I am working on an inkscape document that will be used to laser cut a sheet of acrylic. I would like to be able to print the design on paper and include the dimensions for each shape I have created for reference later.

Is there a feature or extension that will generate the dimensions as text on a separate layer (or something similar) so that I can view / print the design with each object's dimensions visible?



My current understanding of how Inkscape can accomplish your objective is somewhat convoluted and could certainly be easier.

Using the measure tool, click on the locations to be measured. This places both an angle reference and a set of dimensions, depending on the complexity of the path you've selected.

The tool bar has a small rule icon:

rule icon on tool bar

Even though I had snap turned on, I didn't put too much effort into aligning the tool:

measuring example

You can see there is a 0.10 degree slope to my tool reference points.

On the toolbar, find the "convert to item" icon and engage:

convert to item icon

Once converted, you can edit it as any other complex path. Break apart the path, ungroup, delete specific references, move to another layer, etc.

converted item

Convoluted, but possible. Large quantities of this operation will be less than convenient.

Another option that presents itself, based on the comment by the OP might be Solvespace. It is a 3D modeling program, multi-platform, that will, of course, allow one to create 2D images, which can be exported to DXF and SVG format. It is a parametric program and is relatively easy to use. The tutorials that are available through the above link facilitate the learning process.

It does not support layers as in the original request, but does allow for changes to parameters to be reflected in the dimensions.

It's yet one more step in a process of creating a drawing, but far fewer steps than my first suggestion.

  • Thanks for this. I have been looking at the feature demonstrated in this video, which is similar to your answer: youtube.com/watch?v=XbSq_pO_KHA I was hoping for something a little more automated as I have 40+ objects in the design and ideally I don't want to have to regenerate 80+ measurements manually every time I revise the design. – Dan Apr 8 '20 at 19:45
  • It sounds as though something parametric is going to be more to your liking. Unfortunately, Inkscape and parametric are not compatible terms. I found an extension: github.com/parametric-svg/tutorial but it uses a lot more code than I can comprehend and cannot validate its value here. – fred_dot_u Apr 8 '20 at 21:28

Use Extensions > Visualize Path > Dimensions

In the upcoming Inkscape version, there's also a live path effect for it, with tons of additional options.

  • 1
    This appears to add the lines and arrows but not the actual dimensions as text. Am I missing a step? – Dan Apr 11 '20 at 7:58
  • Maybe you need to zoom in? Texts seemed tiny to me when I tried it out. Or maybe - in the worst case - the texts are displaced? Can't tell without an SVG file, but it did work for me. – Moini Apr 11 '20 at 12:49
  • Same experience as Dan here, no text. I used to get an error (printed when starting from terminal) about missing family "Sans", but after fiddling around with fonts inside inkscape, it's not set to "sans-serif", I no longer get that error, but it still does not show any text. – domen Feb 24 at 23:44

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