3 Reasons Why Your Objects Aren’t Visible in Inkscape

3 Reasons Why Your Objects Aren’t Visible in Inkscape 800 470 Nick Saporito

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.

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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.

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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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Nick Saporito

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

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