Arrows and annotations in Inkscape

Decorating screenshots is very easy these days but it’s not quite as easy to find configurable annotation graphics. Most offer very simple arrows with no outlines or shadows, making them a little tougher to see.

So I’ve created a small annotations file in SVG format using Inkscape, along with a walk through for using it. Here’s the video.

The Downloads

You’ll first want to ensure you’ve installed Inkscape, it’s available for Mac, Linux and Windows, as follows. You’ll then just need the SVG file and a free font available at Google Font directory. Here are the relevant links:

Downloading the File from GitHub

To download the SVG file, simply go to the above url and left-click on the “Raw” button, then select “Save link as …

GitHub - Right-click Raw button and select Save link as


Getting started

Open the arrows-and-annotations.svg file you saved above and you should see some nice arrows and other graphics.

You’ll likely want to decorate your own screenshots, so select the background image and press Delete.

Select background graphic and press Delete

Assuming you’ve already got a screenshot you’d like to work with, simply open your file manager then click and drag the file into Inkscape (or go to File -> Import, then select the file).

Drag and drop screenshot into Inkscape

You should see that new screenshot added in Inkscape, likely covering the arrows and other graphics though. Simply press the End key to move it below the other graphics.

Press END key to move screenshot below other graphics

You can then manipulate the arrows and other graphics to annotate the screenshot just the way you need it.

To export your annotated screenshot

You might consider saving your edited screenshot in Inkscape. Or you can go right to exporting the edit. Simply go to the File menu and select “Export PNG Image…“.

You’ll see a new panel displayed with options for the export process. Ensure your screenshot is selected, then ensure the “Selection” tab is also selected in the export panel.

Select screenshot and Selection tab

Give your file a name, then press the Export button.

That’s it!

You should have yourself a nicely annotated screenshot, like the above screenshots, or the one below, for example.

Example annotations


The same method can be used to annotate images for use in screencasts as well. Or you can export just the arrows, mouse graphic or others for use in video editing.


Arrows and annotations in Inkscape

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