Inkscape: Patterns

A pattern is a design. Inkscape comes with several very simple patterns (dots, stripes, checkerboard, etc.) and you can create your own. In fact, anything you draw can become a pattern. Inkscape takes what you have drawn and creates a grid. You can use patterns as a stroke, or a fill, and you can move, rotate, and scale patterns.

When you create a pattern, Inkscape names it "pattern" followed by a number. You can, and perhaps should, change the name. I will show you how. However, it is not as straight forward as it should be and you have to be careful you get it right because you are actually modifying the code used to create your Inkscape image. Also, the name you give must not include spaces.

Apply an Existing  Pattern

Inkscape: Create pattern steps 1 & 2

  1. Select an object.
  2. Click Object > Fill and Stroke or press Shift + Ctrl + F. The Fill and Stroke dialog box opens.

Inkscape: Create pattern steps 3, 4, & 5

  1. Click the Fill tab if you want to apply a pattern to a fill. Click the Stroke Paint tab, if you want to apply a pattern to a stroke.
  2. Click the Pattern icon. The Pattern Fill field appears.
  3. Click the down-arrow next to the Pattern Fill field and then select the fill you want. Inkscape fills the stroke or fill with the pattern you selected.

Create a Pattern

Inkscape: Create your own pattern steps 1, 2, & 3


  1. Draw your pattern.
  2. Select your pattern
  3. Click Object > Pattern > Objects to Pattern or press Alt + I. Inkscape creates your pattern.

Inkscape: Create your own pattern result

  1. Click Object >  Fill and Stroke or Press Shift + Ctrl + F.  The Fill and Stroke Dialog box opens.
  2. Choose either the Fill or the Stroke Paint tab.
  3. Click the Pattern icon. The name of your pattern appears in the pattern list. You may want to rename the pattern. If so, make a note of the name Inkscape gave it.

Name a Pattern


Name a pattern step 1

  1. Click Edit > XML Editor or press Shift + Ctrl + X. The XML Editor opens.

  1. In the box on the left, look for the section that starts with <svg:defs id = …
  2. Click to expand that area.
  3. Locate and click the name Inkscape gave your pattern.
  4. In the box on the right, click Id. The word Id will appear next to the Set button.
  5. In the box below the Set button, type the new name. Do not include any spaces. Do not move to a new line after you type the name.
  6. Click the Set button. Inkscape renames your pattern.

  1. Click Close. Inkscape closes the XML Editor.
  2. Open the Fill and Stroke dialog box. Your pattern will be listed as a pattern with the name you gave it.

Move, Rotate, or Scale a Pattern

After you change a fill or stroke to a pattern, you can use the pattern controls to move, rotate, or scale the pattern. You invoke the pattern controls by pressing the Nodes tool. Inkscape may have placed the pattern controls anywhere in your document. You may have to look for them.

Icon Function
X Move the pattern and/or change the location of the controls.
Square Scale or resize the pattern
Circle Rotate the pattern.


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