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
    Jan 15 '17 at 21:55
  • 1
    @user598527 Considering the question's popularity, a duplicate in the other direction may be more applicable.
    – Stevoisiak
    Aug 18 '17 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
    May 13 '20 at 14:38
  • 1
    This is why I can never use GIMP as my main tool.
    – qwr
    Dec 21 '20 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? May 5 '21 at 0:54

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. Sep 2 '16 at 13:31
  • Not working: how to select a group for COPY/PAST? Need to duplicate a set of boxes. Dec 9 '18 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
    Aug 25 '19 at 17:37
  • Is there a feature request / bug report to make it possible? Apr 20 '20 at 19:59
  • 7
    Sorry, but this sucks.
    – Angel
    Jul 10 '20 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
    Apr 17 '18 at 4:34
  • 7
    is there a way to move ALL layers into a group, instead of dragging manually, one-by-one, 100+ layers? Jan 17 '20 at 16:36
  • 4
    As of 2020, you still can't drag multiple layers into and/or out of folders. Come on Gimp!
    – klewis
    May 12 '20 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. Oct 21 '20 at 17:59

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.

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.


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/

  • 6
    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
    Aug 2 '14 at 9:28
  • The tutorial referenced here is basically the same as Justin Boo's answer. Dec 17 '16 at 12:55

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