Cloning is a special way to copy an object. The cloned copy retains a link to the original object so if that object is changed, the clone will change in the same way. The copies, however, can be transformed (moved, scaled, rotated, and skewed) independently. Technically, the cloning is achieved through the use of the SVGuse” object type.

The style (color, fill pattern, etc.) of the clones can be changed independently but only if the style of the cloned object is Unset. See the section called “Fill and Stroke Paint” in Chapter 9, Attributes.

Only a single object can be cloned at a time. If more than one object needs to be cloned, then those objects can be placed into a Group.

The original may be cloned any number of times. It is also possible to clone a clone. In this case, changing the original will change both clones while changing the first clone will only change the second clone. It is not possible, however, to set the Attributes independently with multiple layers of cloning.

Inkscape includes the Create Tiled Clones dialog for creating a set of cloned object that are automatically placed via tiling algorithms. This dialog is very powerful and is sufficiently complex that it deserves its own chapter. See Chapter 15, Tiling , for more information.

The following commands are available for working with clones (Clone and Unlink Clone are also located in the Command Bar).

What happens when you move a cloned object? By default, the clones don't move. This is so that if you select a object that was cloned and one of its clones, the two will move together as expected. In the Inkscape Preferences dialog under the Clone section, you can change this behavior so that if a cloned object is moved, its clones also move. But in this case, if you select a cloned object and one of its clones, then move them, the clone will move “twice” as far... once because the cloned object moved and once because the clone itself was moved. Things can get really strange if you move a cloned object that has been cloned and that clone has been cloned!