In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to fill your text with a gradient using Inkscape, the free vector graphics editor! This is a very simple technique that only requires a couple steps, so let’s dive in!
For starters, grab the Text tool from the Inkscape toolbox by clicking on its icon (red arrow in the image above) or hitting the “T” shortcut key on your keyboard.
Next, change your font to the desired font by clicking the dropdown (red arrow in the above image) and selecting the font name (green arrow in the image above – you can also simply start typing your font name in the text field if you know your font name already).
I’ll also change my font size (red arrow in the above image) to 144 pts (green arrow) so that it’s nice and large when we first add our text.
When you’re ready, click on your canvas with the text tool to create a line of text. Then, type your text (I went with “INKSCAPE” for my text – red arrow in the above image).
Next, click on the Gradient tool in the toolbox (red arrow in the above image). To draw a gradient inside your text, click and drag your mouse from the top of the text to the bottom (green arrow – note: if you hold the ctrl key, it will draw your gradient in straight-line mode). The starting and ending points can go outside your text – the gradient will still only draw inside your text. So feel free to play around with the location of these points to get a different result.
If you’re like me, you may not have the colors you want set for your gradient at present (or you may not have any colors and your text disappeared). Fret not – there are a couple ways to change the colors of your gradient.
The easy way is to click on either gradient handle, known as the “start” for the first handle or “end” for the last handle you drew, then left-click on a color in the Inkscape color palette. For example, I’ll click on the gradient “start” with my gradient tool (red arrow in the above image), then left-click on the color red in the color palette (blue arrow).
So, that’s one method for changing the colors of the gradient. However, what if you wanted to add custom colors to the gradient handles that aren’t located on the color bar?
All you have to do is click on the gradient handle you want to edit (red arrow in the image above), then double-click on the “Fill” box in the bottom left corner of the canvas window (below the color palette – blue arrow).
This will bring up the “Fill and Stroke” dialogue (outlined in green in the image above).
If you weren’t taken to the Gradient Editor automatically when the Fill and Stroke dialogue was opened, click on the “Fill” tab (red arrow in the above image), then click the “Linear gradient” icon (green arrow).
Click the arrow next to “Stops” to expand the gradient stops feature (red arrow in the above image). This will allow you to view and edit each “Stop,” or handle, of the gradient.
Click on the stop you want edit (green arrow in the above image), then change the color of the stop using the color sliders. If you have a HEX code for the color you want to use, you can copy and paste that code in the field next to “RGBA” (outlined in blue in the image).
In my case, I know the HEX code for my first color is “F75C03,” so I’ll paste this code in the RGBA field.
Repeat this process by clicking on the second gradient stop (red arrow), then choosing your new color via the sliders or by pasting your HEX code (outlined in blue in the above image – my second HEX code value is “F1C40F”).
You can also insert a new stop to your gradient by clicking the “+” icon towards the bottom of the dialogue (red arrow in the above image). By default, it will be the average color of the original first and second gradient stop. However, you can click on this stop (green arrow) and change the color to anything you want using the previously discussed methods (I changed my color in the above photo, hence why it’s a pinkish color).
You can reposition the stops of your gradient by clicking and dragging the arrows along the gradient slider at the top of the dialogue (green arrow in the image). You can also manually set the position of the stops using this slider by clicking on the arrow that corresponds to that stop, then typing a numerical value in the “Stop offset” field (outlined by the dotted blue line in the image).
Finally, you can change the gradient type to any of a number of options in Inkscape by clicking the icons at the top of the dialogue (outlined in green in the photo). For example, if I click the “Radial gradient” icon (blue arrow), my linear gradient will update to a radial, or circular, gradient.
I can change the dimensions of the radial gradient by dragging the handles on the canvas (red arrows in the image above), plus reposition the stops of the gradient either directly on the canvas or using the gradient slider over in the Fill and Stroke dialogue.
When you’re done customizing your gradient, you can click on another tool like the Select tool (red arrow) to see the finished product without handles. Note that you can still edit the gradient using the Fill and Stroke dialogue without the gradient tool so long as the text is selected.
One last thing I’ll mention is that you can change your text after you’ve added the gradient, and the new text will display the same gradient. So, if I grab my text tool once again, click on the “INKSCAPE” text, and type something new, like “GRADIENT,” you’ll see that the new text will still have the same gradient as the old text.
That’s it for this tutorial! If you liked it, you can check out my other Inkscape Tutorials and Inkscape Help Articles.