Boolean Operations

The Boolean Operations work on paths, or they try to convert the selected objects to paths before they compute the result. All these operations need at least 2 convertible objects or paths, which will be combined following specific rules.

Union icon Union
Keeps the common outline of all selected paths.
Difference icon Difference
Subtracts one path from another one.
Intersection icon Intersection
Only keeps those parts that are covered by all selected paths.
Exclusion icon Exclusion
Keeps those parts which are covered by an odd number of paths (if you have two objects, this is where the objects do not overlap).
Division icon Division
The path below is cut into pieces by the path above.
Cut path icon Cut Path
Creates as many paths as there are path intersections between the two paths.
Combine icon Combine
Keeps all parts, and combines them into a single object.
Break apart icon Break Apart
If a path consists of a number of independent parts (subpaths), this will create that number of separate objects.

To use these operations, select the two (or more) objects, and then select the option of your choice in the Path menu. The result will immediately appear on the canvas - if it doesn’t, read the error message that will appear in the status bar, at the bottom of the Inkscape window, to find out about the reason for the failure.


The stacking order of the object matters, so check that the bottom object is the one you want to apply the operation to. To know how each operation will apply, look at the icons: the circle is always on top of the square.

Two objects about to be unioned

Two objects about to be unioned

The result of unioning the triangle and the square

Unioning a triangle and a square gives a house.

The rectangle will become the door opening.

The rectangle will become the door opening.

The door is open

Difference between a rectangle and a house creates an opening for the door.

Two overlapping ellipses

Two overlapping ellipses

Intersection between the two ellipses

Intersection between the two ellipses

Exclusion between the two ellipses

Exclusion between the two ellipses.

Ellipse with a path on top

Someone has drawn a path with the pencil tool (with the setting of Shape: Ellipse) on the orange ellipse.

Ellipse divided by the path


The two parts of the ellipse have been combined into a single path  (with subpaths)

Move apart and combine (to form a single path composed of two subpaths).

Each subpath has become a single path after Break Apart.

Break Apart separates all subpaths into independent objects.