How To Change The Default Background Color in Inkscape

How To Change The Default Background Color in Inkscape 800 470 Nick Saporito

In this tutorial I’ll be demonstrating how to change the default background color in Inkscape so that you can have a dark background (like Illustrator) or any other color you’d like! I’ll also be demonstrating how to save your chosen background color as a default so that you can work with it every time you launch Inkscape.

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This is something that I’ve been asked about a lot, especially by those of you who are switching over to Inkscape from Illustrator and find the glaring white canvas of Inkscape to be somewhat of a nuisance when you’re working. Today we are going to fix that!

Change The Default Background Color in Inkscape

To change the default background color in Inkscape, open up the Document Properties menu by pressing Control + Shift + D, then click on “Background color” and set it to any color you’d like using the menu interface.

Knowing how to change the default background color in Inkscape is a matter of changing the Document Properties. Then, once changed, we’ll be saving it as a template.

  1. Determine your version of Inkscape
  2. Change the document properties
  3. Create a white artboard
  4. Save your document as a template

Step 1: Determine Your Version Of Inkscape

The first thing you must do is make sure you’re working with the proper version of Inkscape. This tutorial is meant for version 1.0 and above.

If you don’t know which version you’re using, navigate to Help > About Inkscape.

Inkscape version

Your version of Inkscape can be located in the About Inkscape window

If you’re using version 1.0 then continue on. If you’re using an older version (like 0.92 and below, for example) then please refer to an older tutorial I made about changing Inkscape’s default startup file.

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Step 2: Change The Document Properties

Next, we’ll be opening the Document Properties menu by pressing Control + Shift + D on the keyboard.

Document Properties menu

In the Document Properties window, look for the option to change the background color, click to open it, then manually set it to whatever color you’d like using the menu interface. For this demonstration I’ll be using a dark gray background.

You’ll be able to see the background of your canvas change in real time.

New background color

Step 3: Create A White Artboard

Next, we’ll have to create a white artboard so that we’ll have a white background to contrast our designs against as we’re working. We can also reset the document’s boundaries based on this artboard.

To do so, simply grab the Squares & Rectangle Tool (keyboard shortcut: R) and create a white rectangle sized at 1,280 x 1,280 pixels. Then, head back to the Document Properties menu and reset the page boundaries by click the button that says “Resize page to content.”

New artboard

Now we have to lock that artboard in place so that we can’t mess with it when we’re working. To do so, open the Layers menu by pressing Control + Shift + L, rename the current layer to “Canvas”, lock it, then create a new layer on top and name it “Contents”.

Layers menu

The contents layer will be where we do our work. The canvas layer will be locked and out of way when we’re working.

Step 4: Save Your Document As A Template

The final step would be to save this document as a template so that we don’t have to manually create it every time we open Inkscape.

A really useful feature that has been added to Inkscape version 1.0 is the ability to save whatever you’re working on as a startup file. To do so, go to File > Save Template, then name your file whatever you’d like.

Save template

Make sure to check the box that says “Set as default template” if you’d like to change the default background color in Inkscape every time it loads. If you’d just like to use it occasionally, then leave this part unchecked and save it as a regular template. You can then open it any time you’d like by navigating to File > New from Template.

Free Download

I’ve included a download link below in case you’d like to simply use my example template instead of setting this up yourself. Simply open the SVG file, then follow step 4 of this tutorial to save it as a template.

Download link: dark-workspace-template.zip

And that is how you can change the default background color in Inkscape! If you have any questions simply leave a comment below. As always, thanks for watching!

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Nick Saporito

Designer, content creator, and the founder of LogosByNick.com — an educational media platform for learning about graphic design.

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4 comments
  • Me

    hi brother,

    I’d like to add two different colours to a text or an object, on both half of the text or object,( two seperate colours, not gradient).
    Is there any single click option or editing option available in inkscape?
    Except splitting the object or text into two, and providing them different colours.

  • Akinlolu Akinsanya

    Awesome tutorial.
    What I usually do is just create the background like you did and click on Object properties and then lock the object. That way you cannot accidentally click on it or move. Once you are done designing, you can unlock and then delete.

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