In Adobe Photoshop I am able to select multiple layers at once with Shift+Click.

How can I do that in GIMP?

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Affect mutliple layers in gimp
    – user598527
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 21:55
  • 1
    @user598527 Considering the question's popularity, a duplicate in the other direction may be more applicable.
    – Stevoisiak
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 17:11
  • Where on the web do we request for Gimp Features, not report bugs????? It's been 8 years, maybe their tech team just doesn't see this as a bug.
    – klewis
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 14:38
  • 3
    This is why I can never use GIMP as my main tool.
    – qwr
    Commented Dec 21, 2020 at 6:43
  • so only select one or select all? if i want to select some of them i have to do it one by one? Commented May 5, 2021 at 0:54

7 Answers 7


It's not possible. The only thing you can do is link layers together or merge them. How to link layers information here.

Link layers

Instead, there are several alternative methods of handling multiple layers, each appropriate to a different task. You can chain layers to move or transform them, shift-click objects on different layers in the canvas to align them, or create a new layer based on all visible layers.


Chaining Layers:

1) Make sure the Layers dialog box is open. If it is not, click on the Windows menu and select "Dockable Dialogs" > "Layers." You can also hold down the "Ctrl" key and press "L."

2) Hover your mouse between the Layer Visibility icon, which looks like an eye, and the layer thumbnail. A raised box will appear. Click this box to activate the chain.

3) Repeat this process on all of the other layers you wish to chain together. Once these layers are chained, you can move or apply transformation effects to all of them simultaneously.

Selecting for Alignment

4) Make sure the Toolbox is open. If it is not, click on the Windows menu and select "Toolbox." You can also hold down the "Ctrl" key and press "B."

5) Click on the Alignment Tool in the Toolbox. It looks like an empty rectangle with arrows pointing away from all sides of it.

6) Press and hold the "Shift" key while clicking on the layers in the canvas. Or click somewhere off the layers and drag a selection rectangle around them. Once you have selected these layers, you can choose an alignment method.

Merging Visible Layers

7) Make sure the Layers dialog box is open. If it is not, click on the Windows menu and select "Dockable Dialogs" > "Layers." You can also hold down the "Ctrl" key and press "L."

8) Click on the Visibility icon on any layer you do not want to include in your new layer. This will render that layer invisible.

9) Click on the Layers menu and select "New from Visible."

10) Select the option that best describes how you want the layers to be merged from the dialog box that appears, and click "Merge." This will merge all of the visible layers into a new layer but will not affect your original layers.

Source here.

  • Edit: My bad. I didn't follow the instructions carefully. "New From Visible" works like a charm. Commented Sep 2, 2016 at 13:31
  • Not working: how to select a group for COPY/PAST? Need to duplicate a set of boxes. Commented Dec 9, 2018 at 8:05
  • chaining layers does not seem to work for moving them simultaneously... (i'm trying to move them down below another layer)
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 25, 2019 at 17:37
  • Is there a feature request / bug report to make it possible? Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 19:59
  • 11
    Sorry, but this sucks.
    – Artfaith
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 22:31

You can (from 2.8 on) make use of layer groups to get most of the functionality you might want:


From the GIMP docs:

You can create a layer group either by

  1. Clicking on the Create a new layer group button at the bottom of the layer dialog (looks like a folder icon)

  2. Through Layer → New Layer Group, or

  3. Through the layer dialog context menu.

You can drag existing layers into the new Layer Group to add them. Then, transformations (move, scale etc.) applied to the Group as a whole will be performed on all the layers in that group.

  • 1
    The feature it's only in available in RGB and greyscale color modes.
    – Pablo A
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 4:34
  • 8
    is there a way to move ALL layers into a group, instead of dragging manually, one-by-one, 100+ layers? Commented Jan 17, 2020 at 16:36
  • 5
    As of 2020, you still can't drag multiple layers into and/or out of folders. Come on Gimp!
    – klewis
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 21:41
  • 2020-10-21 I was able to drag layers into the group, but I wasn't able to move all the layers as one group. Not sure what this group feature even does. Commented Oct 21, 2020 at 17:59
  • Not useful, since you still have to click on every layer individually - might as well just do the action individually. Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 23:07

In GIMP 2.10, this is now possible. Thanks to @Michael Schumacher for the bug link: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=730216


  1. Create a Layer Group
  2. Add layers into layer group
  3. Select the Layer Group
  4. Click and Hold the Shift Key, while Mouse Dragging Layer Group to new location.
  • 2
    Still not useful, since you generally don't want layers in a group because they may not BE in a group. I.e. you may have other groupable properties in each layer, but want to act on multiple layers from multiple groups. And anyway, you still have to add them individually, do your action, and then remove them - it's just a complete mess. Commented Feb 9, 2023 at 23:09

This is not possible in GIMP, up to and including 2.8.x.

If and when it is available (in the then-current development branch at least), then the corresponding enhancement request at https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=730216 will be marked resolved fixed.

It is becoming available in the current development branch - that is, GIMP 2.99.x - see https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gimp/-/issues/557 (the same issue as the one linked before, in a new issue tracker).

User interaction is not complete yet, but at least it's a start.


Hold the Shift key and click on the chain icon next to any layer. It will affect all the layers.

  • That will lock them together for movement, but not for things like delete layer. Plus, you may not want all 100 layers selected, you may just want 50 of them Commented Feb 10, 2023 at 0:26

A quick workaround - bring focus to the first link of the first layer and select it --> down arrow on keyboard --> enter button --> down arrow --> enter --> arrow --> enter . . . . . I did 150 layers in 20 seconds or so . . . .


Here is the Essential Visual-Tip: http://tutorialforlinux.com/2014/08/01/how-to-select-more-layers-on-the-gimp-for-linux-mac-windows-easy-visual-guide/

  • 7
    Please edit your answer to include some more information. Links die, and we aim at having answers that are valid regardless of other sites. If you could give a description of the process and then add the link as a reference, that would be preferable.
    – benteh
    Commented Aug 2, 2014 at 9:28
  • The tutorial referenced here is basically the same as Justin Boo's answer. Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 12:55

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