Inkscape FAQ: How do I crop in Inkscape?

One of the most frequently asked questions from Inkscape users is “how do i crop an image or object?” The Clipping feature is by far the easiest and most versatile way to crop vector  or bitmap/raster objects in Inkscape. This FAQ provides you with a step by step tutorial covering the basics of clipping.

Let’s start with our little monster friend that i downloaded from the Open Clip Art Library:


Our monster is actually a group of 21 objects (a mixture of Ellipses and Paths). When clipping, it is always easier to group the objects being clipped. Grouping objects is as simple as selecting 2 or more objects and choosing Object > Group.


Choose the Rectangle Tool from the Toolbar, and draw a Rectangle over our poor little monster’s face.


Select both the the monster (the group) and the Grey Rectangle (a rectangle object). After selecting both, Choose Object > Clip > Set from the menu.


…and our monster is now cropped in a nice neat rectangle.


But what has happened to the rest of the monster? Well, one of the awesome things about the Clipping feature in Inkscape is that it is non-destructive.  We can remove the clip at any time by selecting the clipped object, and then choosing Object > Clip > Release from the menu.


…and now our monster is back to normal! Well, the rectangle that was clipping him before is still there, but trust me, so is the monster.


But can you crop your image with something other than a rectangle? Yes! Clipping in inkscape can be done with a wide range of clipping objects, including Text Objects…


Circle and Ellipse objects…


and Stars and Polygons.


Even a path can be used as a clipping object.


In fact, if you use a path as the clipping object, you can actually edit the clip path without having to Release it. First select the clipped object, then choose the Node Editing Tool. Your clip path will be outlined Green, with the normal path editing nodes visible.


Now, you can edit this path, and change the area that is clipped / cropped.

Clipping is one feature in inkscape that you will use time and time again. When working with imported bitmap / raster images, clipping is a easy way to crop without having to open up the GIMP. Additonally, when combined with blur, you can achieve some awesome effects like simple bubbles.

7 thoughts on “Inkscape FAQ: How do I crop in Inkscape?

  1. This feature is great but not strictly better than a true crop, especially when exporting to different programs that interpret xml data differently. Inkscape desperately needs true cropping functionality.

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