The *Symmetry* tab is at the heart
of the tiling process. Understanding the different symmetries
is necessary to have full control over the outcome of a tiling.
The symmetry of the tiling is selected from the pull-down menu
under the *Symmetry* tab (see previous figure).

There are three regular geometric shapes that can be replicated to
cover a surface completely (without gaps or overlaps). These shapes
are: triangles, rectangles (parallelograms), and hexagons. A complete set of tiling
symmetries requires taking these shapes and adding rotations and
reflections. It is known that there are 17 such tiling
symmetries. (See: Wikipedia
entry.) All 17 symmetries are included in the Inkscape
*Create Tiled Clones* dialog. The symmetries are shown
next.

The
basic tile for each of the 17 symmetries is shown in dark blue
in the preceding figures. Inkscape uses the *bounding box* of an object
to determine the basic tile size. For rectangular base tiles, the
*bounding box* corresponds to the base tile. However, for triangular
base tiles, the base tile covers only part of the
*bounding box* area. This can result in tiles
“overlapping” if an object extends outside the base tile shape
(but is still within the *bounding box*) as in the tiling in the
introduction to this chapter. Overlapping can also occur if the
base tile is altered after the tiles are positioned.

Inkscape always uses
the *Geometric* *bounding box* to determine the tile
size. This avoids problems when creating a triangular tile with a
*Stroke* where the *Visual* *bounding box* doesn't have the
same width to height ratio as the *Geometric*
*bounding box*.

If you need to adjust the base tile size after having created a
tiling, you can use the *XML Editor* dialog to change the parameters
“inkscape:tile-h” and “inkscape:tile-w”
(these will appear after you have cloned the object and are used
only if the *Use saved size and position of the
tile* button is checked).

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