Getting started with Inkscape: Selection tool

Getting started with Inkscape: Selection tool

Inkscape is more than a vector tool, it provides a WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) interface for manipulation of vector image, which makes the understanding of various tools and feature lot more easier. In the following blog series, we will be seeing the tools and their attributes.I am using Fedora 24 workstation, you can use inkscape on any OS.


Each following blog will explain one of the tool


SELECTION Tool(F1 or s)screenshot-from-2016-10-01-09-34-56

It is used to select, position and transform objects and images on the document or working area.

Just draw anything on canvas, select selection tool and click on the figure.

There are 3 pairs of Handles:-

  • Scaling Handles
  • Rotation Handles
  • Skewing Handles

You will see sets of handles, like shown below:-


Now, again click on the selected figure using the tool(or Shift+s), you will see another set of handles, like shown below:-



There are various ways to select objects using this tool and some other tricks :p

Select using mouse

  • Single click:  selects 1 object at a time
  • Shift+click: adds an object to the current selection if it was not selected, or deselects it otherwise
  • Double click:If the selection is:
    • Paths-switches to Node tool(explained in next blog)
    • Shapes-corresponding shape tool
    • Text-Text tool
    • Empty space- switches to the parent layer in the hierarchy, if any.

Rubberband Selection

  • Mouse drag: Dragging around objects does “rubberband” selection; previous selection is deselected.









  • Shift+mouse drag: Although to make a rubberband selecting, we have to start from an empty space, but, we can also start on top of an element by pressing shift


Touch selection

To select the objects along a path.This will allow you to select objects by drawing a freehand path (indicated by a red line); anything which the path touches will become part of the selection.  This method is highly useful when objects are closely placed and it becomes difficult to select them using other methods.


  • Shift+Alt+mouse drag: To start touch selection with Alt, you must have nothing selected; otherwise use Shift+Alt.

Select using keyboard

  • Tab/Shift+tab: These keys pick objects in their z-order (Tab cycles from bottom to top, Shift+Tab cycles from top to bottom). Unless you did manual rearrangements, the last object you created is always on top.
  • Ctrl+A: Selects all the objects in current layer
  • Ctrl+Alt+A: This works on objects in all visible and unlocked layers.
  • Inversion Selection (! or Shift+1):This inverts selection (deselects what was selected and vice versa) in the current layer.
  • Alt+Shift+1(Alt+!):This inverts selection (deselects what was selected and vice versa) in visible and unlocked layers.
  • Esc: Deselect selection
  • Delete: Delete the selection

Move objects

  • Mouse drag: Dragging an object selects it if it was not selected, then moves selection.
  • Ctrl+mouse drag: restrict movement to horizontal or vertical(only in 90 degrees)
  • Mouse click+spacebar+drag: creates a copy of image on the path of drag
  • Click+hold down spacebar: move around your canvas

Scale objects

  • Mouse drag: To scale the object
  • Ctrl+mouse drag:  scale preserving aspect ratio
  • Shift+mouse drag: symmetric transformation
  • Alt+ mouse drag: scale by integer
  • Shift+Ctrl+mouse drag: scale with respect to center of object
  • . or >: scale selection up by the scale step
  • , or <: scale selection down by the scale step
  • Ctrl+(. or >): scale up the selection by 200%
  • Ctrl+(, or <): scale down the selection by 50%
  • Alt+(. or >): scale selection up by 1 pixel
  • Alt+(, or <): scale selection down by 1 pixel



Rotate Objects

  • Mouse drag: rotate
  • Ctrl+mouse drag: snaps the rotation angle to angle steps (default 15 degrees)


  • h: Flip horizontally (about vertical axis)
  • v: Flip vertically (about horizontal axis)



There are many more shortcuts, but given shortcuts will be more than enough.

Next comes the mouse shortcuts:-