Moving Stuff in Gimp

Gimp is the standard bearer of high-end graphic design in Linux and it’s a seriously beefy application. However, if you’ve spent years in Photoshop and Windows like I have, warming up to Gimp in Linux might take a bit of extra effort. I hope you believe as I do that the more you work with Gimp the more you will feel like that effort was worth it.

With that in mind, let’s take some effort out of moving selections and paths.

Moving Selections

By “moving a selection” I’m referring to moving a selection’s content, not the selection area itself. In Photoshop this is a simple Shift-Click affair and in Gimp, well, it isn’t. Here is an example of a moved selection.

The secret to moving selections in Gimp is to first “float” the selection to it’s own Floated Layer, at which point you can press “M” to move it along with its content.  My Gimp custom keyboard setting for floating a selection is CTRL-SHIFT-L.  Followed up by “M” for move.  Speedy.

Moving Paths

It would also be nice if we could easily move paths as well. Below we see a path enhanced with the Gimp Draw Arrow Plug-in from the Gimp Plug-in Repository.  The arrow looks fine, but it’s pointing in the wrong direction and not exactly where we want it.

A secret to moving paths is ensuring that they are on their own layer.  That way any move and rotate actions will move the path (along with the layer.)  A possibly better approach to moving paths is to first convert them to a selection with “Selection -> From Path” or SHIFT-V. Once the path is a selection we can use CTRL-SHIFT-R and rotate just the arrow.  We can also move it with “M” and either use arrows or the mouse.  I should note that is the path is not first in its own layer, you can use the float selection process we described above upon converting the path to a selection.

Here’s the final result.  It might not be very pretty, but that doesn’t take away from the satisfaction of being able to easily move stuff in Gimp.