Can’t Change Layer Order in GIMP? [How to Fix It]

GIMP is a very popular photo and graphic manipulation tool. It’s completely free, open-source, and is constantly being updated to add new features. However, many people report issues with changing the order of their image’s layers while using GIMP.

Generally, issues changing your image’s layer order in GIMP stem from a glitch or bug in the software, an outdated version of the program, or other applications that are running in the background. Reinstalling or updating can help, as can closing any other programs while you’re using GIMP.

Below, we’ll discuss some common reasons why users have trouble changing their layer order in GIMP, as well as some ways to fix the issue. Keep reading to learn more!

Why Can’t I Change My Layer Order in GIMP?

There are a couple of reasons why you may not be able to change the layer of your orders in GIMP. These include:

  • A glitch or bug
  • Outdated software
  • A program running in the background

Let’s discuss how each of these problems can affect the functionality of your layers.

A Glitch or Bug

Sometimes, you won’t be able to change the order of your layers simply because of a glitch or bug within your GIMP software. If this is the case, the best course of action is to simply uninstall and reinstall the program.

Errors sometimes occur during installation, which can affect the functionality of the program when you begin using it. Save any projects you’re currently working on, then uninstall GIMP from your computer. Download a new version of the software from the GIMP website, then reinstall it with no other programs running in the background.

Outdated Software

There are a lot of problems that can come along with using an outdated version of any software. The developers at GIMP release updates frequently, adding new features and targeting problems within previous versions. If you used to be able to move layers easily but are now having problems doing so, visit the GIMP website to see if there’s a new version available for download.

A Program Running in the Background

One of the most common problems GIMP users note is an inability to use the program’s convenient “drag and drop” feature to change the order of their layers. They select their layer, drag to move it to the preferred spot, but then the layer snaps right back to where it was before.

Usually, the cause of this problem relates to some program that’s running in the background. Antivirus software and screen recording software are common culprits, along with any other program that uses an invisible full-screen window or watches activity within other applications. Some programs that are known to cause this problem include:

  • Skype
  • SnagIt
  • Overwolf
  • Camtasia
  • CamStudio

If you’re having issues using the drag and drop feature to change the order of your layers in GIMP, try closing your other programs and see if the problem resolves itself.

Other Ways to Change Your Layer Order in GIMP

Most GIMP users prefer to use the drag and drop method to change their layer order because it’s simple, intuitive, and quick. However, there are other ways to do so if you can’t seem to get the drag and drop feature to work correctly.

Use the Layer Panel Arrows

At the bottom of your layer panel, you should see one arrow pointing up and one arrow pointing down. Instead of dragging and dropping your layers, you can select the layer you want to move, then click either the up or down arrow to move it to your desired position. If you want to move the layer all the way to the top or bottom of the image, hold down the Shift key as you click the corresponding arrow.

Use the Layer Menu

Another way to change the order of your layers is through GIMP’s layer menu. At the top of the program window, you should see a menu bar. One of these menus will say “Layer.” Click this menu, then select “Stack.” From the Stack menu, you can choose “Raise Layer” or “Lower Layer” to move it up or down. If you want to move the layer to the top, you can also choose “Layer to top.”

Final Thoughts

If you’re having problems changing the order of your layers in GIMP, you’re not alone. Many people have had this issue in the past, and fortunately, there are a few ways to fix it. Try reinstalling or updating your program, or check if any background programs are interfering with GIMP’s functionality.