Okay so say I have a shape like this:

Inkscape shape showing path selected

Now I want to snap a new path to one of the corners and then extend it tangentially from the curve.

Extending path from previous shape
(This, but snapped to the tangent)

How do I do this? I know how to snap a line from an arbitrary point to a tangent of a curve but that doesn't exactly help when the start node of the line is one of the endpoints of the curve itself. But surely it's possible? I mean, you have the tangent at that point right there in the handle of the curve...


Here's a method that should give you an accurate result, with no guessing or eyeballing.

  1. Select the shape, and do Extensions > Visualize Path > Draw handles.

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  1. Select the drawn handles and do Object > Objects to Guides, or Shift+G

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  1. You can now use snapping to guides and cusp nodes to draw your new line. The Bézier handle will snap to the guide so you can match it with the angle of the Bézier handle of the original shape.

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  • Wow. How come I never knew about object to guide???? This makes drafting so much easier!
    – slebetman
    Aug 9 at 2:28
  • Object to Guide is awesome. I've used it quite frequently with things like lengthening a line (Duplicate, Object to Guide, and then move endpoint along the line), or intersecting two lines into a larger shape (duplicate both lines, construct polygon with the intersection point.
    – Joey
    Aug 9 at 8:02
  • Well, although I do actually find the way I detailed in my answer to be overall easier, I'll mark this because object to guides is something people might not know about. Thanks!
    – Arii
    Aug 9 at 21:58

Okay as soon as I posted this I appear to have found at least one solution...

  1. Duplicate the shape with the curve
  2. Edit path by nodes, select the node you want the tangent of
  3. Use Ctrl+Alt or it's equivalent to drag the node of the duplicated shape tangentially from the original
  4. Make a path cusped to the original node and the dragged node, and ideally you can work out the rest of the path from that segment

While this does work, it seems a bit of a bodge... Surely if one can snap a line to a tangent, and drag a node along a tangent, one should be able to simply start a line from a tangent.

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