o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
fonts included in Windows. To add text:
1. Click on the Text tool, then click anywhere on the
2. Type the text you want, select it, and move it into
position. You can change the color of the text by altering
its Fill color. Do this either in the Fill and Stroke panel, or
by clicking one of the colors in the color swatches that
appear along the bottom of the Inkscape window.
3. Change the font and size by clicking on the Text
icon in the Commands bar.
4. Find Arial and select it. Change the font size to 15
point (refer to Figure 12). Close the Text and Font box.
Repeat these steps for additional text. You can also
copy an existing piece of text and just edit it as needed.
Figure 12. Add text with the Text tool. Type the text, then open the
Text and Font dialog box to select the font and font size.
One of the benefits of using a graphics program for
designing your control panels is that you can use
automatic tools to align all the components. This greatly
improves the look of the panels and you don’t have to rely
To align two or more graphic objects (circle, text,
1. Select the first object you wish to serve as the
“anchor.” This object will not be adjusted; rather, all the
other objects will be aligned around this one.
2. Open the Alignment panel (Object->Align and
Distribute). Choose Relative to: First Selected.
3. Click on the Alignment icon(s) you wish to use. For
example, to align the objects in the same vertical plane,
click the Center Objects Horizontally icon as shown in
You can also use Inkscape to help you place multiple
objects along a vertical or horizontal plane using the
Distribute icons. Use this feature, for example, to make
sure the four indicator icons are spaced exactly apart.
Adding Group Boxes
The larger and more complex your control panels, the
more you’ll want to group similar components together.
This is for aesthetic reasons only, and doesn’t affect the
overall functionality of the panel.
Group boxes are made with the Rectangle tool. You
can keep the standard sharp corners or round them off as
I’ve done for the sample Interocitor panel. To round the
1. Make a rectangle with the Rectangle tool.
2. Select it, then choose the Edit Paths tool.
3. Drag the white handle on the right side downward
to increase the radius of the corner (Figure 14).
I’ve made two group boxes for the Interocitor panel:
one to group together four LED indicators, and another
larger one to enclose all the components of the panel.
Begin by creating the rectangle in the size and shape
you want. It’s okay to manually adjust the size, but be sure
that for the large group box you don’t accidentally cover
up something you want — like a mounting hole. The large
group box for the Interocitor panel is adjusted to fit neatly
within the four corner mounting holes.
Change the fill and stroke color as needed. For the
large main group, I’ve selected a gray gradient (more
about this below) and a thick red stroke that’s 3. 5 pixels
wide. For the four indicators, the group box is made to
contain the four LEDs plus descriptive text. The fill color is
yellow, the stroke is 0.75 px green. These were just
subjective choices; you can choose anything you like.
April 2013 49
Figure 13. Align objects by selecting them (the first selected
is the "anchor") and then choosing an option in the
Align and Distribute panel.