How To Use Layer Locks In Inkscape To Fix Objects To The Canvas

Lock objects in Inkscape

In this tutorial we’ll be going over how to lock objects in Inkscape by using the lock feature within the Layers menu. This will enable you to temporarily fix objects to your canvas so that you don’t accidentally move them around while you’re working.

In short, this is accomplished by clicking a single icon within the Layers menu. However, locks can be applied to single objects or to entire layers. Let’s have a closer look.

Lock Objects In Inkscape

To lock an object in Inkscape, select the object and open the Layers menu (Control + Shift + L). In the menu, look for the line item that represents the object you have selected and click the lock icon next to it to lock it in place.

Watch the video tutorial below for a brief demonstration:

As an example, let’s say you’re trying to trace over an image to create a vector silhouette. You may run into an issue where you keep mis-clicking and moving the image around by mistake, making it difficult to trace over it accurately.

This is where layer locks come in handy. They allow you to temporarily “lock” the layer so that you can’t accidentally move it.

If you just want to lock a single object in Inkscape, select it and open the Layers menu by navigating to:

Layer > Layers & Objects

You can also access it with the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Windows users: Control + Shift + L
  • Mac users: Command + Shift + L

The Layers menu will open on the right-hand side of your screen.

Within it is an index of all of the objects and layers your document currently contains. Look for the line item that represents the object you have selected and click the lock icon next to enable the lock:

Layer lock location
You can lock the entire layer or just a single object within it (click to enlarge.)

Once applied, your object will be fixed to the canvas. Clicking and dragging on it will have no effect whatsoever, meaning you can continue drawing without worrying about accidentally moving it out of place.

It should be noted that layer locks can be applied to individual objects as well as entire layers. Locking the object will fix only the select object in place, whereas locking the entire layer will lock all of its contents in place.

How To Remove Layer Locks

The brilliant thing about layer locks is that they’re only temporary, meaning you can disable them at any time. To do so, just click the lock icon again to unlock the object/layer and you will be able to select and transform it again.

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Nick Saporito

Hi, I'm Nick— a Philadelphia-based graphic designer with over 10 years of experience. Each year millions of users learn how to use design software to express their creativity using my tutorials here and on YouTube.

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