Inkscape: A Vector Drawing Tool

Invisible and unselectable flow region in image

Reported by Markus Poessel on 2009-11-19
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone

Bug Description

I created a PDF with XFig and imported it into Inkscape 0.46 (running on a Mac under OS X 10.5.6, Xquartz 2.1.5 - (xorg-server 1.3.0-apple22) (2.1.5)).

When I uploaded to Wikimedia commons, I noticed a black rectangle; see various versions on

I tried various proposed fixes I found on Google: selecting and converting to text; selecting and converting to path.

It took a helpful commons user to find out that the file contains an empty, invisible, unselectable flow region that caused the problem. He or she removed the region using a text editor.

jazzynico (jazzynico) wrote :

Duplicate of Bug #167335 (flowed text (flowRoot) must be moved to inkscape namespace )?

tags: added: svg

Could be a duplicate - I was thrown off by the fact that in my case, I imported the image, whereas the other bug involved an original Inkscape drawing. But the apparently empty flowRoot regions look the same. Thanks!

~suv (suv-lp) wrote :

The 'un-selectability' of empty 'Flowed Text' objects might have a common cause with bug #349602 “Textbox is unselectable after text is overflowed by empty lines.”

They can be created accidentally in Inkscape with the text tool: draw a rectangle (maybe thinking you're still using the select tool), don't enter any text, click somewhere else on the canvas and the textbox disappears but leaves a unvisible svg:FlowRoot element behind (watch it happening with the XML editor open) - see question "Black blocks appear on the image when I open an SVG file with Firefox." <>

tags: added: text

OK, that could be it. I'm rather new to Inkscape, and could well have created empty text boxes in the way you describe. Thanks for the info!

~suv (suv-lp) wrote :

Another workaround to find empty 'Flowed text' objects:
1) 'Edit > Deselect'
2) activate the text tool
3) use <TAB> to cycle through all text objects in the drawing and watch the status line for the message "Type or edit flowed text (0 characters); Enter to start new paragraph"
4) use <DEL> or <Backspace> to delete the selected empty 'Flowed Text' object
5) continue with <TAB> until the first text object is selected again

Both issue as reported and workaround reproduced with Inkscape 0.46+devel r22575 on OS X 10.5.8.

Confirming this as bug because empty flowed text boxes should not be left behind invisible and barely selectable regardless of whether the flowed text object (svg:flowRoot containing svg:flowRegion and svg:flowPara) is part of the current SVG specification or is (not) recognized by other SVG viewers.

Changed in inkscape:
importance: Undecided → Low
status: New → Confirmed

Thank you for the additional workaround!

~suv (suv-lp) wrote :

Alternative steps to select all 'Flowed Text' objects (empty or not):

1) open 'Edit > Find…'
2) enter 'flowRoot' into the 'ID:' field
3) search

The resulting selection contains all 'Flowed text' objects which then can be deleted or converted to regular text (shift-click those you want to keep as 'Flowed Text' to remove them from the selection).

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