I have a .svg file with many different paths. I know I can select all black parts by using Ctrl + F and searching in the style attribute.

I combined all black paths to one. But I want to remove all black parts from the image. Making them transparent doesn't work, because e.g. the a of waten is filled with red behind the black dot.

Is there a way to achieve this without selecting each single path and use the Path > Difference (Ctrl + -) function?


Inkscape Screenshot

  • @BartArondson Ctrl on English keyboards, thanks ;-)
    – kelunik
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


Sadly, in inkscape, there is no easy way to apply a single boolean operation over a group of objects. There is an open feature request for this in the inkscape bug tracker (https://bugs.launchpad.net/inkscape/+bug/171379)

However, you may be able to fudge this using clipping to get the result that you want.

In the following drawing, the 4 blue circles are in a group, The 4 black circles are one path. (i tried to make an example similar, concept wise, to yours.) Note also that the background of my document is grey.


Next, draw a path that covers the whole drawing (mine is magenta), and send it below (in the z-order) the black circles path:

enter image description here

Next, select the magenta path, and the black circles path, and do a Path > Difference on those:

enter image description here

Now select the magenta path, and the group with the blue circles in it, and do a Object > Clip > Set

enter image description here

Note, however, that clipping is non-destructive. It does not actually remove anything from the document like a Boolean Operation like Difference. I have a more in-depth writeup about clipping in this article -- http://inkscapetutorials.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/inkscape-faq-how-do-i-crop-in-inkscape/#clipping

  • Hope it helped!
    – ryanlerch
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 13:37
  • Just wanted to say that you can perform multiple path operations at once in Inkscape with this extension, though it may be slow for larger files :) Useful for Illustrator converts github.com/Moini/inkscape-extensions-multi-bool
    – johnp
    Commented May 23, 2016 at 20:43

If code doesn't intimidate you too much, you could also open your svg in a text editor like sublime and use the find tool to find any path tags with a black color attribute.

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