You can draw shapes, such as rectangles, ellipses and paths. You can also add text and images to the document.


You can draw rectangles with the Rectangle tool. To draw squares, hold down the Shift key. To center at the pressed point, hold down the Option key.

Rectangles can have rounded corners by setting the Radius properties in the Property Panel. Open the lock to change the X and Y values independently.


You can draw ellipses with the Ellipse tool. To draw circles, hold down the Shift key. To center at the pressed point, hold down the Option key.


You can draw paths with the Line, Pencil or Pen tool.

The Line tool draws straight lines. Use the Shift key to constrain the line to 45° angles.

The Pencil tool draws freehand curves.

The Pen tool draws lines and curves. Click on the canvas to start a path. After that, each click will add a corner node to the path. Press and drag adds a curved node. Double-clicking ends the path. To create a closed path, click the start node of the path.

The Pen tool can also be used to connect open paths to each other. Select the first path's node and then select the second path's node to create a connecting segment.


Use the Text tool to create text objects. Click on the canvas, then type the text. You can modify these text properties in the Property Panel:

  • Font family
  • Font size - size in pixels
  • Font style - usually Regular, Italic and Bold styles (font dependent)
  • Underline, overline and strikethrough
  • Leading - the distance between adjacent lines (line height)
  • Text align - left, center or right
  • Tracking - additional spacing between characters in 1/1000 em units (letter spacing)
  • Word Spacing - additional spacing between words in 1/1000 em units

Tracking (letter spacing) and word spacing values are added to the normal text spacing. They are given in 1/1000 em units, which means that the values are relative to the font size. For instance, the word spacing set to 500 is equal to 0.5em. If the font size is 16px (pixels), it means that the word spacing is 8px wider than the normal spacing. If the font size is changed to 24px, then the word spacing is 12px wider than the normal spacing. The em unit makes sure that the pixel spacing is increased or decreased with the font size.

Vertical text can be created by selecting different Orient values in the Advanced Text property section. If you select vertical text, then additional controls for mixed, upright and sideways orientation appear. Note that these vertical text controls are primarily meant for East-Asian languages. If you want to have text just sideways, it is usually better to just rotate it with the Transform tool.

For right-to-left text, such as Hebrew and Arabic, modify the Direction value.

Keyshape does not perform any font fallback. Therefore, if you write in Chinese, Arabic or other script, and the font does not have the glyphs for those scripts, then a missing glyph symbol is shown. It is important to select the correct font for the scripts that you use.

Note: Only Firefox displays multiple spaces and linefeeds correctly in SVG file format. If you intend to export the document as an SVG file, then avoid multiple spaces and linefeeds or preserve them with the Write text as paths export option.

Text on Path

Create curved text by selecting the text and a curved path, then choose the Object > Text > Attach to Path menu command. To return the text to normal, use the Detach from Path menu command.

You can change the start offset of the text on path. Select the text object only and change the Offset value under the Text Path section in Property Panel.


Bitmap images can be embedded or linked from the document. Embedded images are stored inside the document. Linked images are only referenced by the document.

The Images Panel shows all linked images. Select the Large List view mode to see the image's name, format, pixel size and URL.

To link images from the file system to the document, open the Images Panel and click the Add (+) button. PNG and JPEG image formats are supported.

You can delete images by selecting the image in the list and pressing the Delete button.

The reload button will reload all linked images from the file system. This is useful when you have modified linked images with an external tool and want to see the changes in Keyshape.

The Action button has the following advanced actions for working with linked images.

  • Make File Path Absolute - make the linked image's file path absolute.
  • Make File Path Relative - make the linked image's file path relative to the document. To use this action, the document must have been saved at least once so that it exists in the file system.
  • Reload selected - reloads the selected images.
  • Replace - replaces the selected image with another one.

Use the Image tool to add images to the canvas. If the document does not contain any linked images, then a blank image is added as a placeholder.

You can convert a linked image to an embedded image by selecting the image on the canvas and pressing the Embed Image button.

You can convert an embedded image to a linked image by selecting it and pressing the Unembed Image button.

Blank images are indicated by a rectangle containing a cross. Invalid images are shown with a red question mark, which indicates that the image has corrupted data or could not be loaded.

Blank and invalid images are not visible during playback, in exports or in web browser previews.

Groups and Layers

Objects can be grouped to create more complex objects and to give structure to the document. Group objects with the Object > Group menu command, ungroup them with Object > Ungroup.

You can select groups by clicking them. Use the Node tool to select objects inside groups. You can also use the Object Tree to select child objects inside groups.

Layers are group objects, which allow direct selection of their contents with the Selection tool. It is also possible to draw directly under a layer object. You can convert a group to a layer by selecting the Use as a layer checkbox in its properties. To convert a layer back to a group, deselect the checkbox.

A document always has one active layer. When you draw objects, they will be added to the active layer. You can change the active layer by selecting another layer in the Object Tree.

Groups and layers can be hyperlinks. To create hyperlinks, select Enable hyperlink in the Property Panel and enter the destination web address in the URL field.

Note: When you add exported SVG code to a web page, you should use the <object> tag or inline the SVG code to keep the hyperlinks functional. The <img> tag does not display hyperlinks in web browsers.