The 26 Most Important Keyboard Shortcuts to Memorize in Inkscape
There’s more to being a talented graphic designer than knowing the software inside out, having a keen eye for design, and knowing how to effectively communicate information using visuals. You also have to know how to make the best use of your time, especially if you’re a freelancer.
Logo Design Guide
Curious about the creative process that inspires me to come up with design ideas and how I go about executing them? Be sure to check out my logo design guide for a look behind the scenes at my systematic approach to coming up with design ideas.
As a freelancer, the product you’re selling is your time, and because of that, we as designers need to establish a workflow that makes the most efficient use of our time. One area where you can vastly improve your workflow is by memorizing and using the keyboard shortcuts in a given piece of software.
Inkscape Keyboard Shortcuts
In my Inkscape video tutorials you’ll often see me using the menus and toolbars to access different tools and execute functions. I do this for your benefit though — to help you, as a beginner, become more familiar with the layout of the UI, and most importantly, to not overwhelm you with too much information too soon. However, as you become more comfortable with Inkscape, you should really get into the habit of learning what the keyboard shortcuts are for each of the tools and functions you use most frequently. Over time you will naturally memorize and use them without even thinking about it — sort of like how a musician plays an instrument — and it’ll drastically cut down on the amount of time it takes you to design something.
Most Commonly Used Tools and Functions in Inkscape
Within Inkscape there’s countless different functions, tools and extensions, and to memorize all of them would not just be a monumental challenge, but also unnecessary. In the nearly 7 years that I’ve been using Inkscape on a full-time basis, I’ve found that there’s 26 different tools and functions within Inkscape that I use far more frequently than anything else in the software, and these are the keyboard shortcuts you should prioritize learning…
- Pan the page: spacebar + move the mouse
- Zoom in: +
- Zoom out: –
- Zoom 100%: 1
Frequently Used Tools
- Select: S
- Rectangle: R
- Ellipse: E
- Bezier pen: B
- Edit paths by nodes: N
- Color picker: D
- Text: T
- Gradients: G
- Flip object vertically: V
- Flip object horizontally: H
- Group selected objects: Ctrl + G
- Ungroup selected objects: Shift + Ctrl + G
- Lower Selection One Step: Page Down
- Lower Selection to the Bottom: End
- Raise Selection One Step: Page Up
- Raise Selection to the Top: Home
- Convert object to path: Ctrl + Shift + C
- Convert stroke to path: Ctrl + Alt + C
- Union: Ctrl + Shift + +
- Break Apart: Ctrl + Shift + K
- Difference: Ctrl + Shift + –
- Intersection: Ctrl + Shift + 8
- Cut Path: Ctrl + Alt + /
Of course, you’re not going to memorize these all at once, so instead of having to come back to this page over and over again I’ve put together a PDF that you can download and refer to as-needed. Click the image below to grab a copy.
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Thanks for the cheat-sheet. Interesting that many of tools can be accessed with different shortcuts. I toggle between select and node select by using F1 and F2 and to me 3, 4 and 5 which zoom to selection, zoom to drawing and zoom to page are some I use in my work all the time. The dropper can also be activated with F7 – all in all I use the F-buttons much more than the letters because it is easier for me. I love open source software because it gives you so many options for getting things done. Thanks for all the YouTube tutorials you have done – I have learnt so much about Inkscape from them. You are very generous with your knowledge.
Thank you. I used the F-keys for a while myself, but I’ve found that on certain computers (particularly laptops) the F-keys are sometimes bound to other functions that override Inkscape, like system volume, wifi, bluetooth, etc. So I got into the habit of using the alternate keys. Whatever works though!
I use a template for Inkscape with all my usually required settings and now have this pdf sitting in there fully displayed, File-Import, no hocus-pocus, it worked automatically. That’s a nice surprise.
Hope other users have the same success.
Once again, thank you!
Thanks Nick. I wasn’t aware of some of these but now I’ll start to incorporate them into my work flow.
Two annoyances I have are with ‘B’ and ‘T’ shortcuts. It seems like ‘B’ shortcut doesn’t work if you’re in the Layer Dialogue box. You have to get out of the box first, then you can ‘B’ your way to the Bezier tool. Also, I wish there was a shortcut to, after you’re done typing some text, get back to the selector tool right away. If you press ‘S’, inkscape types an ‘S’.