Managing the Workspace

Document Properties Dialog

By default, Inkscape creates documents in a size that fits your operating system language (that is, in the US, you get a different default document than in Germany, for example). To change the page size, click File ‣ Document Properties… (or click on the next to last icon on the commands bar, which looks like image0, or use the Shift + Ctrl + D keyboard shortcut). In the section Page Size on the Page tab, select or define the size you wish.


The default measurement unit for page size can be changed in the Page Size section of the same Page tab.

The large rectangular line that you see on the canvas, in a new blank document, is the page border. If you compare the page border to the rulers, you can see that it represents the page size. Note that the page border is never seen in exported or saved files.

Most of the time, everything that you want to show up in your finished drawing, must be inside this border. Elements placed outside of the page border usually can’t be seen when you share your drawing, and can be thought of as drafts, experiments or available resources.

If you do not want to see the page border while you’re working, you can uncheck the option Show page border in the Page tab to hide it. You can also configure the page shadow and color of that shadow, in that section, if you like.

In Inkscape, the canvas appears white. Even though it does not use the traditional checkerboard pattern to indicate transparency (by default), it really is transparent. If you’d like to see a checkerboard pattern for transparency, please check the Checkerboard background option in the section Background on the Page tab.

When a drawing is exported to a PNG format, areas on the page where there is no object will be transparent. You can change this by putting an opaque object behind your drawing (usually a rectangle, the same size as the page).

Another way to change this is by clicking on the color bar in the Background section of the Page tab, and setting the A slider (“A” for Alpha) to 255, or all the way to the right. You can also change the color, if you like. Note that this setting only affects how the image looks in Inkscape or when you export to PNG.


Options in ‘View’ Menu

Many people use Inkscape with no scrollbars and no snapping. Any unneeded bars can be hidden in the menu View ‣ Show/Hide. The canvas can be moved using the middle mouse button.