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In Inkscape, rounding the corners of a rectangle is easy - you select the object, press F4 (rectangle tool), and drag the circular nodes.

How do you do that for more complex shapes?

polygon, and its rounded equivalent

"Dynamic offset" is nearly the right thing, but it doesn't round the insides of a concave polygon.

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9 Answers 9

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This seems to be a weak point with Inkscape, to not have a simple way to do this. The best way to deal with this I've found so far is:

  1. Make several rounded-corner rectangles, using the desired final corner radius
  2. Butt them up against each other to make the overall final shape, not minding the spots where corners don't meet due to roundness,
  3. Path-union them into one path
  4. Fix the extraneous notches by deleting their nodes.

Luckily someone has described this technique online, with illlustrations (scroll down a bit) http://www.inkscapeforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=880

I hope there's a path-editing tool that can just convert a path the way you (and fifty thousand other Inkscape users) want, somewhere out there. If not, this would make a great weekend coding project.

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Another makeshift solution with issues, but which also works for non-rectangular shapes:

  1. Apply Dynamic Offset to your object.
  2. Convert Object to Path.
  3. Add Nodes (under Extensions → Modify Path). This is optional but will most probably improve your results drastically. The more the merrier.
  4. Apply a dynamical inset (i.e., negative Dynamical Offset) to your object.
  5. If desired, convert Object to Path once more and Simplify.
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see also inkscape.org/doc/advanced/tutorial-advanced.html -- inset / offset are ctrl+( and ctrl+), dynamic offset is ctrl+J to add a draggable handle –  Jason S Dec 2 '14 at 16:10
  1. Select the rectangle or square
  2. Select the nodes option
  3. On the right hand corner, you will see a round node instead of a square node. Drag down the node until you get the rounded corner you want.
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awesome and dead simple! –  SleepyCod Feb 13 at 15:46

Another solution to this problem is to use the path division tool. The advantage here is that the radii can be explicitly set as a number

  1. Create the rectangle
  2. Create a circle with the desired radius
  3. Align the circle into the corner of the rectangle
  4. Select the rectangle and the circle, and use Path-> Division
  5. Delete the unwanted corner piece
  6. Do a Path-> Union between the new circle and the original rectangle
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I've had success with just using Bezier curves. E.g. I would draw the OP's L shape like


(very rough ASCII art!) i.e. with a diagonal line where the rounded corner should be, and then adjust the Bezier control points for the two line join points.

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Since there is no clean solution, let's mention another one, using GIMP!

1- Make a copy of only this object in another Inkscape instance (in case you have other objects)

2- Export to bitmap (a png file)

3- Open the png with GIMP, select the shape by "Select by Color Tool"

3- Select -> Feather -> by R pixels (the radius)

4- Color the selection and save/export to png again

5- Open the modified png file with Inkscape and use "Trace Bitmap" tool to get a rounded path (since the shape should be single-colored, it's easy and probably clean)

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For a purely cosmetic effect (that is, you don't end up with a rounded path) you could try applying the Filters > Blurs > Cross-smooth effect. Then open the Filter Editor and set the Standard Deviation Effect Parameter to about 1.0.

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I have used another method. Once i got used to it, and learned how to use the snapping options, I find that I could work pretty fast. This works best with paths composed by orthogonal lines that are parallel to the axis.

  1. Subtract a circle having the radius you want from a square to create a 'cutter' shape. Put the centre of the circle on one of the square corners and size the square as the circle diametre. This ensures that the centre of your cutter will be aligned with the arc edges:
    enter image description here
  2. Duplicate your cutter to be able to reuse it and align it put it on the corner that you want to round. Activate snapping of centres of objects and cusp nodes to align the cutter exactly where you want. enter image description here
  3. If necessary, rotate the cutter along its centre to align the arc with the edges of the underlying path
  4. Select the original path and the cutter and do a boolean difference, if your corner is convex, a boolean union if it is concave. Your corner is now rounded!
  5. Duplicate the cutter and repeat for all the corners you wish.
  6. If your initial shape was open, the boolean operation will have closed it. You may have to reopen it att he end of the process.
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This can be achieved using the Fillet/Chamfer path effect (currently only available in the developer version 0.91+devel, which can be found here).

Here's how you use it:

  1. Select the path that you want to modify and then open the path effects tab under Path > Path Effects....

    Unmodified path

  2. Add a new effect in the path effects window and select Fillet/Chamfer.

    enter image description here

  3. Choose a radius that you want to apply to the corners of the path, and press the Fillet button.

    The filleted path

  4. If you only want to round some of the corners, tick the Change only selected nodes box and select the nodes that you want to change in path edit mode before clicking the Fillet button.

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