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Chapter 5. Positioning and Transforming

Table of Contents

Inkscape has a variety of ways to position objects as precisely as required. These include onscreen Grids and Guide Lines where objects snap into alignment, dialogs for moving individual objects or for aligning multiple objects, and the Create Tiled Clones dialog for placing multiple clones of an object. Additional features allow you to scale, skew, or rotate an object. This section will begin with a discussion of the coordinate system of Inkscape followed by a discussion of the way Inkscape describes object transformations. Then the commands and dialogs for transforming objects are discussed.

One key thing to know is that transforming a Regular Shape object or a Group of objects by the methods described in this chapter does not (usually) change the underlying description of the object(s). For example, suppose you have an ellipse that is 100 pixels wide but you need it to have a width of 50 pixels. There are two different ways to achieve the required width. The first is to scale the object by 50% in the horizontal (x) direction. The underlying definition of the ellipse width remains 100 pixels but when the ellipse is drawn a scale factor of 50% is applied in the horizontal direction. The second way to change the ellipse is to use the Ellipse Tool to resize the ellipse. In this case, the underlying description of the ellipse changes and no scale factor is applied.

An exception to this rule is for Rectangle objects. Inkscape will attempt to change the description of the rectangle itself when a simple transformation is applied. This behavior can be changed under the Transforms tab in the Inkscape Preferences dialog (File icon Inkscape Preferences... (Shift+Ctrl+P)). Change the Store transformation parameter to Preserved.

Note that in Paths, the individual points are transformed (unless the Store transformation parameter has been changed as above).