I am trying to bucket fill a layer, but I get this crazy cursor I cant get rid of. I think its because I have something selected. I tired Select All, Select None, but the cursor does not change.

I cant get a hold of that image, screen dump does not get that cursor. Its a small circle with a line across the diameter 45 degrees.

Edit : That cursor is called "circle-slash" icon. It comes when I select a part of the image and try to fill a different part of the image. I either need to select things correctly or I need to edit my selection for painting.

Edit Again : cursor with circle-slash

  • 1
    Is the layer you're trying to fill locked?
    – Brendan
    Jan 14 '13 at 21:59
  • 2
    A screenshot of what you are seeing might be helpful
    – Yisela
    Jan 14 '13 at 22:21
  • I cant give a screen shot, since the cursor does not show up on the screen shot. For some reason it shows up as a regular arrow cursor. Something to do with the way screen shot is taken on ubuntu I guess.
    – Siddharth
    Jan 15 '13 at 3:10
  • Seeing a screenshot will give us a better context for your question, which might allow us to help you even if we can't see the cursor you're trying to point out.
    – Brendan
    Jan 15 '13 at 14:36
  • 1
    Wow, that was exactly my scenario. Thank you!
    – vincent
    Sep 6 '21 at 19:44

Here's the answer you're most likely looking for:

Scenario: say in GIMP you have a logo image, you increase the Canvas, center the logo inside the enlarged canvas, and you want to fill the extra canvas with an eye-dropper color. However, the paint bucket shows a black circle with line through it indicating no-can-do.

Do this: from menu, select "Layer", then "New from visible". Now you can paint bucket fill.

  • you saved my day :) May 7 '14 at 2:42
  • people are liking your answer better, hence the tick.. thanks
    – Siddharth
    Jul 23 '15 at 4:31
  • This worked, but how does it work? I'm hating GIMP.
    – NiteCyper
    Dec 12 '16 at 4:18
  • Well, now "it works" but it simply results in a "no-change" non-event event. That is, it fails silently. Failing silently is a supported feature in GIMP? Hmm, not a design spec I'd approve. Anyhow, a no-fill-event occurs when the fill-event is activated. I've played with various colors and patterns, but the bucket fill does not fill the rectangle drawn with the rectangle select tool. Sep 30 '19 at 13:26

The circle-slash is a indicator that I cannot do that operation as yet in the part where the cursor is currently. I need to move the cursor to a part of the image where it is allowed.

Sometimes the select none option is not visible. God knows why GIMP would not allow Select None, weird. But in such cases, select all, select none works, but sometimes does not. That said, the root cause of that circle-slash is known now.

For downvoters, Its not possible to get a image of the cursor. Hence the cryptic question. I hope you will change your mind.

  • If you're on Windows you can install Greenshot which allows screencapture with the cursor.
    – icc97
    Jan 15 '13 at 15:06
  • Thanks, I have managed to create that cursor. Hopefully the question is more clear. I do want to make sure that my question is not downvoted. It is a valid question, I just need to ensure that its clear and useful to the community.
    – Siddharth
    Jan 16 '13 at 3:25
  • 1
    Just to round things off well, why not take your answer (which you basically edited into your question), edit it into this not-quite-an-answer, then accept it. That way the question shows as answered, which it is. Jan 19 '13 at 3:30
  • Very simple and worked for me. I'm assuming that sometimes Gimp gets confused about where the selection is. This is an easy brute-force way of re-establishing the selection. Thanks!
    – SMBiggs
    Aug 30 '17 at 5:51

Michael Schumacher was right about the root cause. The layer has a fixed size. So the correct answer, at least for Gimp 2.8 is to select the layer, then select "Layer"->"Layer To Image size" from the menu.


I had this same problem, and it was driving me insane. Make sure you have "Background" selected as the layer you are working on. Once I selected it, I could fill in my rectangle select.

  • 1
    The important part is to have a part of the active layer at the location of the selection that is to be filled. The Background layer fulfills this in many, but not all cases - you might have changed the canvas size, or you might have moved the background layer. One thing that is weird to some users, but comes as natural to long-term GIMP users: layers have a finite size in GIMP. This is a long-standing enhancement request, but as it is a bigger change and there's always other stuff that has to be worked on, it has not been tackled yet: bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=93639 Jan 7 '15 at 9:32

I don't think this is the issue OP experienced but the issue I had seems related. GIMP can save a selection area to file. If the file was saved after selecting a single pixel on a large image, the next time it's opened every paint bucket, pencil, brush, etc operation won't work on any layer (except for that single pixel which you might not notice). Just select or deselect all.

  • thanks, this is the correct answer, the dashed line around confused me, I forgot that the dashes must be moving to mean selected. May 21 '20 at 10:03

Another potential solution if creating a new layer from visible does not solve the problem. I had an image where I cleared out the solid background using "Color to Alpha". I could not get GIMP to bucket fill the inside area of the image. I then checked on "Fill transparent areas" checkbox in the Bucket Fill Tool Options (below "Finding Similar Colors" heading) and that did the trick.


I see this is an old question, but I'm going to add another answer anyway since it might be a fix that some people might find helpful.

The real problem here might be that the layer boundary is smaller than the canvas. This is a bit of a guess though.

If this is the case, then it's easily rectified by using Layer > Layer to Image size. This kind of confusion often occurs if a user disables the View > Show layer boundary option, and therefore has no idea or indication where the layer boundary is. If you switched this off, I suggest you switch it back on. The layer boundary shows as a yellow dashed line.

The reason the Bucket Fill Tool fails to work outside the layer boundary is because in GIMP (unlike Photoshop), layers can be a smaller than the canvas. Quite literally, there are no pixels to edit outside the layer boundary. The fix I suggested rectifies that issue.

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