Shapes Panel

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The Shapes panel, found to the right of the Canvas workspace, allows you to understand and modify the design's basic structure.



Canvas Shapes Panel




Button Bar


A button bar running along the top of the Shapes panel provides access to a number of common operations.





New Layer

Adds a new empty layer to the design.  As noted here, a layer is an organizational unit that contains all shapes that will receive the same style.  Therefore, if your design will make use of three unique styles, then three layers should be created. Tips for a Speedy Canvas discusses why the minimum number of layers should always be used.


Removes the currently selected layers or shapes and places them on the clipboard.


Copies the currently selected layers or shapes onto the clipboard.


Copies any layers or shapes that were placed on the clipboard into the current Canvas document.


When multiple shapes are selected within the same layer, this button will organize them into a single group that can be used to conveniently manipulate the shapes as if they were a single object.  If a group is selected then clicking this button will un-group the shapes.  As noted in Tips for a Speedy Canvas, instead of layers, groups are the preferred way to organize the shapes forming a design because any number of groups can be created without incurring performance penalties.  See this tip on selecting individual shapes within a group.




Shape Options


Additional options appear directly below the button bar.


The Name field modifies the name of the currently selected layer, group, or shape.  An item's name is used to label it in the tree view described further down.



Organize With Canvas Groups

By naming each layer according to its style and each group according

to its contents, Canvas designs become organized and understandable.



The Combine drop-down lets you specify how the currently selected shape will combine with any shapes that are below it and within the same layer.



Shape Combine - Circles

In these examples the right circle is the upper

shape that is having its Combine mode changed.


Shape Combine - Union

Union is the default mode.  It combines

the shapes to form a single solid piece.

Shape Combine - Cut

Cut mode will cut the shape from those below it.

Shape Combine - Intersect

Intersect mode causes the resulting shape to form

only where the shape overlaps with those below it.


Shape Combine - Invert

Invert mode reverses whatever parts of

the design lie below the current shape.


Shape Combine - Merge

Merge mode is similar to Union, except

that internal edges are preserved.

Shape Combine - Overlay

Overlay mode is similar to Merge, except that only internal

edges belonging to the current shape are preserved.

Shape Combine - Underlay

Underlay mode is similar to Merge, except that only internal

edges not belonging to the current shape are preserved.



To the right of the Name and Combine fields are a pair of arrows that you can click to move any selected shapes upwards or downwards in the stack.  Alternatively, shapes can be rearranged by dragging them in the tree view described below.




Tree View


The rest of the Shapes panel is occupied by the tree view, which hierarchically lists the layers, groups, and shapes forming the current Canvas document.


The items forming a Canvas document can be thought of as being in a stack.  A layer that covers another layer is said to be higher in the stack.  Layers and shapes that are higher in the stack appear higher in the Canvas tree view.



Canvas Layer Order

In this example, the crimson ellipse covers the blue rectangle because it is higher in the stack.



Two Ways to Rearrange Shapes

Items can be re-ordered either by dragging them in the tree view or

by clicking the arrows appearing above the tree view's top right corner.



Items can be permanently deleted from a Canvas document by clicking them in the tree view and then pressing your keyboard's delete key.  Alternatively, items can be temporarily hidden by clicking the eye icons shown below.



Canvas Tree View Eyes

The tree view's eye icons can temporarily hide the corresponding item.




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