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Monday, November 10, 2014

4) Duplicating, Resizing, and Rotating

Today I will talk about how to use three functions in Inkscape: duplicating, resizing, and rotating. Using these functions, we can create shapes such as trefoils:

1) Duplicating

Duplicating is a very important feature in Inkscape. It allows you to make multiple copies of an object so that they don't have to be drawn from scratch.

To duplicate an object, select it with the cursor tool and press Ctrl+D on your keyboard. When you duplicate an object, the copy will be placed exactly on top of the original. You will have to click and drag it from the original to see the two images:

Duplication can be used as many times as you want, and is a real time saver when creating new rings, chains, and picots.

2) Resizing

Resizing is very straight forward and can be done by dragging the arrows that appear when an object is selected.

As you drag the arrows, it is important to hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard. This will prevent the proportions from becoming skewed.

Resizing an image also changes the thickness of the lines. This can be fixed by opening the Fill and Stroke menu and inputting a new width under "Stroke Style." To learn more about how to do this, Click Here and scroll down to the section labeled "Line Width"

If you want to be more precise about resizing an image, we can do so by going to Object > Transform on the main menu:

The Transform menu allows us to resize by a variety of measures, including pixels (px), centimeters (cm) and percentages (%). If you would like to maintain the proportions of the object you are resizing, make sure to check the box to scale proportionally. Below, I've chosen to change size by percentage.

To resize, make sure that you have your object selected, then input a value into either Width or Height, and click on "Apply." With the box checked to scale proportionally, we only have to enter in one value and the other will automatically fill in. In this case, I've typed 50% into Width:

Here is the result:

3) Rotating

There are three ways to rotate an object. The first is very similar to the method we used to resize our image. Find the object you want to rotate, and click on it twice. Notice that as you click on the object multiple times, the arrows toggle between resizing arrows and rotating arrows. Rotating arrows can be seen in the image below:

To rotate an object, click and drag on one of the rotation arrows until you have the angle that you want.

A second way to rotate an object is to use the hot keys at the top of the screen. These will appear when the object is selected. I've circled them in red:

The hot keys will only rotate your object in 90 degree increments, or flip it vertically or horizontally. If you want to rotate by a different increment, you can use a third option.

To rotate by a predetermined amount, select the object you want to rotate and from the top menu, click on Object > Transform:

Select the "Rotate" tab and enter the amount by which you'd like to rotate. Then press "Apply"

My ring has now been rotated by 60 degrees:

Creating a Trefoil:

Let's use duplicating, resizing, and rotating to create a trefoil.

We can begin by duplicating our basic ring so that we have two copies:

Next, we can resize one of the rings to create the larger central ring typically seen in tatted trefoils:

With the larger ring selected, we can use the hot key at the top of the screen to flip the image vertically:

Here is the result:

Now, using the rotating arrows on our smaller ring, we can turn the ring:

And drag it close to our large ring:

Let's duplicate the small ring again so we can place the other side of the trefoil:

Use the hot key at the top of the screen to flip the duplicated image horizontally:

We can now move our flipped ring in place, to finish our trefoil:


  1. I really appreciate all the trouble you're taking with this tutorial!

    1. Thanks Grace. I'm starting to get burned out...didn't realize how much work would go into this! At the same time I'm excited because I have found some really useful techniques to improve my own diagramming skills, and I'd love to share them!

  2. I think you show make this a You tube movie :) you would get lots of hits!

    1. Maybe something for me to work up to. If only I didn't hate the sound of my own voice!

  3. This is the first time I start understanding inkscape! You are my hero!!! Thanks a lot and I really appreciate your lessons. Easy, step by step, and it seems to be so easy. I use the program in german, so so see where you find which part of the tool makes it easy to follow, also in another program language. Sorry, I don't know how to post with my name, so anonymous was the only way. Claudia

    1. One of the great things about Inkscape is that it's available in different languages. Glad to hear that the screenshots help you follow along. I imagine that the translation for words such as Bezier, node, and Spiro path would be lacking!

  4. Before I close for this morning, want to share my elation .... have successfully made my own trefoil , YAY ! Thank you so very much for your superb instructions :-)))