I would like to remove (like in cut away) a circular portion from a rectangle, leaving an open object. Tried using the Path > Difference tool, but it results in a closed object.

Attached image (screen shot from Inkscape, edited in MS-Paint so looks bit crude), explains what I am trying to achieve.



3 Answers 3


You probably just have to "convert path to object" (Ctrl-Alt-C) before the substraction.

  • 1
    Perfect ! That did it. However, where is the 'Convert path to object' option in the menu bar ? The only option seems to be 'Convert stroke to path' (which matches with hotkey combination Ctrl-Alt-C)... is that what you meant ?
    – jay
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 19:40
  • For any future readers: thiis creates an outline around the original stroke, meaning that it effectively turns a single line (the original stroke) into 2 lines (the strokes of the new object). This makes it unsuitable for lasercutting or engraving.
    – ElRudi
    Commented Nov 9, 2021 at 10:40

Another option is to set a clip shape on the object:

  1. Draw your object.

  2. Create a shape that overlaps all of your object except the parts you want to cut out.

  3. Make sure that the clip shape is arranged above the object to be clipped. (The clip tool chooses the topmost object to use as the clip shape.)

  4. Select both your object and the clip shape, and then select Object → Clip → Set from the menu.


In the illustration above, the middle image shows the object to be clipped (green rounded rectangle) and the clip shape (translucent square with a hole cut in it, created using Path → Difference from the square and the circle in the image on the left), while the image on the right shows the resulting clipped shape.

You can also use the same method to clip more complex objects, including groups and bitmap images.

  • This method needs a little more thought (& planning). It works beautifully. Let me post it as an answer (with pointer back to your answer), to illustrate how to do it, step-by-step (for people who find it easier when explained visually) ! Thanks again. Voted up.
    – jay
    Commented May 31, 2014 at 5:40
  • 1
    Thanks! I came here 8 years later and this answered my question. However, this is now simpler, thanks to a new option in Inkscape. You only need the original object and another one for the part you want to cut, then select both, and then select ObjectClipSet Inverse Clip from the menu. This way you don't need an inversed cut object.
    – MJV
    Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 8:08

Note that I have already accepted an answer (that was short and simple), but I am adding this answer to explain/elaborate the alternative method proposed by @IlmariKaronen, visually s.t. newbies (like me), find it easier to comprehend. I am certain that this method can be useful and productive in few scenarios... All credits due to him.

Visual representation of the method (placeholder) -- SE imgur hosting

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