I have an image that was masked in photoshop that I have now imported into GIMP. I would like to export only the head as a PNG with background transparency.

I can successfully export the image as a PNG with transparency, but the shape of that image is the entire picture including the large surrounding box. I'm not sure how to explain this clearly. Looking at this image below, the PNG I get has an extra 1" on the right and 3" on the left, a bit at the top and probably 4" at the bottom.

I can see why this is happening - I have marching ants around both the head and the outer box. I feel very stupid, but I can't figure out how to select and then export just the head.


4 Answers 4


Use Image>Zealous crop (if it were for just a layer: Layer>Crop to content).


In your case, use Ctrl+I to invert your selection (selects the head), and then use Image -> Crop to content. Afterwards, it's just a matter of exporting the picture.


I'd try the following approach:

  • invert the selection, to make sure only the head is selected (currently anything but the head is selected)
  • copy
  • paste as new image

From there, you can export it as usual, if the image turned put to be as expected.

GIMP does currently have no way to directly export selected parts to image files, unless you want to venture into scripting, which would then effectively be the same steps as described above done automatically.

  • 3
    I just returned and figured this out. Finally. I used "image - crop to selection" and it treated it as if just the head was selected. As a note - I did have the head selected before (had already used invert). Then when I exported it, I got just the file cropped to just the head. Finally. Thanks so much! Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 17:14

I need to save various parts of an image to separate PNG files, with precised manual selection required.

Since the simple operation seems not possible, I found out that the routine of selecting, typing Y (Crop to selection), Ctrl+Shift+E (Export as), type the new name + Enter, validate the options with Enter, then Ctrl+Z (Cancel crop) to restore the whole image is working fine, relatively painless.

I can even do simple touch ups before exporting (I isolate letters from a lettering, so parts of the surrounding can show off), that's just a few steps more to cancel.

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