Consider the following image:

enter image description here

How can I select the green ellipses without selecting the red rectangles? I'm aware of 2 existing methods of selecting things:

  1. Shift + click objects (not suitable for many objects - e.g. after using the spray objects function)
  2. Click + drag a box over the objects from the side (not suitable if they are on top of another object, or after using the spray objects function on something that is in the way

What I want to do is drag a selection box over the green ellipses, but I can't do that directly without moving background objects.

How can I drag a selection box over something without moving background objects around?

This is similar to this question, but for Inkscape instead of Illustrator.

  • 1
    I see my question has been downvoted. If whoever downvoted this question would like to leave a comment, I would greatly appreciate some feedback so I can ask better questions in the future. Commented Jan 8, 2022 at 21:16

3 Answers 3


Method 1:

Press and hold Shift while drawing a selection box around the ellipses.

enter image description here

Method 2:

Select a green ellipse then Edit > Select Same > Fill Color.

enter image description here


Another method which might work in some specific cases, not necessarily the one shown, would be to lock the content you don't want to select in the Objects Panel. Then you can do Ctrl+A to Select All. The locked objects will not be selected.

It's also possible to do this if you arrange different parts of your content on different layers. Layers can also be locked in the Layers Panel.

Locking objects or layers can also be useful if you don't want to accidentally move something.

  • Nice. Just a side note: the objects and Layers dialogs are merged in a single dialog "Objects and Layers" in the development version of Inkscape.
    – s.ouchene
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 14:19
  • @s.ouchene - cool, I'll have to take a look.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 14:22

This is apparently a little known trick, but while using the select tool, press and hold ALT, click and hold mouse button, and you'll be able to draw a squiggly line over all the objects you want to select, let go mouse, and BAM, you've got your selection.

enter image description here

  • 3
    ... And that's wrong because it will also select the object below it, in the case of OP that will also select the cyan rectangle.
    – s.ouchene
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 18:14
  • True, you're not wrong. However, It's really easy to unselect that one object below, afterwards. But with this method you can avoid the red rectangles in the OP pic easily.
    – zksmk
    Commented Jan 1, 2022 at 19:42

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