I have a circle as a point and a stroke as a curve. Is it possible to lock the center of the point to the curve so that however I move it the point is still in the curve? In another word, how to make it becomes a slider on the curve?

  • Select all of the points you want to move with the Direct Selection tool and move them.
    – Joonas
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 6:43
  • they aren't really locked in the curve, right?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 7:47
  • 1
    PS what you really want is a indirect modeler, neither inkscape or illustrator will make you happy.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 8:08
  • I tried to make an answer, but I didn't read the question after the edit and I realize I misunderstood the question anyways. — Just like your last question, you seem to approach this from a bit of a weird direction. I'm not sure why you'd want this. I can't think of a situation where I would need this functionality... Well Snapping makes sense. Just like in Billy's answer, AI has snapping. So if you use the normal Selection tool to move the circle on top of the other the other path, it should snap to it kinda like magnets.
    – Joonas
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 8:40
  • 1
    @Joonas yes but you might be using this template a 1000 times. It is perfactly valid just not a common mindset of graphic designers. Its the elephant in the room ofr you, you can not see it since your used to it.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 9:01

3 Answers 3


Inscape has snapping features that could help you place the shape on a path precisely, although not physically locked to it.

Enable the following snapping options in the Snap Controls Bar:

  • Enable Snapping
  • Snap Nodes, Paths and Handles
  • Snap to Paths
  • Snap other Points (centres, guide origins, gradient handles, etc)
  • Snap Centres of Objects

enter image description here


You can't tie points or objects to paths, but in some situations, you can get around this by using Direct Selection tool.

With the Direct Selection tool, you are just picking what points to move, rather than "locking" some points to others. It's not exactly the same, but it can achieve the same thing.

The annoying thing is that in some situations it may be difficult to select just the points you need if there are other points close by. So you may have to hold down Shift key and add the points you wish to move to your selection one by one. Ideally, you would just drag out a selection to get all the points at once.

How you can select the points you need a bit easier:

  1. Lock unimportant Objects → Top menu > Object > Lock.
    • If you lock an object, it can't be selected anymore.
    • It may make sense to use the normal Selection tool to select objects when locking them. Direct selection tool drills inside masks and that may make selecting layers groups harder for this purpose.
    • Object > Unlock All to release locked objects.
  2. Hide unimportant Objects → Top menu > Object > Hide > Selection.
    • It may make sense to use the normal Selection tool to select objects when hiding them. Direct selection tool drills inside masks and that may make selecting layers groups harder for this purpose.
    • Object > Unlock All to release locked objects.
  3. Lock unimportant Layers in the Layers panel.
    • Same thing. Lock a layer and you can't select it anymore.
  4. Hide unimportant Layers in the Layers panel.
    • Hiding layers can be way better because AI still tries to snap to locked layers.

Gif of the ideal situation, where there are no extra points surrounding the ones you want to move:

enter image description here

Gif of a situation of where there is something below so the points I want to move are surrounded by other points making selection difficult. This is a situation where you should start using locks and hiding:

enter image description here

Now here's another possible issue. The points that I "attached" to the line are not locked to this exact position in the line, they just happen to be stacked in the same coordinates. So when I move these two points simultaneously, lines drift apart and don't stay connected. This is unfortunate but you can't really do much about it:

enter image description here

Here's a gif where select the line using Direct Selection tool add points to the line using Pen tool. Then I move the points in a similar way and the 2 stacked points stay together, but obviously, it doesn't look the same visually:

enter image description here

  • I considered deleting this answer, but given that it answers the question in the title: "Is there a way to lock a point into a curve?", I figured it may help some people who end up here from a search. Feel free to downvote it so that it gets sorted below the other two answers.
    – Joonas
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 10:57
  • To be honest the question was not that clear. There are probably several ways it could be interpreted. It seems all 3 of us who answered understood it quite differently. Leave your answer, it's still useful!
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 14:11

Yes and No. Both Illustrator and Inkscape are direct modelers. This means you the user are mostly responsible for doing everything yourself.

Even though both applications have some indirect modeling utilities the arent designed as such. So whatever indirection you happen to need then wether it has that one is purely coincidental.

But both can do this if whatever you want to attach can be converted to a font. As both are capable of making text on curve as you describe. Inkscape can also do something like this with arrowheads in a limited way, while illustrator can only attach to ends. You can also use art brushes (illustrator) or path effects (inkscape) for this. But really the applications arent meant for this. As placing manually is not a issue in the intended modeling paradigm.

Now there are applications that are meant for indirect modeling that do have these features, in a way that you can reliably expect them to do 99% of everything you need. But for both illustrator and inkscape one could be made to have this feature, though they would never be good indirect modelers. And honestly I have this tool for illustrator implemented in my api feasibility test set, but its still not in a state that anybody other than me could use it.

  • Do you mean "indirect modeling" as "parameter modeling"? Is animation an indirect modeling? Image manipulation?
    – Ooker
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 9:28
  • @Ooker indirect is bigger than the set pf parametric modeling. But yeah most 3d animation software are on average indirect modellers, though they can often be used directly too, which your average parametroic CAD can not do!.But even so direct animation tools exist, you draw each image.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 10:12

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