With the Ellipse tool, the Inkscape artist can draw an ellipse, circle, or arc. As a Live Shape, an ellipse can be converted to any elliptical shape (circle or oval); it can also be converted from an ellipse to a pie segment or arc.

How to Use

When an ellipse is drawn there are three edit handles: top (square), left (square) and right (circle).

The top and left handles control the horizontal and vertical dimensions, respectively.

Dragging the right handle of a whole ellipse will create an arc or segment; this handle then sets the degree of the arc or segment (measured from the rightmost point of the ellipse at its original orientation).

To easily switch between an arc or pie segment, drag the handle inside or outside of the ellipse.  For example, when dragging inside the bounds of the ellipse, the ellipse will be an arc;  when dragging outside of them the arc will be closed and create a pie shape.

These attributes can also be set by the the Tool Controls Bar.  The start and end degrees may be adjusted precisely with respective the spin boxes; the shape type (segment, arc or whole) can be selected from the corresponding buttons.




  1. Hold Ctrl while dragging the arc control to enable snapping at angles as specified in the Inkscape Preferences window.
  2. Hold Shift while drawing to draw the shape with its centre at the cursor's point of origin in order to keep position static during the drawing.