Creating a multipage poster in Inkscape 1.2

Inkscape 1.2 main view

Inkscape 1.2 is equipped with some great improvements. Not only is there the unified object-layer view and the new icon set, the dark theme and the advanced export to different file formats… there finally is multipage support in Inkscape. The feature is currently still in its infancy and will probably go through many improvements in the future. But there’s a start. And that’s wonderful! Keep in mind though that this is currently a nightly build of Inkscape. Things may look differently if the final version comes out.

In this small walkthrough, we’ll use this feature to create a multipage poster with overlapping borders. My printer only supports A4 page format, and pages typically have an edge all around of a few millimeters. What we’ll do, is create 4 pages, and have them overlap 1 cm, allowing us to print these pages and then cut them together.

Step 1: Add the pages

In the left toolbar, you might have noticed there’s a new icon. It’s so small you’d easily look over it… When you click on this, the context menu for pages appears.

The first icon in the toolbar, is the icon to add a page. Clicking on this icon, will reveal the multipage features.

Multipage context menu with only 1 page…
Multipage context menu with multiple pages…

Click the left icon 3 times, so you’ll end up with 4 pages, one next to the other. While in the multipage mode, you can drag pages to position them towards each other. It’s not possible to do this accurately though. So just leave the pages where they are… it doesn’t really matter for now.

At this moment, the toolbar doesn’t have fields to enter size and location of a page. But I’m quite sure this will be implemented in the future. So for the next step, let’s put on our geeky had… we’ll dive into the weeds of the SVG lingo!

At this moment, it most certainly is possible to enter the size of a page (just type the value in the pulldown box… e.g. “10cm x 20 cm”). For positioning the pages, you can snap to guides…

Step 2: Position the pages along guides

First thing you’ll need to do, is make sure snapping is enabled, and (flip the snap menu to advanced mode, to verify you have both “snap to page borders” and “snap to guides” checked. You can find the snap popout in the top right of your page…

Next, I’m going to add 4 guides. The easiest way to create a guide, is to drag it out of the rulers. So, I’m dragging 2 guides out of the left ruler and eyeballing it somewhere near the left and right border of the page. Next, I’m dragging 2 horizontal guides out of the top ruler and eyeballing it a bit above and a bit below the bottom of my first page.

To accurately position the guides, double click on them. They will turn red and a popup appears. This is where I’ll position them:

  • vertical 1: just drag it to the left bottom of the first page. It will snap to (0,0). Easy peasy.
  • vertical 2: double click it and set X to 200 mm
  • horizontal 1: double click it and set Y to 287mm
  • horizontal 2: should be the bottom of the lower page… so that’s 2 page heights down, and then 10mm back up. That’s too much math for my lazy head. So I’ll double click on the ruler and enter “2*297-10” in the Y field. Inkscape will solve it for me.

Ah… right… currently you can’t double click on guides when you’re in multipage menu. So pick the Select tool (the first icon) to double click on the rulers. (maybe this could be improved)

The last step, is to again move to your page tool, and drag the pages to the right positions. Sometimes it will be a bit fiddling, since it snaps to the page corners and the guides. But once you’re done, you’re off to the tracks!

If you want to get rid of the guides, you can just hover over them (they become red) and then press delete. But again, you’ll have to be out of the multipage editor tool for this.

Step 2(bis): Position the pages (the geeky way)

If you’re not afraid of diving into the XML, this approach actually is quicker… You can go through the edit menu to “XML editor”, or just tap Shift-Ctrl-X.

This will launch a dialog. I can be docked to the side, or just floating. I docked it to the right because that’s where I like these docks to be. Just drag it over to the place where you want it.

The XML editor shows you a lot of mumbo jumbo weird stuff… that’s called the XML-code of which an SVG file is made. Actually once you wrap your head around it, it all kind of makes sense. But for now, we’ll keep it simple.

Pages are not part of SVG, it’s a construct Inkscape made inside the wiggleroom that SVG allows for customisation. If you open the first line inside the svg file (the one with “sodipodi:namedview” in it), this is where you’ll find the pages definition. Every block of the type <inkscape:page … > defines a page. The ID is what makes every page unique. Feel free to change that into something more sensible (e.g. X1Y1, X1Y2, X2Y1, X2Y2). I didn’t do that for this demo. Anyway… if you click on the first one of these page element, you’ll see how a dialog appears at the bottom…. Here you could tweak height and width of the page if you were inclined to. You can also set the X and Y coordinate of the top left corner of that page. The first one typically has x and y equal to 0.

Now for the next pages, you can set these to respectively:

  • page 1: x=0, y=0
  • page 2: x=200, y=0
  • page 3: x=0, y=287
  • page 4: x=200, y=287

Now, if all went well… you’ll see the pages overlapping each other slightly:

Step 3: Design, save as PDF, print

Have fun, and draw your poster over the big canvas of the 4 pages.

Now… multipage printing isn’t integrated into Inkscape yet (but … it’s bound to come). If you’re done with your poster, save it as a PDF. Open the PDF in your PDF-viewer and as you’ll see… all four pages are nicely in the PDF, including the overlap on every page.

Finally, if you print that pdf, cut the white gutter off the right pages, and glue them onto the left pages. To the same for the bottom pages: cut off a small strip and glue them over the top pages. You’ve created your first real Inkscape poster!






2 responses to “Creating a multipage poster in Inkscape 1.2”

  1. Richard Avatar

    I was confused when Inkscape 1.2 hit, got used to the old interface that I wish I could revert to.

    I felt the new page feature is somewhat buggy and waiting for inkscape to fix something.

    1. jurgen Avatar

      Hi Richard,
      You’re right. The multipage feature is just in the very infancy of its development. Quite a few improvements have been made when you spin up the nightly builds. So there’s better times at the horizon.
      If you follow the weekly update by Martin Owens (one of the lead developers of Inkscape –, you tend to get a lot of behind-the-scenes information. I really enjoy those.

      Interface changes are always confusing at first. Ironically, there were a lot of non-intuitive things in the old interface too (for one… there are three independent places where you can set opacity on something: the alpha channel, the object opacity and the layer opacity). Also, I’m loving the much more intuitive snap settings interface.

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