What To Do When A Tool Stops Working (Or Tools are Drawing Invisible Objects)

Submitted By: brynn Date: March 09, 2014, 12:09:55 PM Views: 9993

What To Do When A Tool Stops Working

(Or Tools are Drawing Invisible Objects)

By default, whenever you draw a new object with Inkscape, that object takes the style (color, stroke width, transparency, etc.) of the object which was last drawn with that tool.  Usually we find that someone has made an object transparent, and thus, the next object they draw with that tool will also be transparent.  There are a few places to control transparency:
  • Fill and Stroke dialog on both the Fill tab and Stroke Paint tab, look at the A: slider (alpha) which should be all the way to the right, with a value of 255
  • Fill and Stroke Dialog at the bottom, the Opacity slider should be all the way to the right, with a value of 100%
  • Layers can be made transparent as well.  Layers menu > Layers opens the Layers dialog.  Check Opacity slider for each layer (all the way to right, 100%)
  • Also in Layers dialog, make sure the eye icon is open  :vis: , and the Blend Mode is Normal

If the non-working tool is a shape tool (Rectangle  :rect: , 3D Box  :3db: , Ellipse  :et: , Star  :star: , or Spiral  :spir: ) and it's drawing something, but not what you want, chances are that the last time you used it, you moved one or more of the handles that control it's shape.  The handles appear when the shape tool is engaged, and the object is selected.  They are tiny squares and circles (and I think there are diamond shaped handles somewhere).  To return the shape to it's default, for Star and Spiral tools, click this button  :def: which is on the right end of the control bar.  For the Rectangle tool, this button  :src: makes rounded corners sharp again.  For the Ellipse tool, this button  :we: makes the ellipse whole again.  The 3D Box tool doesn't have a default button.

Another possibility is that you have turned the fill and/or stroke off completely.  After you draw a new object, and without deselecting it (and even though you might not be able to see it) go to Object menu > Fill and Stroke > Fill tab, and/or Stroke Paint tab.  If you see this button  :rem: is engaged, you've solved the problem, because that button turns off the fill (if you're on the Fill tab) or the stroke (if you're on the Stroke tab).  To replace the fill or stroke, click the solid blue button  :fc: (assuming you want a solid fill or stroke).  (The other buttons apply gradients, patterns or do other things.)

Once you know all these places to check, you'll be able to change the style of objects to your liking, as you draw.  However, there IS a way to set your tools to have custom styles, which will not change, no matter how much you may edit objects later.  (For example, I have all my tools set to draw in a 1 px black stroke, and no fills.)  Here's a tutorial:  Customize Your Inkscape Tools' Styles

And finally, if it's a key shortcut that doesn't seem to work, try clicking once on any open area of the canvas.  Sometimes you just need to bring Inkscape's attention back to the canvas.  Of course, this will deselect anything that might be selected.  So if it's a difficult selection to make, and you don't want to lose it, try switching to the Node tool and click a node.  That brings Inkscape back to the canvas, and you can switch back to the Selection tool and try the key shortcut again.

So that's about all I can think of.  If anyone has another tip to add under this subject, please feel free to Comment, below.

And if you still can't solve the problem, please feel free to post a message in our forum   :)


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