I am a currently trying to create my own desktop theme in the plasma desktop environment. Right now I am currently at a roadblock and I need some advice.

I am working on a svg file with multiple objects in it. This file corresponds with the audio icon in the system tray on the desktop panel. There are four multiple objects in this file; audio-volume-muted, audio-volume-low. audio-volume-medium and audio-volume-high.

I would like to create an uniform sized bounding box for the group of each of these icons. More specifically, I would like to create multiple group bounding boxes around each of these icons that are larger in size then the object within it and uniformed in size across all four icons.

I am not even sure if this is the most efficient way to achieve my goal. My goal is to have a visual pleasing and uniform spacing between objects in the system tray. Any other suggestions to solving this problem would be appreciated.

That said larger group bounding boxes is a common practice that I have seen over and over again in Inkscape. For the life of me I cannot seem to find any tutorials on how to do this.

  • 1
    I don't use inkscape so I don't know if theres a better solution but can't you just group each icon with a transparent rectangle? You can always use that for alignment then delete the rectangles before exporting.
    – Cai
    Jul 4, 2016 at 23:24
  • I'd add a transparent (no fill, no stroke) rectangle for each icon to use as a bounding box. Group the objects together with the rectangle so they all occupy the same dimensions.
    – Juancho
    Jul 5, 2016 at 1:57
  • Do not ask two things in the same question; if you want to know the best solution for your system tray design break your question in two.
    – Luciano
    Jul 5, 2016 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


It's fairly easy to achieve this with invisible retangles, as was suggested by @Cai.

  • Let's assume you have three icons / object groups with different sizes:

  • Create a filled square big enough to cover each of the objects, give it some transparency, duplicate it twice and position each rectangle above (or below) each of your objects, like so:

  • Position the objects within your rectangles until your satisfied with the appearance and padding. Note: You can use the "Align and Distribute" tools (Shift+Ctrl+A) to center each object within its rectangle.

  • Now select each of the background rectangles and set their alpha value to 0.

  • Select each (now invisible) rectangle and its associated object (drag a selection box around them) and group them (Ctrl+G).

Now all your objects have a uniform sized bounding box, like you asked.

  • If you want, you can layout the objects with "Align and Distribute" (Shift+Ctrl+A). For example, centering the objects vertically

and making the horizontal gaps equal

gives you this nicely aligned result:

That's it.

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