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Inkscape User Manual

Un-official manual by Kevin Wixson

Table Of Contents

Part XI
Chapter 1: Selector Tool



The Selector is used to select objects on the canvas and can be used to move and position objects with the mouse. Click once on an object with the Selector to select it, and the object will be framed with a bounding box marked with a black, dashed line and scale handles. Click again on the same object and the scale handles will change to rotation and skew handles. If the object is part of a group, the group will be selected, and dragging the object handles will transform the group. Shift+click objects to add objects to selection. Double click an object with the Selector and the tool will change to the context appropriate tool to edit the object.

Object Handles

[screenshot of object with scale handles] [screenshot of object with rotation and skew handles]

Clicking and dragging the object handles will transform the object. The scale handles transform the size of an object by height, width or both height and width with the handles on the top and bottom, right and left, and corners, respectively. The rotation handles are at the corners of the bounding box, and the skew handles are at the top, bottom, right and left. When using any of the object handles to transform the object or group, the Alt key reduces the rate of change. Ctrl+click+drag of the scale object handles constrains proportions of the object. Shift+click+drag of the scale object handles transforms the object's scale relative to the object's center point. Shift and Ctrl can be used together to transform an object with constrained proportions from the center. Dragging an object handle past its diametric location (or past the center point with the Shift key) will flip, invert or mirror the object accordingly. Ctrl+click+drag of the rotation object handles constrains rotations to 15 degree increments. Shift modifies the control to rotate from the opposite corner of the bounding box instead of the center. Shift and Ctrl can be used together to rotate the object in constrained increments from the opposite corner of the bounding box. The center, or point of origin, for the rotate and skew object controls can be arbitrarily set by positioning the cross that appears in the center of the bounding box. The rotation and skew origin can be moved to any point on the canvas, including outside the bounding box of the object or group. The Shift key modifies the skew controls' point of origin, positioning it at the bottom right corner of the bounding box for the top and left skew handles, and at the top left for the bottom and right skew handles. The Shift and Ctrl keys can be used together to control the skew handle behavior.

Selected Objects

Selected objects and groups can be moved with the arrow keys. Shift modifies the arrow keys to move an object or group in larger increments. Alt modifies the arrow keys to move in screen-pixel increments. Selected objects and groups can be rotated with the [ and ] keys. The [ and ] keys can be modified by the Ctrl and Alt keys to produce 90 degree and 1 screen pixel rotations, respectively. Selected objects and groups can be scaled with the comma ( , ) and period ( . ) keys. The period and comma keys can be modified by the Ctrl and Alt keys for reciprocal and single screen pixel scaling, respectively. Select objects with the Selector tool to make them the designated [ ... ]

Selector Tool Control bar

The tool control bar for the Selector has the following commands and options:

Selector Tool Preferences

The tool behavior can be modified in the Inkscape Preferences window: When Transforming Show, Per Object Selection Cue, Default Scale Origin, Enable Gradient Editing. Per Object Selection Cue determines the appearance, if any, of the Selection Cue (also known as a bounding box). See the help page for the Tools>Selector tab of the File > Inkscape Preferences window for more information.




Additional Information

Related Topics


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This manual is my scratch pad and development site for the Inkscape documentation project. Documentation that appears here may eventually work its way into the official Inkscape documentation, and changes to the Inkscape documentation may work it's way into this draft. It is a work in progress, so please don't mind the mess. Anything that appears here is GPL'ed under the usual licenses for GPL documentation, yada, yada, yada, or has been dedicated to the public domain. For a list of those elements that have been placed in the public domain, please click here.

Links To Official Inkscape Resources