inner radius, showing its relative nature.
  • The Broom icon will clear all parameters to the defaults set at the spiral's creation.

Key Commands

  • Ctrl drag constrains the rotation angle to 15 degree increments

Outer handle:

    • Shift drag scales the spiral and ;rotates it

    • Alt drag keeps the radius static while increasing or decreasing the turns around the center

Inner handle:

    • Alt drag vertically adjusts divergence

    • Alt click resets divergence

    • Shift click moves the inner handle to the center

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