Inkscape plugin: delete the selected object(s) and any objects on top of them
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.

Delete Above

This is an Inkscape extension that allows you to delete a selected item and any items that appear above it/on top of it. It can be useful for the mass deletion of items in a large drawing where individual deletes are impractically slow and a rubber-band selection is difficult to make.

Use Case

I have a PDF-based map of a nearby regional park and I wanted to load it into my GPS app. This PDF contains a lot of legend/key/advisory text that is appropriate for a printed map, but not for a GPS app. The following animation shows the map with and without this material:

Animation showing map with legend and without

To remove the unwanted items I followed these steps;

  • First, I converted the PDF to SVG so that I could work with it more easily in Inkscape. I don't like Inkscape's native PDF import so I used a command line tool called pdf2svg to accomplish the conversion.

  • Next I opened the SVG file in Inkscape. At this point I found that each individual character and icon in the legend and in the advisory text is a standalone path, rather than a string in a text box. In this image you can see an individual instance of the letter "U" selected from the middle of a text box: Image showing an individual character selected

  • My first idea was to simply perform a rubber-band selection on all these characters and delete them. However, when I tried various rubber-band / lasso / rectangular selection methods they all included items on the map that I want to keep -- namely items that are behind the legend. This animation shows the difference between what I wanted and what the rubber-band tool was giving me: Animation comparing rubber-band select/delete with the desired result; Rubber-band over-deletes

  • As a result, I created this extension. To use it in this case, I selected only the white rectangle that forms the background of the legend, then I activated the extension from the Inkscape extensions menu as seen here: Image showing the location of the "Delete Above" extension in the Inkscape extension menu; it appears under Extensions, Selection, Delete Above

  • After repeating the process a few times, you can see the end result in the first animation above.


There is no installer (yet).

To install this extension on OS X and Linux (using the terminal), run these commands:

mkdir -p ~/.config/inkscape/extensions
cd ~/.config/inkscape/extensions
curl --location --remote-name
curl --location --remote-name

On windows you'll have to download the following 2 files into C:\Program Files\Inkscape\share\extensions (or something similar):


I like it. Contact me at