I have a 256×256 image with multiple named layers to make it easy to edit game graphics that have transparency as PNG. I want to paste the contents of one layer to the next... so I select the source layer and use Shift-click to make all others invisible, then press Ctrl+C, I then go to the next layer up Shift-click and then paste - but it inserts a "floating layer", I'm misunderstanding something basic here.

I have installed the multi-layer-exporter plugin so my layers all export from the xcf as PNG's. I just want to be able to copy / paste layer contents/pixels. I imagine I could just rename the "floating" layer as a layer, but I want to mask and copy between layers often.

The floating layer is special somehow, what is the intention of the "floating layer"? I am unable to merge it to the layer below, so it is being treated differently to a normal layer.

  • Ah, found it, I right click on the floating layer and choose "anchor layer" if I want to merge it down automatically.
    – Conrad B
    Feb 7, 2021 at 20:27
  • You can answer your question yourself and later accept your own answer. This "wraps up" the question and can perhaps others who has the same problem.
    – Wolff
    Feb 7, 2021 at 20:57
  • Tx @Wolff I'm still not clear on what a "floating layer" is and why it's treated specially. If this is indeed a correct way to copy-paste between layers I shall post as an answer to my question. Just unsure why nobody had asked the same kind of question or my terminology being a bit off.
    – Conrad B
    Feb 7, 2021 at 21:04
  • OK, then give it a little time. I'm sure one of the GIMP users here know the answer.
    – Wolff
    Feb 7, 2021 at 21:07
  • You can avoid creating a floating layer if you use Edit > Paste As > New layer.
    – Billy Kerr
    Feb 7, 2021 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


Using layers to create exportable graphic animations can be done by copying and pasting, but it's trickier than if you finish off one image in the set completely, before adding the layer for the next one. To copy the image to the next Later use Edit > Paste As > New Layer, and rename the layer. It's tempting to name all your blank/draft layers up front so that they export, and if you already did so You can right-click the "floating layer" and Anchor it by clicking Anchor in the context menu, since you cannot merge floating layers.

Far easier however, to finish each layer before creating the next layer. Then when all are done, to export using the plugin and then import them as PNG into Unity or other.

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