I had a path that I drew, pushed simplify a bunch of times, and it simplified it to the point that there are sections that are only two nodes, much like a figure 8 with a node on the top and bottom, the fill shading the top and bottom loops. I really like how it turned out!

I'd like it to look the same as it does, but this self-intersecting path is going to cause problems in other programs I'm likely to use. Is there a way to get it to split up the vector and add nodes as necessary for all these "figure 8" shapes, so it turns the top and bottom into two separate shapes?

  • Why would it cause problems? I do this kind of stuff across atleast 17 programs and aside from font editors it has not been a problem before. But yeah sure you can insert points without changing the shape.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 25 at 22:56
  • I'm aware I can manually add points, split the shape, etc., but it's not one "figure 8", it's A LOT. It's starting as a graphic design logo but I do a lot of work with CNC lasers and routers, and it will cause problems on them. It seems like there should be a few commands that can do this in a few clicks, but I'll do it manually if I have to. Commented Jun 25 at 22:59
  • I just tested this with a epilog and a ruida controller laser, nope no problem. Also tested this in mastercam seems to work.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 26 at 5:06
  • Im not saying it can not be a problem it certainly is a problem if you need to do nesting for example. But still thats not really a graphic design issue. Having a proper CAD can help you a lot here though.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jun 26 at 6:44

2 Answers 2


You have something like this (maybe rotated 90 degrees or not)

enter image description here

Select it and click twice with the shape builder tool to make it 2 separate shapes:

enter image description here

The resulted shapes are these:

enter image description here

Inkscape's shape builder is far from perfect. The generated shapes have tens of nodes. Applying Path > Simplify fortunately removes most of them without changing the curves. The shapes after applying Path > Simplify:

enter image description here Added later: The shape builder has got improvements. In recent Inkscape version 1.3.2 the number of new nodes stays low. See comments below!

Another way is to split the path twice in the crossing and rejoin, but it needs tricky shuffling with the nodes and you have already said it's too much.

The 3rd way is to select the path and apply Path > Fracture. The result contains again tens of nodes, but Path > Simplify reduces them to a few.

The 4th way This was not asked, but I would draw the halves from the start like this (2 nodes, total 3 touches with the pen)

enter image description here

A duplicate which is flipped horizontally and vertically is a perfect mate:

enter image description here

  • The current stable version of Inkscape (1.3.2) seems to have improved the shape builder functionality. When I try this with the shape builder, there is only one extra node added, which can be easily selected and deleted.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Jun 27 at 9:52
  • Thanks, that's a real improvement!
    – user736722
    Commented Jun 27 at 10:14

Here is a slightly faster way to batch separate a large numbers of objects all at in one go.

  1. Select all your eight-shapes
  2. Go to Path > Union
  3. Go to Path > Break Apart

Now you should have an arbitrary number of half-eights double that of the number of original shapes you selected before.

Beware that while this doesn't meaningfully alter the shapes, it may add some stray nodes here and there.

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