Okay, don't ask me why, but for the last however-many-weeks that I have been playing with Inkscape, I have been totally unable to make the "Object/Text to path" function work. It just won't. I follow the tutorials on everybody's websites, but my software just blows raspberries at me.

But today I cracked it - so I'm sharing it, in a step-by-step, "for dummkopfen" style - in case there's anyone out there struggling like me:

Step 1: Draw your line. Use any line you like. For this example, I scrawled a curvy one.

Step 2: Write your text.

Step 3: Select the text. Then press the Shift button, and while holding it down, select the line. See how each object has it's own little dotty box around it?

Step 4: I kept doing what I was told and using the Text-->Put on Path, and it never, ever worked. Ever. So don't do anything inside the red circle!

Step 5: Instead, try the Effects-->Generate from Path-->Pattern along Path.

Step 6: Give it a second to do its funky thing, and then the following window should appear. Tweak it to your own taste, and when you're happy, click OK.

Step 7: Give it a second or two (machines need time to think) and it will place a copy of your text on the line you drew (if you ticked the "Duplicate the pattern before deformation" box like I did above - otherwise it will use the original text).

Step 8: Your deformed text can now be played around with in any way you choose. I made a few duplicates and coloured them. The whole exercise took about 90 seconds.


  1. Thomas on August 17, 2007 at 4:30 AM

    Thanks for the tutorial! Have you tried putting text on the inside of a circle? I saw a tutorial on it, but it involved a lot of object differences and such.

  2. CJ on August 17, 2007 at 8:58 AM

    You're welcome.

    I'll see if I can work out an easy way of doing what you ask. If I do, I'll put it up as a tutorial.

  3. CJ on August 18, 2007 at 11:51 AM


  4. Gerard on November 27, 2007 at 1:16 PM

    Hi CL

    There must be larger dummkopfen
    Or this feature does just sometimes not work.
    I followed your instructing but no succes for me

    I do not have an option Effects in my menu bar. I use version 0.4.3 on linux

    Could you explain in detail how to select the text?
    Is it a cirkel around it with the mouse & left button pressed or i click or the text?

    On your step 3: I believe you mean Shift key? instead off Shift button?

    I have been working on mastering this since I use inkscape and sometimes after 1 evening clicking randomly it works, but i never be able to repreduce

  5. CJ on November 29, 2007 at 12:55 PM

    Hi, Gerard.

    I use Inkscape in Windows XP. Comparing my version to the Linux screenshots, I agree that you don't seem to have an "Effects" option on your menu bar. I've never used the Linux version, so I don't know the answer. Perhaps Inkscape Wiki can help?

    As for selecting the text, go to the black arrow in the top left corner. Click on it. Then left click once on the text. The box with the arrows should appear around it. (Yes, you can also just left-click-and-drag your mouse pointer around the text and then release, to select it. Both give the same result.)

    And yes, shift key is what I was referring to.


  6. sminkal on April 18, 2008 at 9:31 PM

    Thanks for the tutorial. Initially, it wouldn't work for me (spent good hour to figure it out). I tried it with Inkscape version .46 on win XP. Looks like the way to select pattern and the path has been changed since you publish this blog. In stead of sequentially selecting 'Pattern and then the 'path'. It now requires that "The pattern is the top most object in the selection"."


  7. CJ on April 19, 2008 at 8:39 AM

    Thanks for the update.

    I won't remove the tutorial yet because some people might still be using older versions, but the comment is appreciated.

  8. Zoomman on August 15, 2008 at 10:10 PM

    Way to go!

    I'll have to try that. I can make Inkscape stick text to a path as per directions... but it's only upside down. The "shift+R," which is supposed to "reverse" this situation, simply puts a (wait for it) UPPER CASE R into the text.

    Nice to know that while this feature fails for everyone, it fails for everyone in different ways!