Inkscape, a powerful open-source vector graphics editor, has gained immense popularity among designers, illustrators, and artists worldwide. It offers a wide range of features for creating stunning vector graphics, and one of the most useful and versatile tools within Inkscape is the Clipping Path. In this article, we will delve into the world of Inkscape clipping paths, exploring their utility and teaching you how to use them effectively.

Understanding Inkscape Clipping Paths

Clipping paths are a fundamental feature in vector graphics editing that allows you to hide or reveal portions of an object based on a specified shape or path. Inkscape’s clipping paths enable you to create complex visuals by masking or revealing parts of your artwork.

Benefits of Using Inkscape Clipping Paths

  • Non-Destructive Editing: Clipping paths let you hide unwanted portions without permanently altering your original artwork.
  • Creative Freedom: They offer limitless possibilities for creating unique and intricate designs.
  • Efficiency: Clipping paths can help you organize complex compositions easily.

Creating a Clipping Path in Inkscape

Inkscape makes it simple to create and apply clipping paths to your designs. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Open Inkscape: Launch the Inkscape software on your computer.
  2. Import or Create an Object: Import or create the object you want to clip, ensuring it’s on a separate layer from the clipping path.
  3. Draw Your Clipping Path: Use the Bezier tool, Pen tool, or any other path tool to create the shape you want to use as the clipping path.
  4. Select Both Object and Clipping Path: Click on the object you want to clip, followed by the clipping path while holding down the Shift key to select both.
  5. Apply Clipping Path: Go to Object > Clip > Set, or use the shortcut Ctrl+7.

You’ve successfully applied a clipping path to your object.

Editing and Managing Clipping Paths

Inkscape offers various options to refine and manage your clipping paths:

  • Edit the Clipping Path: Double-click the clipping path to enter edit mode and modify the path’s shape or nodes.
  • Release Clipping Path: To remove the clipping path from an object, select it and go to Object > Clip > Release, or use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+7.
  • Multiple Clipping Paths: You can apply multiple clipping paths to a single object, allowing for intricate designs.
  • Grouping: To keep multiple objects together while applying a clipping path, group them using Ctrl+G.


Q1: Can I use bitmap images as clipping paths in Inkscape?

Yes, Inkscape allows you to use both vector paths and bitmap images as clipping paths.

Q2: How can I change the order of clipping paths in a design?

To change the order of clipping paths, use the Object > Clip menu. The topmost path will clip the object, while the lower paths act as masks.

Q3: Can I edit the clipped object after applying a clipping path?

Absolutely. The clipped object remains fully editable, and you can adjust its attributes, position, and size as needed.

Q4: Is there a limit to the complexity of clipping paths I can create?

No, there is no fixed limit. You can create highly intricate clipping paths, limited only by your creativity and the capabilities of your computer.

Q5: Are Inkscape clipping paths suitable for web graphics and print design?

Yes, Inkscape clipping paths are versatile and can be used for both web graphics and print design. You can export your designs in various formats, including SVG, PNG, and PDF.


Inkscape’s clipping paths are a fantastic tool for graphic designers and illustrators, offering incredible creative photo editing possibilities. This article has provided an in-depth guide on how to use Inkscape clipping paths effectively, from their creation to management. As you explore this feature, remember that practice is key to mastering the art of clipping paths, so don’t hesitate to experiment and let your creativity shine. Happy designing!

This page was last edited on 30 November 2023, at 9:00 am