A very simple exercise in GIMP: create a new (blank) image, open a .jpg image as a new layer, and crop that layer.

What should happen: the canvas should stay the same size, regardless of how much or little the layer is cropped.

What does happen: after cropping, the canvas shrinks to the size of the area selected as the cropped image.

Example: First I create a new image. It's rather large at 7200 pixels wide.

create image

Then I bring a JPG into GIMP by selecting File > Open As Layers. The image is much smaller than my GIMP canvas, so I size it up a bit. I activate the crop tool and select part of the layer:

ready to crop

When I hit enter, the canvas outside the newly-cropped area has been filled with black (note my background and foreground colors are both white). The canvas has in fact shrunk to the selected area. (Image > Canvas Size and the title bar confirm this.)


I confirmed that Image > Canvas Size can be used to expand the canvas beyond the cropped area, which can get me to the result I originally expected. However, this takes an extra, tedious step of resizing the canvas. Can anyone explain if I'm doing something wrong? I'm hoping there is a mundane explanation.

I'm using GIMP v. 2.10.8 on Debian.


1 Answer 1


Yes, there is a mundane explanation, if by default the crop tool deals with the image, it also has a Current layer only option:

enter image description here

You can also make a selection (any shape) and use Layer > Crop to selection. This will crop the layer to the bounding box of the selection (which is the same as the selection for a rectangle selection).

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