How do I select an object that's below another object in Inkscape?


A common problem in Inkscape is that you want to select an object but another object always gets in the way because it completely obstructs the background object or because the two are too close together.

Well Inkscape has the alt+click for this case. Unfortunately it about only works on Windows.

There are solutions for Linux and Mac OS but at least for me nothing works. I decided to share my workaround here in a Q&A format, mainly because the Inkscape people broke their wiki (yeah, mail to the list to get an account for just one change, as if anybody would) but also because then others can share their maybe better solutions, too.

12/7/2012 3:20:00 PM

Accepted Answer

Indeed Alt-click in often used by the Window Manager.

So as a workaround, I often use one of these method :

1) The method described by Christian (move, select, undo)

2) Depending on the objects size, selecting with a zone, like :

select by zone

3) Or the one I use the most, it's "Tab" to go through the objects. This may seem long & difficult, but as

  • Objects are often created in order, so selecting the object in front then "Tab" often works
  • I use Groups a lot, so, for the figure above, 1) select both objects 2) Press Ctrl-G to group them 3) Double click on the group 4) Press Tab once or twice 5) Press Ctrl-Backspace to get out of the group.

Groups are so useful, than I don't struggle anymore to select objects - I'm tabbing.

4) New: since Inkscape 0.91, it seems there is a new method to select objects with Alt+Mouse, as stated in the changelog :

It is now easier to select items which are not at the top of the Z-order: use Alt+mouse wheel scroll to cycle through all items that are stacked on top of each other at the location of the mouse pointer (use Shift+Alt+mouse wheel scroll to add to the existing selection). At present, groups are not honoured, i.e., only individual items within groups are considered.

2/25/2015 4:38:00 PM