I am new to Inkscape. I want to draw simple straight lines horizontally & vertically but cannot figure out how to give them a stroke. They simply disappear. Wasted enough time trying to figure it out on my own.

  • 2
    Try pressing "shift + ctrl + f" this should bring up the fill and stroke menu. There are seperate tabs for Fill and Stroke options from there.
    – Lex
    May 4, 2015 at 9:45
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    – Vincent
    May 4, 2015 at 10:13
  • Your View -> Display Mode may be set to "outline". This could explain your symptoms.
    – user19660
    May 5, 2015 at 10:16
  • 2
    @Vincent This may be a basic question but it is still a good question; I am a programmer, not a designer, and needed to find out quickly how to use Inkscape to design an icon - I found this question and the answers which explained clearly and concisely how to do it. It is not obvious. Please remember that the audience of SE sites is not (as far as I know) intended to be just for experts.
    – drkvogel
    Nov 5, 2019 at 18:34
  • @drkvogel I am sorry for sounding defensive, but that comment was posted a) four and a half years ago b) based on consensus and policy that has become obsolete in the meantime and c) during my tenure as a moderator here, while I saw and reviewed loads of these questions. If you think it's a good question, then upvote it, answer it and flag my obsolete comment for deletion rather than criticising past me. Thank you.
    – Vincent
    Nov 5, 2019 at 22:37

3 Answers 3


Select the pen tool (Shift+F6) Anywhere on the canvas do this:

  1. Left Click (start of line)
  2. Move mouse (to location of end of line)
  3. Left Click (to add a node)
  4. Right Click (to end path)

If you cannot see a line you might have the stroke color set to white. There is color palette along the bottom of the window – Shift+Left Click to select a stroke color. If you do not see color you may be in Outline Mode if so switch to normal (View – Display Mode).

If you want the line to be straight horizontal or vertical:

  1. Press and hold Ctrl
  2. Left Click (start of line)
  3. Move mouse (to location of end of line)
  4. Left Click (to add a node)
  5. Right Click (to end path)
  6. Release Ctrl

In Inkscape, a line doesn't really have a concept of a fill vs stroke. The line itself is the stroke. Changing its stroke color changes the whole line, because the whole thing is just stroke. Changing it's fill does nothing.

It sounds like what you are trying to do is draw a line and create the outside edges of it like a border. To do this, you need to convert the stroke to a path (Path > Stroke to Path). This will change your stroke so that it's actually a shape (so if you drew one single stroke, it would become a long rectangle).

Now you cam use the Fill and Strokes tool (Shift + Ctrl + P) to change the stroke and fill to different colors. Be sure to look at the stroke Width on the Stroke Style tab as the default width might be very wide compared to the line.


Try pressing "shift + ctrl + f" this should bring up the fill and stroke menu. There are seperate tabs for Fill and Stroke options from there. – Lex May 4 '15 at 9:45

I copy this note of Lex because I think it solves the "They simply disappear" fenomenon.

Somehow a fresh installation of Inkscape tends to "draw" objects with no fill and no border -- disappearing rectangles was my experiece with version 0.92.x. "shift + ctrl + f" allows to set the parameters. Menu Object-> Objects might help to select the invisible objects.

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