Several shapes can be created using SVG drawing. An SVG drawing can use and combine seven shapes: Path, Rectangle, Circle, Ellipse, Line, Polyline, and Polygon.


The path element is the most commonly seen, and is usually generated by programs designed to export SVG code.

  <path d="M2 1 h1 v1 h1 v1 h-1 v1 h-1 v-1 h-1 v-1 h1 z" />

The example path above will generate a “plus” symbole (+) when used inside an SVG drawing. SVG path elements are not built manually, but generated through design programs that can manipulate vector graphics, such as Illustrator or Inkscape.


The rectangle element rect draws a rectangle on the screen, and it accepts six attributes.

  <rect x="0" y="0" width="100" height="50" rx="10" ry="10" />

x and y assign the position of the top-left corner of the rectangle, and width and height assign the size of the rectangle. rx and ry assign the radius of the rectangle corners, similar to the CSS border-radius property.


The circle element circle accepts three attributes.

  <circle cx="100" cy="100" r="50" />

cx and cy assign the position of the center of the circle, and r assigns the radius (size) of the circle.


The ellipse element, ellipse, is similar to the circle element except the radius is split into two attributes.

  <ellipse cx="100" cy="100" rx="50" ry="20" />

Again, cx and cy assign the position of the center of the ellipse, and now rx and ry assign the horizontal and vertical radius of the ellipse, respectively. A larger rx will give a “fat” ellipse, and a larger ry will give a skinnier ellipse. If rx and ry are equal, it will form a circle.


The line element is simple, and accepts four attributes.

  <line x1="0" x2="100" y1="50" y2="70" />

The x1 and y1 attributes assign the first point of the line, and the x2 and y2 attributes assign the second point of the line.


A polyline is a series of connected straight lines, assigned in a single attribute.

  <polyline points="0 100, 50 70, 60 40, 20 0" />

The points attribute assigns a list of points, each point separated by a comma.


The polygon element is also a series of connected straight lines, but in this case, the last line will automatically reconnect to the initial point.

  <polygon points="0 100, 50 70, 60 40, 20 0" />

This example will draw the same shape as the polyline above, but it will draw an extra line to “close” the series of lines.

More Information

MDN Documentation: MDN