In Inkscape I have a large number of objects.

I would like to select a random subset of these objects and change their width en masse.

Is it possible to do this in Inkscape?

  • Hi. Welcome to GDSE. The software has no ability to automatically select objects randomly. I suppose it could be scripted, but I'm no coder. Scaling on one axis can be done using the Trasform dialog, Scale tab, and the option "apply to each separately".
    – Billy Kerr
    Jan 20 at 9:32
  • Hello, Richard, can you tell us something more and perhaps add an example? What do you expect to achieve? What efforts have you made? Jan 20 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


Currently, it's not possible to randomly select objects using the main GUI of Inkscape. I have created this inkscape extension to randomly select a subset of objects and change their width or height attributes:

  • Download the extension and install it.
  • Select all the objects (Make sure to convert them to paths).
  • Extensions > Modify Path > Batch property random selection

Below is a demonstration:


More features could be added later.


I'd been interested in generating a star field with randomly-sized stars.

It's easy to generate nicely-distributed circles using Poisson Disc Sampling and to find SVGs where people have already done this via Google Image Search. With such an SVG in hand the question then becomes: how do I resize some of the "stars" to be larger than others. Choosing these randomly seems reasonable.

Poisson disc sampling

However, I didn't end up using the above approach. The stars were too uniformly distributed.

Instead, I downloaded bsc5.dat.gz from the Yale Bright Star Catalog.

I then passed it through the script at the bottom of this post.

This produced an image similar to this

Orthographic projection of night sky

which I can then clip as needed.

Star Generation Script

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import math
from typing import List, Optional, Tuple

class Star():
  A class representing a star, with name, magnitude, right ascension (ra),
  declination (dec) and projected co-ordinates x,y calculated by a class

  def __init__(self, name: str, constellation: str, mag: float, ra: float, dec: float) -> None:
    Initializes the star object with its name and magnitude, and position
    as right ascension (ra) and declination (dec), both in radians.

    self.name = name
    self.constellation = constellation
    self.mag = mag
    self.ra = ra
    self.dec = dec
    self.visible = True
    self.x: Optional[float] = None
    self.y: Optional[float] = None

  def project_orthographic(self, ra0: float, dec0: float) -> Tuple[float, float]:
    Calculates, stores and returns the projected co-ordinates (x, y) of
    this star's position using an orthographic projection about the
    angular position (ra0, dec0).

    delta_ra = self.ra - ra0
    self.x = math.cos(self.dec) * math.sin(delta_ra)
    self.y = math.sin(self.dec) * math.cos(dec0)\
          - math.cos(self.dec) * math.cos(delta_ra) * math.sin(dec0)
    return self.x, self.y

# Read in the star data
star_data = open('bsc5.dat', 'r').readlines()

# Parse all the stars into Star objects
stars: List[Star] = []
for line in star_data:
  constellation = line[11:14]
  name = line[4:14]
      mag = float(line[102:107])
  except ValueError:
      # some stars do not have magnitudes: ignore these entries
  # Right ascension (hrs, mins, secs), equinox J2000, epoch 2000.0
  ra_hrs, ra_min, ra_sec = [float(x) for x in (line[75:77], line[77:79], line[79:83])]
  # Declination (hrs, mins, secs), equinox J2000, epoch 2000.0
  dec_deg, dec_min, dec_sec = [float(x) for x in (line[83:86], line[86:88], line[88:90])]
  # Convert both RA and declination to radians
  ra = math.radians((ra_hrs + ra_min/60 + ra_sec/3600) * 15.)
  dec = math.radians(dec_deg + dec_min/60 + dec_sec/3600)
  # Create a new Star object and add it to the list of stars
  stars.append(Star(name, constellation, mag, ra, dec))

# Now find the number of stars in the Orion constellation and use this to find
# the center (average position) of the constellation
n = sum([1 for star in stars if star.constellation == "Ori"])
ra0 = sum([star.ra for star in stars if star.constellation == "Ori"]) / n
dec0 = sum([star.dec for star in stars if star.constellation == "Ori"]) / n

# Now get the projections of all of the stars when projected to an orthographic
# projection centered on the constellation
coords: List[Tuple[float, float]] = []
for star in stars:
  # Orthographic projection (ra, dec) -> (x1, y1)
  coords.append(star.project_orthographic(ra0, dec0))

# Get dimensions and aspect ratio of image
xmin = min(coords, key=lambda x: x[0])[0]
xmax = max(coords, key=lambda x: x[0])[0]
ymin = min(coords, key=lambda x: x[1])[1]
ymax = max(coords, key=lambda x: x[1])[1]
aspect_ratio = (xmax-xmin)/(ymax-ymin)

# The stars will be output on a canvas of dimensions width x height, with
# some extra padding around the outside of the "paintable" area.
padding = 50
height = 2500
width = int(height * aspect_ratio)

# Write the SVG image file for the constellation
with open('{:s}.svg'.format("/z/test.svg"), 'w') as f:
    print('<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>', file=f)
    print('<svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"', file=f)
    print('     xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink"', file=f)
    print('     width="{:d}" height="{:d}">' # style="background: #000000">'
            .format(width + 2*padding, height + 2*padding), file=f)
    for star in stars:
        if not star.visible:
        # Enable to filter stars by magnitude (brightness)
        # if star.mag > 4.5:
          # continue
        # Enable to filter stars by constellation
        # if star.constellation != "Ori":
          # continue
        rx = (star.x - xmin) / (xmax - xmin)
        ry = (star.y - ymin) / (ymax - ymin)
        cx = padding + (1-rx) * (width - 2*padding)
        cy = padding + (1-ry) * (height - 2*padding)
        radius = max(1, 6-star.mag) if star.constellation == "Ori" else max(1, 5-star.mag)
        print('<circle cx="{cx:.1f}" cy="{cy:.1f}" r="{r:.1f}"'
              ' stroke="none" fill="#000000" name="{name:s}"/>'.format(
              cx=cx, cy=cy, r=radius, name=star.name), file=f)
    print('</svg>', file=f)

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