3 Reasons Why Your Objects Aren’t Visible in Inkscape

objects aren't visible in inkscape

In this post I’ll be explaining the only 3 reasons why your objects aren’t visible in Inkscape and how to fix it. This is a rather common problem with Inkscape and it can be frustrating if you don’t know why it’s happening.

The following is a written explanation. If you’d prefer a video explanation then I have a video tutorial at the top of the page.

When Objects Aren’t Visible in Inkscape

Let’s say you go to create a circle or ellipse, but nothing shows on the canvas. All you can see is the bounding box around the object and the editable properties you’d see on any other ellipse. It might look something like this…

Object not visible

You’ll notice that it’s nearly impossible to select this invisible object. The only way to do so is to press control + a on the keyboard, which selects every object on the canvas (including the invisible object.) Or you can also click and drag a large selection over the general area where the circle was drawn, which should select it.

Why Objects Aren’t Visible in Inkscape

If your objects aren’t visible in Inkscape, it’s most likely for one of three reasons: either there’s no set fill and stroke color, the alpha channel of the fill and/or stroke color has been reduced to zero, or the opacity of the object has been reduced to zero.

Let’s briefly go over 3 reasons why your objects may not be visible.

Reason #1: There’s No Fill & Stroke Colors Set

One reason why an object you’ve just created isn’t showing could be because there’s no set fill and stroke color. Have a look at the bottom-left of your screen. Whenever you have an object selected, there should be a display indicating what the fill and stroke colors are.

No fill or stroke

If your fill and stroke indicators read “None” for both, then that’s probably why your objects aren’t visible. Simply click on any color you’d like in the color selector and your object will become visible. If not, read on.

Reason #2: The Color’s Alpha Channel Is At Zero

If you do have a fill and/or stroke color set and your object still isn’t visible, it could be because the alpha channel of the color has been reduced to zero.

Maybe your screen looks something like this…

Fill with reduced alpha channel

If that’s the case then you’ll have to open the Fill & Stroke Menu by pressing control + shift + f on your keyboard. Click on the Fill tab, then click on the HSL tab and have look at the last row that reads A: (shorthand for alpha channel.)

Fill and stroke menu

If that alpha channel is set to 0 then that would explain why your objects aren’t visible. Click and drag it to the right to bring up the visibility, or simply type 255 into the box where it currently reads 0.

Reason #3: The Object’s Opacity Is Set To Zero

The final reason why your objects may be invisible in Inkscape is because the opacity of the object is set to 0%.

Let’s have another look at the Fill & Stroke menu. At the very bottom you’ll see a row for object Opacity (%).

Object opacity

If your object’s opacity is set to 0% like mine is in the screenshot above, simply click and drag to bring the opacity up to 100% and your object should become visible.

If these written instructions aren’t clear enough then I would suggest watching the video at the top of the page. It’s only a few minutes. If you’ve checked all 3 of these steps and your objects aren’t visible in Inkscape still then leave a comment below and I’ll see if I can help.

As always, thanks for watching!

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23 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why Your Objects Aren’t Visible in Inkscape

  1. Hi Nick,

    I’ve have no color when drawing any shape. Have checked all 3 issues above AND Global Opacity. Also changed setting to not have last setting applied to het next shape. Still no colors when drawing.
    Checked Layer visibility and it is set correctly as well.

    I’m new to Inkscape but I feel pretty confident that all these things are correct so what’s next?

  2. I’ve created a shape with the Bezier tool and connected the end node to the start node. the stroke is black and fill is none. when i try to fill the shape, using the colors at the bottom or the Fill & Stroke dialog, it does not fill. Fill alpha is 100; opacity is 100, and layer opacity is 100 and visible. The ‘flat color’ fill option is selected. I’ve had no problems with this for months until today. not sure what I’ve done to mess it up! (I’ve even uninstalled and reinstalled Inkscape!)

    Any ideas? thanks!

  3. im following one of your tutorials ( simple line Art Design ) and i’ve drawn a circle using the tools, then removed the fill but when i use the shift + click to set a stroke colour for the circle nothing seems to happens, the colour registers on the little stroke / fill box but the strokes don’t show up on my screen and all my HSL and opacity are all in their correct positions, any idea to what’s happening ?

  4. I am running Inkscape 1.0.1 on a Mac and I cannot get objects to display, specifically rectangles and circles. I have ensured that:

    1. The Alpha Channel is set to 100.

    2. I have a fill colour set.

    3. The opacity is at 100%

    4. The display mode is normal

    5. The layer is visible.

    6. The object is not hidden.

    I have just recently installed the program and not enough to make some random setting that would hide the objects. The frustrating thing is that when I draw freehand I can see what I am drawing!

    Any ideas?

    1. I’m running into the same thing. Followed everythinng. In my case, all the shapes work as you would expect, except for the ellipse, which has nothing visible except the handles. The only way I cold get the elipse to show is by grabbing the handle, and then dragging it 360 degrees around the circumference to complete the circle and wallah, it worked every time after that.

      Hope this works for you

      1. Sounds like that might be a graphics card glitch. This happens regularly with Inkscape. The object doesn’t change, just the way it’s displayed on your monitor.

    2. @Dough I had the same issue. Turns out the layer I created had an opacity of 50%, not the objects. I don’t know how that happened. When you have the opacity of 50%, the Alpha in RGBA, HSLA will be set to 100 and the ( + ) won’t be clickable. I hope this helps.

  5. Hiya! I have two grouped objects, one mostly of text and one of line segments and circles and a spiral. When I create a rectangle and move the text group object over the rectangle, the text hides behind it completely instead of being visible like normal. If I move the line segment grouped object over the rectangle, everything hides except portion of the segment that was created with the spiral tool. It seems to have no effect whether I have them on the same layer and raise or lower either one from top to bottom, or whether they are on different layers and I move one layer above or below the other except that when the rectangle layer is above, the spiral portion hides as well. I had multiple levels of grouping and ungrouped all the different groupings into one big unified group and it had no effect. If I change the opacity of the rectangle, I can see the object groups, but it also shows the outlines of the selector boxes for each individual object within each group of objects. Also while working on this file, moving one object seems to be The program has been acting really flaky today, so I am suspecting that might be the issue or I changed the wrong setting somewhere, but if you have any ideas as to any other cause, I’d be very happy to hear it.
    in any case, thanks a bunch for all you do!

  6. How do you set the opacity to be at 100% every time you do a shape like a circle or square.

    For some reason, mine is always set at 0%.

    Any feedback is appreciated.

  7. thank you soooo much

    im almost 60 and learning inkscape

    my circle was not visible – i ve been struggelilng for 2 days now




  8. Gracias por los consejos ya me estaba volviendo loco ya que es la primera vez que uso este software.

  9. Hi, I’m having problem with my text.when I type the text doesn’t show at all but just a tiny little square in the corner. Can you help me ? Thank you

  10. Thank you so much for this! I just downloaded the new version, I’m new to inkscape and for some reason 1.0 was defaulting to 0 opacity.

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