I'm trying to add a white background to an SVG image found on the Internet. I modified it to only keep one of the shape. It is still a rather complex shape and I didn't manage to achieve what I wanted. I followed several Inkscape tutorials found on the web but none of them worked.

Screenshot of a transparent SVG image depicting a Rafale fighter jet

Of course I could just add a white rectangle as a background but I'd like to only fill the inside of the shape with white.

How can I do this on Inkscape ?

2 Answers 2


The image (after removing ALL clipping masks and groupings) was made of black lines. They are not joined together, so there's no closed areas to be filled. I show the construction idea of the image by recoloring a few lines:

enter image description here

The white fill is possible:

  1. Make a copy of the original to the clipboard
  2. Select all, apply Path > Stroke to Path; it converts all lines to filled areas with no stroke (takes a long time).
  3. Select all, apply Path > Union; you get a complex black shape with holes
  4. Select all, apply Path > Break Apart; this separates the interiors of the holes
  5. Select all, apply Path > Union; you get one shape which covers the original. It's black:

enter image description here

  1. Change the fill color to white and paste in place the original:

enter image description here

BTW. I got a PDF when I opened the link you gave. Poppler-Cairo import opened it easily. I removed all groupings by applying Extension > Arrange > Deep Ungroup. This time it hadn't much to do. Some PDFs can have 50 levels of groupings.

  • 1
    The link to the actual SVG is here: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/09/Dassault_Rafale.svg - I was writing a very similar answer, but you got there first. More or less exactly the same idea ;) +1 from me!
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 18:35
  • Thank you. It worked like a charm. What do you mean you've got a PDF with the link I gave ? The Wikimedia Commons link ? Weird, it should redirect to the original SVG image. Edit: Oh I see, it's just that I didn't gave the direct link to the SVG but to the Wikimedia Commons page presenting the file.
    – Nicryc
    Commented Dec 11, 2021 at 20:19
  1. I would take it inside Gimp first, and on a new layer fill the outer spaces with some color, let's say red, and add a third layer of a full white background.

  2. I would flatten those two layers and auto trace them inside Inkscape.

  3. Delete the red parts and over impose your image in the white object.

But the truth is that to have a clean drawing I would just learn how to trace it manually. The shape is pretty simple.

Just add nodes on each intersection and adjust the specific location zooming in.

There are a couple of curved sections. Use a bezier line there.

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