I'd like to draw an arrow in GIMP (which was answered by How do I insert arrows into a picture in GIMP?), but the problem is I'd like a black outline (or stroke) for a red arrow. I somehow managed this with an earlier picture in GIMP of mine:

enter image description here

note how there's a black outline around it. The problem is, I've forgotten how, so how do I? I know I create arrows using the arrow script. Just it doesn't create a black outline...

  • My first thought was that Gimp might not be so great for stuff like this. Then I realized that I only know annotation applications that are meant for screenshots, which actually may or may not be an issue. Snagit (win/mac) can import images. Here's a link to a page with a video at the top about "Snagit Editor". Drawing/editing arrows (and stuff) is way easier in a dedicated "annotation app" compared to Gimp or Photoshop. You can also drag the midpoint of the arrow in Snagit to curve it.
    – Joonas
    Jun 7, 2018 at 11:40
  • 1
    I use Linux, not macOS or Windows. Thanks for trying to help, however.
    – Josh Pinto
    Jun 7, 2018 at 11:50
  • I figured you might be, but there could be similar apps for Linux too. I don't know any though.
    – Joonas
    Jun 7, 2018 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


Choose a background colour and a foreground colour that contrast. The background will be the fill colour of the arrow, the foreground will be the stroke colour.

  1. Draw an arrow shape with the Paths tool.

  2. Press Enter to turn it into a selection. Click Edit > Fill with BG color

  3. Click Select > None

  4. Click Edit > Stroke Path choose the line width you want - and it will be stroked with the foreground color.

  • How about if it was created using the arrow script?
    – Josh Pinto
    Jun 7, 2018 at 11:30
  • @BH2017 I have no idea since I've never used an arrow script, however if it creates a shape you can select, then you can apply a stroke to it in the same way.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 7, 2018 at 11:32
  • Pressing enter doesn't turn it into a selection, unfortunately.
    – Josh Pinto
    Jun 7, 2018 at 11:33
  • @BH2017 It does for me, but if it doesn't work for you, you can right click the path in the Paths panel, and choose Stroke Path
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 7, 2018 at 11:33
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    @BH2017 - GIMP is complex software, as is other similar software such as Photoshop. If someone told you it was easy, they lied! I think your difficulty here is understanding layers. The last couple of images you posted show the arrow is on the same layer as the rest of the graphic. To select the arrow with Alpha to selection, it needs to be on its own layer. Layers are crucial to software like GIMP/Photoshop. It's how content is kept separate and editable.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 7, 2018 at 18:10

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