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Using Gimp, I am working on a sprite image made of lots of icons, each on a separate layer. I would like to check that there is no overlap by displaying the outline of all layers.

There is an option "Show Layer Boundary" but it only shows the outline of the layer currently selected (and I can select only one layer at a time.

Is there a way to show the outline of all layers, or to select multiple layers at once?

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There's not a way to directly do what you ask, to my knowledge. There is a way to "link" layers (click next to eye in layers dialog), but this linkage seems to cause only movement (dragging) to operate on the group of layers; all other operations continue to work on a single layer.

If what you want is to see if the rectangular boundaries of each layer overlap any other layer's boundaries, you may be able to do so with some preparatory work. You add a "layer mask" to each layer concerned, probably all white (meaning opaque). You turn off visibility of any background layer so that the gray check pattern of transparency will show. You can then show for each layer the white rectangle where the layer exists by alt-clicking the mask icon in the layer dialog (which appears next to the image icon when the mask is created). Do this for all the layers concerned and see if the rectangles overlap. (alt-click again to go back to normal layer image display.) Basic mask operations are covered in Gimp docs 7.21 - 7.26.

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Thanks for the detailed answer. I discovered afterwards that having no overlap is not sufficient, a 2px margin between images is required to avoid adjacent icons to show as blurred artifacts on the side of sprite icons at high zoom level or some odd screen resolutions in IE. I guess that I would need a more specific plugin to help for this kind of check for the creation of a sprite image. –  Eric Bréchemier Feb 12 '11 at 18:06
    
I found that multiple layers can be selected depending on the tool. For example, shift+click allows to select multiple layers using the Align tool. Sadly: only layer corners get highlighted. –  Eric Bréchemier Feb 14 '11 at 10:12

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