Inkscape has a number of commands to form new paths from two or more preexisting paths. The z-order (see the section called “Ordering Objects (Z-order)”) of the paths is important. In all cases except for the Cut Path command, the Fill and Stroke of the new path is inherited from the bottom path. For some operations, the top path can be thought of as operating on the bottom path; that is, part of the bottom path remains and the top path is thrown away. This is explained in more detail for each operation that it applies to below. All commands are accessible under the Path menu.
Any open paths are, for the purpose of these commands, closed by a line between the path's end points. Shape objects and text objects are automatically converted to paths.
Union (Ctrl++): Union of one or more paths. One new path is created, containing all the areas of the original paths. A union of one path removes self-intersections, creating individual sub-paths for each section. Note that this is different from the Path Combine command where no nodes are lost or created.
Updated for v0.47.
Exclusion (Ctrl+^): Exclusion of two or more paths. One new path consisting of multiple sub-paths is created according to an Even-Odd Fill rule. Inkscape v0.46 and earlier allowed only two paths to be used.
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