How do i know the first node position of a path ? (in my case 4 nodes in total)

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I know how to Tab around and also find the direction of the path, but how exactly do i determine which is the first node ?

And if i may ask a secoundry question , which i think maybe impossible but here we go , how do i align the starting node of one path to the starting node of another path ?

  • Your question is confusing: Do you want to know which node is the first on a path? or do you want to know the coordinates of the first node?
    – s.ouchene
    Dec 23, 2021 at 17:47
  • @s.ouchene i want to know the first node in the path :) Dec 23, 2021 at 18:14
  • 2
    When you use the nodes tool, press TAB, it will select the first node in that path.
    – s.ouchene
    Dec 23, 2021 at 21:38
  • @s.ouchene - that's a nice trick. You should add it as an answer.
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 23, 2021 at 23:56
  • @BillyKerr: Thanks, done!
    – s.ouchene
    Dec 24, 2021 at 4:50

3 Answers 3


To find which node is the first in a given path, you have at least two methods:

Method 1:

  • Select the path, and Press N (to edit path by nodes) then press TAB. This will select the first node on that path.

Method 2:

  • Select your path, then ExtensionsVisualize PathNumber Nodes, and press Apply. This will replace the nodes by numbered dots.
  • 1
    This should be the accepted answer, it is the simplest method. Dec 24, 2021 at 16:06

You can use the XML editor Shift+Ctrl+X to find out which node comes first in a path.

Try temporarily moving a node, and you will be able to see if the first co-ordinate in the path data changes. Undo the move with Ctrl+Z (Undo).

If you just changed a circle to a path using Object to Path, then assuming you made no further edits such as breaking the closed path at another node, rotating the circle or reversing the path direction, then the first node should be located at the 3 o'clock position on the circle. Similarly, if it's a rectangle converted to paths, then the first node is at the top left. If you use the Bézier tool to create a path or a shape (a closed path), then the first node is the first one you made.

Aligning nodes can be done with the Snapping Controls. Enable Snapping, Snapping to Nodes, and Snapping to Cusp Nodes.

You can also Align nodes by selecting them with the Edit Paths by Nodes tool N. Holding down Shift as you click allows you to make multiple selections. Then you can use the Align and Distribute panel Shift+Ctrl+A.

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  • sorry man , i'd give you 2 upvotes if i had them :) thanks alot for the extra info Dec 23, 2021 at 20:29
  • 1
    @AlexanderSolonik - no worries, glad I could help.
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 23, 2021 at 20:30

The XML Editor (Shift+Ctrl+X) is useful to show the first node of a path.

Path and XML Editor

The problem is that the coordinates stored in the SVG file are different by a scale factor from the ones used in the user interface of Inkscape, see also this answer, this one and SVG specifications.

Knowing this, you can calculate the correction factor and interpret the values you find in the XML Editor.

Or - if you find boring calculating - you can also add in the image a little temporary box, set in the XML Editor the coordinates of a corner of the box using the coordinates of the first node of your path (you can confirm the value with Ctrl+Enter) and watch the new box location (it will be near the node of your path to be identified).

  • The Latest Inkscape (1.x) seems to have a slightly different Interface for the XML Editor. I can't get it to highlight the first node in the path data by selecting the node, it just shows the whole path.
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 23, 2021 at 14:58
  • Mmm... I see. Thanks for pointing this out, Billy. However, sometimes it would be nice to be able to select a coordinate system in Inkscape that corresponds to the units stored in the SVG file. Dec 23, 2021 at 17:07
  • @PaoloGibellini , thanks for the answer and the effort , however i only want to find the first node not the co-ordinates or something , for any given path :) Dec 23, 2021 at 18:18
  • 1
    @AlexanderSolonik - the first node is the first set of co-ordinates. They're essentially the same thing. The M (Moveto) co-ordinate is the location of the start of a path (i.e. the location of the start node)
    – Billy Kerr
    Dec 23, 2021 at 19:25

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