This might be a stupid question, but is it not possible to add an empty, transparent layer to a new file without having a different, imported layer in the scene already? Everything is greyed out and I don't understand why I can't just do something like:

Add empty layer 1080px1080p.

  • You can't add a layer if no image is open. This is how all raster image editing software works, not just GIMP.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 7:45
  • 1
    I'd suggest you do File > New, set the document size to 1080 x 1080px, click Advanced Options, select Fill with: Transparency.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


You need an image to add a layer. When you start Gimp and see

enter image description here

there is no image yet. You can create a new image with File > New ... and then you will be able to add layers to it.

By default the initial layer is filled with the background color (which itself is white unless you have changed it) but you change the filler in the preferences:

enter image description here

You can also define an image template. Open the templates list (Windows > Dockable dialog > Templates if it is no longer in your UI) and click the Create new template icon a the bottom:

enter image description here

You get a dialog where you should at leas give a name➊, a size➋, and in your case set the filler for the initial layer➌:

enter image description here

If you create a template you can set the default image from it using the selector at the top:

enter image description here

  • thanks for the detailed answer. I though "File>New" would just create a new xcf savefile.
    – J.Doe
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:07
  • @J.Doe - When you create a new document in GIMP, the XCF is not saved. The document resides only in memory, inside GIMP, until you actually save it or export it.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 7, 2022 at 18:04

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