What to Do if You Can’t Move a Layer in GIMP

No matter if you are a seasoned GIMP user or not, there are still going to be a few issues or things that happen within GIMP where you just won’t quite know what to do. However, there are many others like you who need to figure out fixes to their issues as well, so there are many places you can go to find solutions. 

If you can’t move a layer in GIMP you can do a few things such as:

  • Change your Move selection tool command
  • Choose the correct layer
  • Go back through the How-to move layers steps

The great thing is that GIMP doesn’t have a ton of issues with trying to move layers, and the issues they do have already have pretty simple solutions thanks to other users. After a simple internet search, you should be able to find your issue and a solution to it and move on with your project. 

Fixing the Inability to Move Layers in GIMP

So, you may have an issue with moving your layers in GIMP but obviously, the solution is the most important part. The great thing is, that the most common issues that have been found with GIMP and moving layers already have solutions and fixes for you from other users. These may not be permanent solutions, more like band-aids, but they can help move your project along either way. 

Changing Your Move Selection Tool Command

A common issue with GIMP, so common that GIMP wrote a bug report on it, is that the ALt key toggles the move selection mode and CTRL toggles the moving path, but they don’t switch back as they are supposed to. 

This causes significant issues when trying to move layers after accidentally, or intentionally hitting either of those keys. The only thing for you to do is choose your move tool and set it back to move layers instead of whatever it is already on. 

Once you fix this tool selection, you should have no issue moving your layers unless you hit the CTRL or ALT key again, then you may have to redo the move tool selection, again. 

(Source: Graphic Design, The GIMP Tutorials, Reddit)

Rechoosing the Correct Layer

Sometimes you may have the incorrect thing chosen for moving layers, or you may not have layers chosen to be moved at all. However, this is a very common issue that users have so it’s easily fixed and managed by understanding what the issue is. 

Sometimes your move tool ends up choosing a whole section instead of just one layer, or maybe the wrong layer was chosen due to multiple layers being on top of each other. The best thing for you to do is select your layer and double-check that the correct thing is chosen. 

You may have to change your move tool setting to achieve this, but, if all settings are correct, you should be able to choose the correct layer you are trying to move. Once you do this a few times, it should become second nature to you to always double-check what is selected and fix the move tool.

(Source: Graphic Design, The GIMP Tutorials, Reddit)

How-to Move Layers

No matter if you are a seasoned GIMP user, or you are brand-new to the software, everyone needs a refresher sometimes. The easiest way to move a layer is by using the move tool at the very top of your tool box, or you can use the shortcut “M”.

Now, once you select this tool, you may, or may not, notice that there are several different options and settings associated with the move tool. The move tool is set to move selection by default and while it might work for you sometimes, it’s better to switch it to “Move Layers” mode. 

If you need a refresher on the entirety of how to move layers, single or multiple, there are tutorials from GIMP that can help refresh you on how to manage the tools and selections. You can simply find The GIMP Tutorials and work your way through what you need. 

(Source: Graphic Design, The GIMP Tutorials, Reddit)

Final Thoughts

GIMP is an extremely helpful tool, but when issues start rising up around moving layers, it can be kind of frustrating and make you not want to use it as often. However, no matter what issue you are having with layers, there is a solution.

Whether your solution is one from GIMP itself, or from individuals who have also had the same issue you have, you can find a solution, even if it’s only a temporary fix to keep your project moving along.