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Start with Inkscape

The Node Tool

This tool offers a number of options we haven't seen yet. In this chapter we will go through them, by looking at the different icons in its tool controls bar:

Icon for Node Tool [F2] or [n]


Icon for inserting nodes Insert new node. A double-click on a path segment lets you add new nodes easily directly on the canvas. If you need to add more nodes, or want to insert a node right in the middle between two other nodes, you can click on the path segment or select multiple nodes, then use the button. More nodes allow you to more precisely modify a path.

Icon for deleting nodes Delete selected nodes. Select the node(s) and then either use the [Del] key, or use the button. It helps to try to have as few nodes as possible, because this allows you to make changes to the objects in your drawing more quickly.

Icon for merging nodes To join (merge) nodes, you need to select at least two nodes. Inkscape will try to preserve the path's shape.

Icon for splitting nodes Break path. This will split one node into two nodes. These two new nodes are not connected by a path segment. The new nodes only have a single handle, as they are end nodes, and they are placed directly on top of each other. This can sometimes be difficult to handle. Only use this feature when you really need it!

Icon for joining nodes with a segment Join end nodes with a new segment. This is ideal for manually joining separate path pieces.

Icon for deleting a segment between two nodes Delete segment between two non-end nodes. Breaks a path in two.


The next couple of icons can be used to convert one thing into a different one:

Then, there are number fields for changing the x and y coordinate of the selected node, and a drop-down menu that allows you to change the unit for the coordinates.



These buttons determine if certain path properties will be editable and visible on the canvas.

 A node has been added by double-clicking.

An object where a node has been added by double-clicking on the path.

The node that looks smaller is actually two nodes stacked.

A stroke was added, and another node. This node was broken into two. This one looks a lot smaller. Make sure you really want this before clicking the button!

A segment has been deleted.


The segment between two nodes has been deleted.

These nodes can now be edited.

Example of editing a path by ...

A node was moved.

... moving a node, then ...

Node type and segment shape have been changed.

... changing a node's type and modifying the handles.

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