Stars and Polygons

Star Tool Icon Shift + F9 or *

The Star/Polygon tool is perhaps the most exciting tool for beginners, and sets Inkscape apart from other vector editing software! It offers numerous creative options which can be edited on the canvas with ease.

As with the other geometric shape tools, drag the mouse on the canvas using a similar process as dragging a selection box. The default star, which has 5 points, will be displayed with its 2 diamond-shaped handles, as soon as the mouse button is released.

If you need your star rotated in a specific angle, you can hold down Ctrl while drawing it. This will make it ‘snap’ in 15° steps. If you drag the mouse downwards, the tip where the mouse cursor is will be positioned exactly at 6 o’clock (or south).

The handle that is situated in the crease between two of the star’s tips changes the inner diameter. The other handle changes the length of the star’s tips.

When you press Ctrl while dragging the star’s handles, you can change the tips’ length and the inner radius without also rotating or twisting the star.

The field labelled Spoke Ratio on the tool controls bar will also work without any turning or twisting the star. You can use the up and down arrows beside the field to change the number there, too. Even holding the mouse cursor above the field and using the scroll wheel will work.

Function of the Star tools' handles

The handle in the crease between two tips lets you make changes to the inner diameter of the star. Without holding down Ctrl, it can be difficult to avoid twisting the star. The other handle is used to change the length of the tips.

If you prefer to draw a polygon, click the icon on the control bar, which is shown below.

Icon for Polygon Mode

Handle in polygon mode (left) and twisting a star (right)

In Polygon mode, the shape only has a single handle: This handle enlarges or shrinks the shape. The star can be twisted, if you do not hold the Ctrl key.

With these few options, it’s already possible to create many different shapes, starting from a single star. But there are even more options! To add more tips to a star or more sides to a polygon, either enter the number of tips you want, in the field Corners in the tool controls bar or click on the up/down arrows right beside it.

To round the tips of a star or the corners of a polygon, you can hold down Shift while dragging any of the handles. The farther you drag them, the more rounding you will get (drag the mouse horizontally for best results). Or as before, either use the arrows next to the field Rounded in the tool controls bar, or change its value by entering a new one.

When you press Alt while dragging a handle, this will add some randomness to the star or polygon. Or as before, use the number field with the arrows to change the value for Randomized. A star’s tips will then all be of different length, and a polygon will look distorted.

Stars with different options

Adding a slight rounding. Adding a little bit of randomness.

Stars with different options

The Star tool’s tool controls bar. The right-most icon resets to default values. Very useful when you don’t know how to get back!

Stars with different settings

Can you draw these stars?