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Does a smarter boolean tool like Illustrator's Shape builder tool exist for Inkscape? Or a plugin maybe?

I know the same can be achieved with the Union/Difference/Intersection tools, but the Shape builder is a lot faster and less complex.

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    Inkscape has Paint Bucket which makes new shapes by filling areas, but it isn't exact. It uses only screen resolution. Zooming in reveals the inaccuracy.
    – user82991
    Nov 6, 2018 at 11:51

2 Answers 2

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There's no Shape Builder tool equivalent in Inkscape, however there is one method to work round the difficulty of making new shapes from complex overlapping shapes.

So, let's say you have a bunch of overlapping shapes from which you want to create a design. Probably easier to make sure they are all just a stroke and no fill at this stage so you can see what's going on.

  • Select them all and do Path > Combine
  • Draw a rectangle that is larger than the shapes, lower it to the bottom, then select both the combined shape and rectangle.
  • Do Path > Division
  • Fill all the shapes temporarily so you can select them easily
  • Then Select and Delete the parts you don't want, and do Path > Union on those you want to become a single shape.

For example

enter image description here

Obviously this technique isn't worth the trouble for fewer shapes where you'd probably be quicker using the boolean operations as they stand.

You can speed this up if you learn the shortcuts for some of the operations. I didn't use them in the above example so you can see what's going on, but here are some useful shortcuts:

Ctrl+A Select All

Ctrl+K Combine

Ctrl++ Union

F4 Rectangle Tool

F1 Select and Transform Objects Tool

End Lower to Bottom

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  • Thanks Billy! That’s what I had in mind as well, but still, it was worth asking.
    – wout
    Nov 5, 2018 at 12:17
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    A little update here (2022/11/11): The Inkscape developers are currently working on the implementation of a Shape Builder Tool. So, perhaps look for that in upcoming releases. I don't know when it will be ready. Hopefully soon!
    – Billy Kerr
    Nov 11, 2022 at 16:30
  • That's great to hear! I really like the recent development on the app.
    – wout
    Nov 12, 2022 at 9:40
  • @ClarusDignus - I know, but this answer is from 2018, and the shape builder didn't exist back then when I wrote it.
    – Billy Kerr
    Aug 5, 2023 at 17:02
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As of 23 July 2023 (Inkscape 1.3), Inkscape now has a shape builder tool.

Shape Builder Demo

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    Yes, I've seen. Inkscape is doing some serious catching up. Love it!
    – wout
    Aug 10, 2023 at 13:58

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