This is how I draw rectangles in GIMP:

  1. Select a foreground color.
  2. Select a rectangular area using the Rectangle Select Tool.
  3. Edit > Stroke Selection

Using this method, I drew two rectangles: a red rectangle, followed by a blue rectangle.


My problem: I changed my mind about the position of the rectangles. I now want to move, resize, and rotate my rectangles. I want to move the red rectangle somewhere else. Same thing for the blue rectangle.

I tried to use the Move Tool to move each rectangle, but that did not work; the Move Tool moved the entire drawing area.

My question is: how do I move, resize, and rotate the rectangles I have drawn, after I have drawn them?

  • 2
    If you didnt draw them on separate layers then start over its easier. Are you sure you dont want to use inkscape instead.
    – joojaa
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 16:22
  • 1
    You will need to put the rectangles on individual layers if you want to move them. That's how raster image editors like GIMP work. It's all about layers! Do a search on youtube for beginner tutorials - search for "GIMP layers tutorial".
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


It's useful to know how GIMP "thinks" about images. The two rectangles you have already drawn aren't considered to be separate objects. The whole thing is considered to be a drawing of two rectangles. You can think of it a lot like real drawing, where you've drawn two rectangles on the same piece of paper. Once you've drawn them, the only way to change it is to draw something different ontop of it, or erase the part you don't want, and draw it again.

The conventional way to work around this problem is by working with layers. You can think of this exactly like drawing on clear transparencies and stacking them ontop of each other. If you draw a red rectangle on one, and a blue rectangle on a new transparency (layer), then you can move each transparency (layer) without changing the other one. Just like transparencies, the order in which you stack them is meaningful, so you can even rearrange the "stack" of layers in GIMP to make sure that the rectangle you want to be on top, looks like it's on top.

If you want to do more research, the technical term for the way GIMP handles images is "rasterized," which means it's just a set of colored pixels. Incidentally, Photoshop does the same thing. The other way images are handled is called "vectors," which is more like a set of lines and points that you can then turn into a set of pixels if you want. Although you can do vector graphics in both Photoshop and GIMP, they are not the right tools for them.

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