Inkscape: Work with Layers

An Inkscape image can consist of many layers. Every image has at least one layer and by default, Inkscape names it Layer 1. Think of layers as a stack of transparent sheets. You can see through each layer to the layers under it until you add opaque color.

You can add layers, delete layers, and change the position of layers. Each layer is independent of all other layers. The layer you are currently working on is called the current layer. You can use the Layer menu or the Layers dialog box to work with layers.

You might be asking, why use layers? Layers enable you to divide your document into manageable groups. Any layer can be visible or not visible. You cannot see the objects that are on a layer that is not visible. Any layer can be locked or unlocked. You cannot make changes to a locked layer.

Open the Layers Dialog Box

Inkscape layers menu

Inkscape Layers dialog box
Layers dialog box
  • Click Layer > Layers or press Shift + Ctrl + L. The Layers dialog box opens.


Create a Layer

The Add Layer option enables you to add a new layer.

Inkscape: Add layer step 1

  1.  Click Layer > Add Layer. The Add Layer dialog box opens.

Inkscape: Add layer steps 2-4

  1. Type the name you want to give the layer in the Name field.
  2. Click the down-arrow next to the Position field and select where you want to place the new layer.
  3.  Click Add. Inkscape creates and names a new layer.

Lock/Unlock a Layer

The Lock/Unlock layer option toggles between locking and unlocking a layer.

  • Click Layer > Lock/Unlock Current Layer. Inkscape locks the layer if it is unlocked; unlocks the layer if it is locked.

Rename a Layer

The Rename layer option enables you to change the name of a layer.

Inkscape: Rename layer step 1

  1. In the Layers dialog box, click the layer you want to rename.

Inkscape: Rename Layer step 2

  1. Click Layer > Rename Layer. The Rename Layer dialog box opens.

Inkscape: Rename layers steps 3 & 4

  1.  Type a new name.
  2.  Click Rename. Inkscape renames the layer.

The Layers Dialog Box

When working with layers, you can also use the icons found in the Layers dialog box.

Icon Function
 Icon: Create Layer Click to create a new layer.
 Icon: Delete Layer Click to delete current layer.
 Icon: Move to top Click to raise current layer up to top.
 Icon: Move layer up Click to raise current layer up one.
 Icon: Move layer down Click to move current layer down one.
 Icon: Move layer to bottom Click to move current layer down to bottom.
 Icon: Lock layer Click to toggle between lock/unlock layer.
 Icon: Hide/View layer Click to toggle between view/hide layer.
 Set opacity Drag the slider to set the opacity.
 Set blend mode Click the down-arrow and then select an option to set the blend mode.
 Rename Double-click then type to rename.



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