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How To Curve Text in Inkscape

September 26, 2017 2 Comments

Curving text is an essential part of creating interesting and professional looking designs. In this tutorial, you will learn the proper way to do this in Inkscape. Go through this guide, and soon you'll be curving text into any shape you can envision.

The technique you are about to learn is the way I curve all my text. I've seen various methods in other tutorials. None of them are as flexible and expressive as the following technique. With this method you can create any style curve you want - simple 'U' curves, wavy curves, circular curves - anything.

If you do not have Inkscape installed on your machine, go to their website ( and download it from there. I do not recommend downloading it from any other place. Make sure you get the latest version by always using the official site.

Open up Inkscape, and start a brand new file.


1. Create a starting point for the guideline.

  • Select the Bezier Curve Tool. You can press the button on the left toolbar, or you can press Shift+F6.

  • Click once on the canvas to create the starting point for the guideline. We are going to be making a V-shaped, three node bezier curve. That sounds kind of fancy, but it's only three clicks. Start with the first one.
  • Click two more times and create two more nodes for the guideline. You are creating the starting point for how your curve is going to look. We will be tweaking it from here to get exactly the kind of curve you want.
  • Press Enter to finish making the bezier curve.

Quick Tip
If your guideline is filled in and it looks more like a triangle than a line, you need to get rid of the "fill color". You can do this from the "Text and Font" tab. An easy way to open this tab is by going to the extreme bottom-left of the window and clicking on the colored box to the right of the word "Font".

2. Turn the guideline into a smooth curve.

  • Activate the Edit Nodes Tool. You can press the button on the left menu, or you can press F2. This will make the nodes in your guideline visible. You will see them represented by tiny, grey diamonds.

  • Click on the middle node of the bezier curve.  It will turn a different color when you click on it.

  • Make it a smooth curve. You can press the button for this, found in the ribbon of buttons along the top of the window. Or, use the hotkey and press Shift+S.

3. Add your text to the canvas. 

  • Select the Text Tool. The button for this is on the left toolbar menu, or you can press F8.

  • Add text to your canvas. Click on your canvas and enter in the text that you want to curve.

4. Connect the text to the guideline.

  •  Activate the Select Tool. Press the menu button or press F1.

  • Select both your text and your guideline. Select both the text and the guideline by holding down Shift and clicking on each one.  Or, you can click-and-drag a box around both of them.

  • Put the text onto the guideline. Go to Text > Put On Path.

5. Make the text fit the curve end to endWe need to fill out the curve. It should go from the left edge of the curve all the way to the right edge. To do this, we will increase the font size of the text until it fills the curve up.

  • Open the Text and Font Properties tab. You can press the button on the top toolbar ribbon, or you can press Shift+Ctrl+T.

  • Change the font size until your text fits the curve. Change the font size by editing the value in the "Font Size" textbox. Then press the "Apply" button a few inches below that.

  • Keep changing the size until you're happy with how it looks.

Quick Tip
Now is the right time to also change the font that your text is using. Select the font you desire from the list and click the Apply button.

6. Fine-tune the curve. 

  • Activate the Select Tool. Press the menu button or press F1.

  • Click outside of the canvas to de-select both the text and the guideline.
  • Click the text to select it. Make sure the guideline is not selected.
  • Drag your text away from the guideline. This gives visual separation and will help make it easier to fine-tune the curve.

Quick Tip
Sometimes there is a bug in Inkscape when dragging the text away. You may see the text snap back to where it was. If that occurs, no sweat, drag it away again and it should stick the second time around.

  • Activate the Edit Node tool from the left toolbar, or press F2.

  • Click on the guideline to select it. You should see the nodes in your guideline become visible again. They appear as grey diamonds.
  • You can move the nodes around by clicking and dragging on them. Experiment moving around the three nodes.
  • When the middle node is actively selected, you will also see two other handles that appear to each side of the node. They will be the blue lines you see emanating from the node. Experiment with moving these around and get a feel for how they change the shape of your curve.

Quick Tip
While fine-tuning the curve, you may see that letters on the end of your curve vanish into thin air. Do not worry. This happens because the text is running over the edge of your curve. To fix it, make your curve wider by dragging out the far-left or far-right nodes. You could also decrease the font size of your text.

7. Finalize the curve. When you have your curve looking how you want it, you are almost done. A few more keystrokes and you'll be finished.

  • Activate the Select Tool. Press the menu button or press F1.

  • Click on the text to select it.
  • Convert the text element into a Path. You can do this by pressing Shift+Ctrl+C. If you're not into hotkeys, you can also do this from the very top menu bar by selecting Path > Object To Path. Doing this takes your text and transforms it into a bunch of nodes. Without this, your text will not be in a cuttable state.
  • Ungroup the path. Press Shift+Ctrl+G to do this. Or, you can go to the very top menu bar and click on Object > Ungroup.
  • Regroup the path to get rid of overlapping nodes. Press Shift+Ctrl+= (the button for the equals sign) to do this. There is no menu option available to this, you can only use this hotkey. This is a very important step though. It will remove any overlapping nodes in your letters. If you have overlapping nodes, your cut will not go as planned.

8. Delete the guideline.

  • With the Select Tool still activated, click on the guideline to select it.
  • Delete the guideline from the canvas by pressing the Delete key on your keyboard. You don't need it anymore.

That's it. You are done!  Your curved text is ready to be cut.

This process isn't hard at all once you get used to it. Practice doing it a few times, and it will become second nature. You'll be able to curve text in under 30 seconds when you are proficient.

You are only limited by your imagination.  Try out making a "frown" shaped curve (an upside down U-shape), or a wavy curve that has several up's and down's on it. There aren't many limitations to the kinds of shapes you can create for your text to follow.

Go forth and curve text!

2 Responses

Deny Suhendra,
Deny Suhendra,

September 22, 2020

Thank You for the knowledge !


December 17, 2019


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