I have a hand-drawn shapes, in fact, a hand-written text. I wanted to make it bolder so I used the technique of adding a 1 mm stroke, and then converted the stroke to path. That "removed" the fill and left me with the the outline. I wanted the fill so I created a Union with a copied original. This, for some reason, created shapes which had the inner spaces filled, and an additional path that was basically the inner space, but also filled.

I could select the two shapes and do a Difference. This din't work with multiple shapes because of how Diff works. But Exclusion worked. I could choose all of the shapes and do Exclusion and got the result I wanted.

However, the result was a single path. The clearly separated shapes (words) were all in a single path. I wasn't aware this is possible - I thought a path is a single shape, perhaps mangled so that it crosses itself, but how can it make separate shapes? I didn't check SVG representation but the Objects window was showing just a single path.

1) How can I separate items in such path? I have tried "Break apart". But that gave me again the state when the inner spaces were filled. I couldn't select individual shapes because it always chose just the bounding box of all the shapes.

2) Is it possible to simplify (automate) the process of widening the shapes? I.e. the same effect as if you add a stroke which is the same as fill. I have noticed it's quite common practice in daily graphical work.

  • Any chance you could show some screenshots of the graphic and what you are trying to achieve or what went wrong? Thanks.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 17:40
  • Will do on Tuesday when I get to the "Fablab" again Commented May 16, 2018 at 11:00

1 Answer 1


For 1.):

Subpaths. A path can consist of any number of open or closed subpaths which make up the whole path. 'Break apart' will break a path with subpaths apart into all its components, which includes parts that lie within other parts (aka the holes in the letters). This is normal.

For 2.):

For all options: Start with the 'Stroke to Path' on the hand-drawn text, if the original text only consists of a stroked path, in order to get letters like this:

letters consisting of only a fill

Option a) Use Path > Outset. You can define the amount of outset that is applied in the settings at Edit > Preferences > Behavior > Steps. For keyboard shortcuts, see https://inkscape.org/en/doc/keys092.html#idm1210

Option b) Use Path > Dynamic Offset or Path > Linked Offset - the first will convert your path into an object that has a mouse-adjustable outset, the second creates a duplicate of the object, and that duplicate has a mouse-adjustable outset and will adapt to any changes of the original path. These outsets are not normal paths. You can convert them to a normal path by doing Path > Object to Path.

  • Thanks! This does what I need. But: 1) Dynamic outset can only work with one path, right? I can't apply it to a group. 2) Outset seems to work on the original dimensions of the path, and if it is transformed, the outset of 1 mm does actually around 12 mm for me. So I needed to go to the dialog several times (to end up with 0.05 mm). I assume that's the best i can get? Commented May 16, 2018 at 17:06
  • Regarding 1) - when I click Dynamic offset, it just switches to path node editing. Commented May 16, 2018 at 17:08
  • Yes, Dynamic offset only works per path. You can, however, combine multiple letters into one path via Path > Combine - as long as they have the same fill and stroke (if they don't, they will after the operation). It switches to the node tool, and gives you a new handle in the shape of a square that is standing on one of its corners. 2) Which of the three outset options are we talking about here?
    – Moini
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 22:14
  • 2) Path > Outset. Does that have options? I don't see any, it just does the change after pressing the menu item. Commented May 17, 2018 at 8:34
  • As written above, you can change the step size in the settings.
    – Moini
    Commented May 17, 2018 at 11:48

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