Inkscape tip: make arrow head's color match that of its body

I have encountered the problem more than once, and it is a bit annoying to say the least. Basically, when you build a path/arrow in Inkscape, it starts as a black curve by default. You can edit it to put a marker in either or both ends (Click on the curve, then Object->Fill and Stroke->Stroke Style), to make an arrow, for example.

Now, the problem is that if you change the color of the body of the arrow, the head will remain black, as documented, for example, in A Guide to Inkscape, by Tavmjong Bah. Not nice, uh? The solution is given in the same site, and consists on using a plugin. To do so, select: Effects->Modify Path->Color Markers to Match Stroke.

If you are a Debian user, you might encounter a problem: a window pops up saying The module requires PyXML. This has been reported as a bug, and also happens for Ubuntu. The solution is to install the python-xml package, which is not always installed by default when you install Inkscape, it is just "suggested". This means that when you install Inkscape (aptitude install inkscape), aptitude will tell you something like "The package python-xml is recommended, but it is not going to be installed", and will go on happily. If (like me) you ignore the suggestion, you will not have the python-xml package installed, and some extensions, like the above, will not work (however this allows the users that do not want to use the plugins to have a lighter instalation, if they so wish).

18 thoughts on “Inkscape tip: make arrow head's color match that of its body

  1. Hello
    Can you tell me please, in which version of Inkscape the Effects menu apears ? I tried to follow your advice but i can't find the Effects menu. I'm using Inkscape 0.43 for Windows XP
    Thank you,

  2. I can not assure what is the earliest version in which I've seen it. The Etch release of Debian (stable) has Inkscape 0.43 too (DistroWatch seems to say that it's 0.44, but my package manager says 0.43), but I am using Lenny (testing), with Inkscape 0.45.

    Inkscape 0.45 certainly does have a "Effects" menu (between "Text" and "Whiteboard"). I'd swear 0.43/0.44 also had it, but memory might be failing...

    I'm so glad to hear of someone using free software tools on Windows. I hope Inkscape is doing fine for you. Let me strongly encourage you to try Linux. I use Debian, and with it keeping the latest version of the programs installed is a breeze.

  3. Thanks for the tip.

    I liked Inkscape very much exactly because it is quite intuitive and simple. But this trick is just horrible.

    Anyway, your tip helped a lot.

  4. Thanks for the tip !

    Jamie's right, on Debian, form lenny on, you've got to install the python-lxml package, too.

  5. Hey! Thanks for that entry. It was very useful for me since I spent some time trying to figure out how to make an arrow. Now I know.

  6. Thanks for the tip, selecting "Color Markers ..." also worked when selecting multiple arrows of different colors.

  7. Just to align myself with all the others: thank you very much!
    You saved me a lot of time.

  8. Under inkscape 0.47, ubuntu 9.10 karmic: Extensions>Modify path>Colour markers to mark stroke.

  9. This seems to be still a bug in version 0.47. The only difference is that the "Effects" menu is now renames "Extensions" as documented in the Inkscape handbook. Angelos pointed this out earlier, but maybe it is worth stressing this again:

    Extensions -> Modify Path -> Color markers to match stroke

    In direct response to andres: Draw your line with arrow head. Color the line to the color you desire - the arrowhead remains black. Now SELECT your line, THEN choose "Extensions" from the menu, then "Modify Path", finally "Color markers to match stroke" - done.

    Kudos to the Inkscape developers for a great software program!

  10. Thanks for this hint!

    Just never try it if you're using a gradient or something for the arrow. Inkscape will crash and burn. Emergency save won't work.

    And Daniel: nice one ;)

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  12. I'm using Inkscape 0.91 r13725 and the option it is not there. The menu Effects has been changed to Extensions, but in the Modify Path that option does not appear.

    I'm using Ubuntu 15.10.

    Any idea if there is another way to achieve this?

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