How to Merge and Cut Objects in Inkscape – Bolean Operation

We can combine 2 or more objects, cut and object or make an objects from intersection in inkscape using boolean operations. The command is available on Path menu.
There are eight Commands available:

  • Union (Ctrl++)
  • Difference (Ctrl+-)
  • Intersection (Ctrl+*)
  • Exclusion (Ctrl+^)
  • Division (Ctrl+/)
  • Cut Path (Ctrl+Alt+/)
  • Combine (Ctrl+K)
  • Break Apart (Shift+Ctrl+K)

1. boolean operation commands in inkscape

  1. Union

Union is a feature in inkscape that let us combine 2 or more objects in inkscape. This feature actually help a lot and make your work faster especially when creating objects.

You have to select all objects that need to be combined first, then click Path menu and select Union or you can simply press Ctrl++


Combining 2 objects:

2. combining 2 objects in inkscape using union

Combining more than 2 objects:

3. combining 3 objects in inkscape

Note: you cannot combine grouped objects (grouped using Group command from Object Menu or Ctrl+G) with regular object(s).

  1. Difference

This feature in inkscape let us cut an object with another object. Difference is a “bottom minus top” operation, which means the bottom object will stay and the top object will disappear after the cut process done.

To perform Difference or cutting an object, you will have to select 2 object first. Make sure cut object will be in the bottom and the cutter object will be in the top.

4. how to cut an object in inkscape

Difference still work even if the bottom object cover entirely the top object.

5. cut an object which fully covered from the bottom


  • You cannot cut grouped object.
  • You cannot perform Difference if the selected object are more than 2 objects.
  1. Intersection

We can create an object from overlapped area. To perform Intersect, we need 2 objects. This feature often used if you works in a framed illustration.

Intersection example:

6. intersect function ini inkscape

Intersect used a lot to fit an image to a frame or background perfectly.

7. how to use intersect in inkscape

  1. Exclusion

Exclusion is a feature which let us exclude and intersected area of two or more objects. The both of selected objects will remain there, none of them will be deleted but the intersected area are automatically deleted. You can separate the both object after doing this command.

8. exclusion feature in inkscape

Exclusion with multiple object:

9. exclusion of multiple object in inkscape

  1. Division

This feature lets us to cut an object and keep the overlapped area. Division is more like a combination between Difference and intersection. Select the objects need then press Ctrl+/ to perform Division.

10. how to use division in inkscape

  1. Cut Path

Cut Path is almost the same with Division, the difference is that the top only cuts the bottom object’s stroke and removes any fill (this is convenient for cutting fill-less strokes into pieces). To perform Cut Path the objects need to have a stroke because the main function is to cut the stroke. You can change the stroke into a path later by pressing Ctrl+Alt+C (Path > Stroke to Path).

11. how cut path works in inkscape

  1. Combine

Combine is very similar to Exclusion. The difference is that Combine took the top object’s color and Exclusion adds extra nodes where the original paths intersect.

Here is a combined objects:

12. how to use combine in inkscape

Exclusion has extra nodes where the original paths intersect.

13. editable corener node from exclusion in inkscape

Nodes on Combine (has no nodes in the intersected area):

14. node on combined objects in inkscape

  1. Break Apart

Break Apart breaks objects that connecting each other as the result of Exclusion and Combine so you can use them partially. There is a different result of Break Apart between Exclusion and Combine. Breaks Apart from Exclusion is actually break each objects apart:

15. breaks apart from exclution objects

Break Apart from Combine will make both objects in their full form if they are separated. Here they are:

16. break apart from combine in inkscape

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