How to Merge Layers in Inkscape

Layers are a great way to keep a file organized especially when dealing with a complex design, like when creating a character. You may find that you have created too many layers and thing are getting hard to keep track of or maybe your finished and would like to combine all the layers into one finished SVG image.

While there is no formal way to merge or combine the layers of a Inkscape file, I will show you how can achieve the same effect will a few simple steps. You will learn how to add, merge, move, hide and delete layers.

How to Merge Layers in Inkscape

In my example I have two layers; one is called Circle and the other is Square. To get both of these objects on the same layer follow these steps:

  1. Create a new layer above all the current layers. To do this, open the layers dialog panel by going to the Layer tab at the top main menu and selecting Layers in the submenu or using the keyboard shortcut ( Shift + Ctrl + L ).
  2. Hit the plus button on the bottom left side to bring up a new dialog box. Name the layer, keep the position ‘Above current’ and hit ok.
  3. Select all of the content that you would like to merge together. You can do this by holding down Shift and clicking on the objects.
  4. Once you have selected all the objects, hit ( Ctrl C ) to copy everything to the clipboard.
  5. Make sure you are on the new layer you created, mine is Merged. In the main menu go to the Edit tab and select Paste In Place or use the shortcut ( Ctrl + Alt + V ).
  6. To confirm that everything was copied to the new layer, click on the eye icon on the left of layer. This will hide everything that is on that layer.

Everything is now on the new layer that you created allowing you to clean up and delete all the layers below that you’ve copied from.

How to Delete a Layer

To delete a layer follow these simple steps:

  1. Open the layers panel by going to the Layer tab at the top and selecting Layers in the submenu dropdown or using the keyboard shortcut ( Shift + Ctrl + L ).
  2. Select the layer you want to delete. You will know you are on the correct layer because it will be highlighted.
  3. Go to the minus button on the bottom left of the dialog box. If you hover over it, it will display ‘Delete current layer’. Click that button to delete your selected layer. Repeat this process for other layers you would like to delete.

How to Move a Layer Up or Down

To move a layer up or down follow these steps:

  1. Open the layers panel by going to the Layer tab at the top and selecting Layers in the submenu dropdown or using the keyboard shortcut ( Shift + Ctrl + L ).
  2. Select the layer you want to move. You will know you are on the correct layer because it will be highlighted.
  3. You have four options in the bottom right of the Layers dialog box to move the selected layer.

The first option will raise the layer to the top of the document no matter the placement within the stack.

The second option will raise the layer only one step above it’s current placement.

The third option will lower the layer only one step below it’s current placement.

The fourth option will lower the layer to the bottom of the document no matter the placement within the stack.

Now you understand how to manipulate layers in Inkscape. Utilizing the Layers dialog box and knowing what the buttons do within it make dealing with layers an easy task.

Please comment below to let me know if you have any questions or suggestions on other topics you would like covered.

Thank you for reading!

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