First of all, I use Inkscape for this. I am also not a graphic designer by trade.

Anyway, here's the deal:

Asymmetrical arrow symbol which I want to make symmetrical

As you can see, the nodes aren't lined up properly to make the arrow symmetrical. I only need the left-most node and the right-most nodes to line up with each other and be equally far from the arrow's point.

I really can't figure this one out, so any help is appreciated!

4 Answers 4


You can use clones...

Clone arrow example

Create one side (e.g. here we've created the right side) and ensure the side has a perfectly vertical edge by using the "Align and Distribute Objects" dialog to align the nodes). Then create a clone of that side (Edit > Clone > Create Clone), flip the clone horizontally, and align the two objects so their vertical edges touch (again, using the Align and Distribute Objects dialog). Now you can go wild with re-shaping your arrow, and symmetry will be automatically maintained.

EDIT: In some cases, Inkscape will (somewhat incorrectly) render adjacent objects (like these two arrow halves) with a tiny sliver of empty space between them. I find that this rendering error usually disappears when exporting to PNG. A couple ways to work around it though, if needed: (1) add a minuscule stroke to the source object; or (2) once you are satisfied with the shape of the arrow, convert the clone into a path using Edit > Clone > Unlink Clone, then select both sides and choose Path > Union.

  • 1
    Sean, that was very helpful, but when I tried what you described a got a thin gap in the "fill", when I tried to fill the arrow with a colour. See gammon.com.au/images/Inkscape_problem1.png Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 21:52
  • I don't know Inkscape, but when I do the equivalent of this in Illustrator, I merge the two into one shape using what Illustrator calls pathfinder. I'm sure Inkscape has an equivalent (but I don't know what it would be called) Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 16:24
  • That didn't seem to work (the merged one still had the thin gap, plus you lose the benefit of being able to tweak one side and have the other be an identical (mirror) copy). What seemed to work better was to select the nodes on the boundary and adjust them slightly so that they overlapped completely. It looks like the "align and distribute" leaves a slight gap. ... Aha! The gap is the width of the stroke. If you make the stroke width zero, then align them, the gap looks like it disappears (almost anyway). Then you can increase the stroke again. Commented Oct 27, 2015 at 21:59

Two options:

  1. When you select a node, you can manually enter the coordinates.

    1. Select either of the two outer nodes and make its Y coordinate match the other one’s
    2. Make its X coordinate such that the distance matches (you have to do the calculations yourself).
  2. Open the align and distribute objects dialogue.

    1. Select both nodes and the tip of your arrow and align selected nodes to a common vertical line. Then select the rightmost node and hit Shift + until its in position and remember the number of hits. Do the same thing with the leftmost node and the other direction. (Repeat without Shift to fine-adjust, if desired.)

    2. Select both outer nodes and then align selected nodes to a common horizontal line.


enter image description here

Select 'polygon' and create a triangle.

  1. Select it, make it into a path (button above 150), choose the upper two corners, choose 'add node' (most left button in second tool bar).
  2. Pick that node, hold Ctrl, and pull the node down.
  3. Create a rectangle.
  4. Align it with the peak (selection, horizontal center). Merge both paths into one.

I do not use Inkscape, but there's several ways to look at that problem.

First of all, if you work with basic shapes, like on your image, you could create a triangle shape and a rectangle then move your points equally in space use shift and arrows.

The other way of doing this, is using anchor points, for that I would always recommend to work with clone images and then alignment and distribution. You should display and position your points in the working space, align it like you want and then clone / reverse / mirror it and link it (or use pathfinder if using illustrator) like Sean Madsen told you.

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