I don't understand the logic of Inkscape nodes. What I have figured out so far:

  • If I Ctrl-click a cusp node, then it turns it into a Bézier node with two handles

  • If I pull a handle back into the node, then that side of the node becomes straight (i.e., cusp-ish)

What I can’t figure out is:

  • Why are the two handles sometimes locked in a straight line, and other times you can move them independently?
  • See also this. Mar 13, 2018 at 15:38
  • If you can move them independently, the node is a cusp (or corner) node. Oherwise it is smooth or symmetric. Mar 14, 2018 at 0:54

1 Answer 1


Select a cusp with the node tool.

Click the cusp holding Ctrl => you get symmetric handles.

Click a node holding Ctrl. If the node had handles, they become symmetric.

Drag from the cusp holding Shift => you get an independent handle.

Click a handle holding Ctrl => the handle vanishes. There's no need to drag handles into the node.

  • what does "=>" mean? Mar 13, 2018 at 17:34
  • @TylerDurden its a logical connective . It can be read "from that follows". Sorry for taking math symbols to my text.
    – user82991
    Mar 13, 2018 at 17:36
  • Some of my nodes only have 1 handle and no matter what I do I can't get a 2nd handle back.
    – Kenmore
    Jul 7, 2022 at 16:29
  • End node of an open path may well have only one handle with no problems. You can select an intermediate node of a path with the node tool and convert it to symmetric (=one click in the info panel). Hopefully you do not have active path effects , they resist many operations effectively. Expand the effects by applying Path > Object to Path or remove them.
    – user82991
    Jul 7, 2022 at 16:49

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