I recently heard about an interesting shortcut, in Photoshop, involving holding Alt (I think) while clicking on a color and automatically creating a layer of that color in the image document.

That is, doing this will take every pixel in the graphic that matches the color and add it to a new layer in the layer group; and it is done with a modifier and a single click.

This sounds very useful, as this general procedure is something I will frequently do while doing a hand drawing. However, I'm primarily a GIMP user and plugin writer, and this isn't significant enough to change over.

Does GIMP have a shortcut like that built into it already? Or will I have to write a Python macro or something similar to do it?


1 Answer 1


In Photoshop (I think this is what you are referring to)

  1. Use Select > Color range to make a selection by colour

  2. Do Layer > New > Layer via copy or Ctrl+J


  1. Use the Select by Colour tool to make a selection by colour

  2. Do Edit > Copy or Ctrl+C

  3. Do Edit > Paste as > New Layer in Place

There's no default shortcut in GIMP for the last operation, but you could easily set one up in the keyboard shortcuts using Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts.

Note: You can't skip the copy step in GIMP because it has no direct one click equivalent to Layer via Copy in PS. The result is exactly the same though, but requires two operations instead of one.

Could you script it or create a plugin? Possibly, but what would be the point? To save one keypress seems hardly worth the trouble. But sure, knock yourself out!

  • Thanks, I might do it just to remind myself how to use Python in GIMP. (For image stuff, C is much faster; so I may have gotten Python-lazy.) The only reason I might do this is if I was working on several pieces in a single day on a deadline; then the biggest problem with multi-step processes is that they can be a bit of a distraction. Separating things with just a single click, like the shortcut I was referring to, just makes my mouth water. Jul 15, 2021 at 19:23
  • "Edit > Paste as > New Layer in Place" can also be done with Ctrl-V, Ctrl-Shift-N.
    – xenoid
    Jul 16, 2021 at 12:01

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