I've been having trouble moving an item that's part of a group; the available tutorials don't seem to work for me, even though I downloaded Inkscape this month and am using default settings.

I'd like to move the black circle in the image below:

Circle clipped by square.

The way I understand it, I'm supposed to pick the "Select and transform objects" tool, double-click the circle, then drag it.

But when I double-click the circle, I get switched to another tool, like the Draw Ellipse tool. Then I can't drag the circle without drawing an ellipse. If I try to switch back to "Select and transform objects," the circle is deselected.

Is there any other way to move the circle without dismantling the clipping mask?

  • Double click to enter the group. Click once again to select the circle, then click and drag it.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 21, 2020 at 23:40
  • I think that almost worked? I double-clicked the circle, and the tool changed to "Edit paths by nodes (N)." So I could change the shape of the circle, but I couldn't select or move it. When I switched back to "Select and transform objects," the group was deselected.
    – Jacob
    May 21, 2020 at 23:48
  • I've added an answer now, with more detail and with other options, and possible problems you might encounter.
    – Billy Kerr
    May 22, 2020 at 0:16

2 Answers 2


There are several methods

The easiest is:

  1. With the Select and Transform Objects tool, Ctrl+click on the circle

  2. Click and drag it to move it

Note: This method won't work properly unless the circle is actually within a group inside the clipping mask.

Another method:

  1. Using the Select and Transform Objects tool, double click the group. This will enter the group.

  2. Click once on the circle to select it

  3. Click and drag to move the circle.

  4. Double click outside the group to exit it.

The above method is a bit trickier if the circle is an SVG Circle, because if you double click on an SVG Circle the Circle tool is automatically selected. However you can click and drag the centre X to move it. This solution also works better if the circle is within a group inside the clipping mask.

Or alternatively:

  1. Using the Select and Transform Objects tool, hold down Alt while you rotate the centre mouse wheel. This will cycle through the selection of all objects under the cursor.

  2. When the circle is highlighted and other objects dimmed, release the Alt key.

  3. The circle will now be selected, and you can now click and drag it.

The last method is especially useful for selecting objects hidden under others, or which are difficult to select. Again this kind of relies on the circle being within an actual group itself.

Or (almost foolproof)

  1. Use the Edit paths by nodes tool to select the circle

  2. Switch to the Select and Transform Objects tool

  3. Click and drag the circle

  • Thanks so much for your help! I didn't see the centre X until I changed the color of the circle. At first it looked like none of the methods worked, but I guess I misunderstood how grouping/clipping works; I assumed that I had to select both shapes in order to clip one by the other. My cut-off circle was not actually part of a group. Everything works now; the alternate method (Alt + scroll) you provided is especially helpful. Thanks again!
    – Jacob
    May 22, 2020 at 13:06

A good time to make the Objects panel a part of your active toolset. With it you see what you have selected and you reach objects under groupings, clippings and maskings. Your current case doesn't urgently need this, but the situation becomes different when your drawing is complex.

enter image description here

Objects panel shows that group g841 is selected. The icon above the cursor in CM column shows that the group is clipped. The shape used as the clipping path isn't in the object list.

If you want to move or edit the black circle (=path837) you simply select it in the list and move it with the move tool:

enter image description here

Learn from Inkscpe documentation the details of the Objects panel.

Automatically generated names like g841 or path837 are not especially good when you have say 50 objects. It pays off to write your own names at least for groups. Double clicking a name opens it for rewriting.

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