By Stephen Bucaro
Inkscape is a highly configurable application. Many of these configuration options
can be set through the Preferences dialog box. To open the Preferences dialog
box, in Inkscape's main menu choose Edit, and scroll down to the bottom of
the menu to select Preferences....
There is probably a hundred things you can configure through the Preferences dialog
box. Here I'll describe a couple of the most important ones.
One thing you might want to configure is how bounding boxes work. A bounding box is a
rectangular border around a selected object or area. The sides of a bounding box run
along the vertical and horizontal axis. A bounding box usually has little squares
that you can drag to move, transform, rotate, or scale the object.
A bounding box should be the smallest size that contains the entire selected object
or area. Inkscape has two kinds of bounding box. The Visual bounding box which
includes the object including the stroke thickness, and the Geometrical bounding
box which uses the objects nodes. This makes a more precise bounding box.
To configure the type of bounding box, expand the Tools branch and click on
the text Tools to highlight it and open the Bounding box setting page.
Here you'll find radio buttons to set the bounding box to either Visual bounding box
or Geometric bounding box.
The grid is a very important aid to accurate drawing. But having the canvas so covered
with lines may make it cluttered. To set grid preferences, expand the Interface
branch and click on Grids to highlight it and open the Grids setting page.
Here you'll find settings for the grid units, the grid origin, the grid spacing, and how
many units apart to place grid lines. But the setting I find most interesting is the
checkbox  Show dots instead of lines. Set this checkbox to be able to use the
grid without it being so cluttered with lines.