Does anyone know why my arrow turns into this strange shape in Inkscape when I fill it?

enter image description here

Here is my svg file from Inkscape.

3 Answers 3


The object has a fill, and that is the problem.

What you are seeing is what happens when you try to fill an open path. This is not just specific to Inkscape, the same happens in other vector software, such as Illustrator. There's nothing strange going on here at all, it's normal behaviour. However, you shouldn't apply fills to open paths if you want to avoid this kind of thing.

To fix it, just select the path, and remove the fill.

enter image description here

Same thing happens in Adobe Illustrator, same fix

enter image description here

If your goal is to change the colour of an arrow, then redraw the line, add an arrow head marker, and change the colour of the stroke (not the fill).

enter image description here

  • 1
    How I read the question OP already knows that this happens and how not to do it (the image shows an arrow with and without fill). They wanted to know why it happens. Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 9:22
  • @ThomasWeller - you could be right. But it's more a case of yeah, this will happen if you try to fill an open path. I've made a little edit.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 10:02
  • Thanks, and Thomas Weller was right. I wanted to change color with fill and had that problem.
    – hana
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 15:34
  • Operations like "convert to curves" might also be what the OP wants.
    – Yakk
    Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 20:23
  • 2
    @AndreKR - There's a bit a of a bug in the latest Inkscape which makes arrow markers disappear if you convert strokes to paths. (Path>Stroke to Path), with a rather complicated work around required to fix it. So I didn't go into that here. Better to leave strokes as strokes if you are adding arrow markers in Inkscape, so that they are still editable with functional markers.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 20:30

An arrow is just a curve with an arrow head at the end. Other than that, it behaves like any shape. When a shape is filled, the area between its curves is flooded with ink.

Your shape (and others, like the spiral) is special in the way that the curve is not closed. In that case, Inkscape will connect the beginning point of the curve and the end point of the curve with a theoretical (thus invisible) line.

The following comparison might make it clear: you see the curve in black, the theoretical line dotted and the fill in blue.

Theoretical lines


In order to rectify the right hand image, it was necessary to ungroup about five or six times, (I lost track) until only the arrow head and arrow curve were shown as separate entities. At that point, selecting and filling only the head resolved the problem. Once grouped, it did not return.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.