To annotate a picture, I have many arrows to add. For visibility I want to add a light border around them.

I want to draw an arrow with this kind of appearance:

Arrow with border

I tried to convert my line in path, but the trouble is that you cannot modify the arrow as a line after this transformation. In addition, each head (marker) has to be manually corrected at the junction between the line and the marker.

I also tried the filter Morphology>Contour... the best result I could achieved is this one (not selecting 'Live Preview' which end in a black rectangle):

rendu 1

I am not happy because I did not manage to select the color and thickness of the contour.

And I have got strange behavior for horizontal line (unwanted cropping, an disparition of the line, when completly horizontal)

horiz arrow cropped

What would you recommend to draw kind of kind of arrow ? Since I am not very experimented with inkscape, I think I am missing something obvious.

I am using inkscape 0.92.3.

1 Answer 1


It is possible to do it with an SVG effect, although the edges will not be sharp quite like a stroke on a combined shape.

  1. Create a path, apply a stroke and arrow head as you would normally

  2. Create an invisible bounding box around it (no stroke and no fill)

enter image description here

  1. Group the bounding box and the arrow

  2. Click Filters > Morphology > Outline

  3. When the Outline window opens set the effect up as follows, and then click on the "Live Preview" option.

enter image description here

  1. Click on the Colour tab to set the outline colour. You may have to toggle the "Live Preview" off and back on again for the preview to update.

  2. When you have finished click Apply

  3. With the Edit Paths by Node tool F2, you can select the nodes and move the arrow around. It will still behave as a stroke with an arrow head applied.

enter image description here

  • Thanks, I will try. It looks good. What is the reason for adding "an invisible bounding box" ?
    – kFly
    Sep 7, 2019 at 21:49
  • 1
    @kFly so that the path effect covers the whole arrow when it's horizontal or vertical. If you didn't do that it would only be as thick as the path, and the effect wouldn't display properly.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 7, 2019 at 22:30
  • Thanks @Billy Kerrr. When applying the filter, I am not getting the outline. The whole arrow is covered by the filter result (dark red in your example). I have applied the same parameters as shown, but I must be missing a point.
    – kFly
    Sep 7, 2019 at 22:56
  • @kFly - my arrow is large, you may have to reduce the width of the stroke using the different values for the paramaters of the filter if you are working on a small arrow.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 8, 2019 at 1:05

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