I have seen Copy/Paste Layers from one Project to another? on the GIMP forum:

Yes, you make the layer active, and Select>all + Edit>Copy and then in the target image do Edit>Paste as>New layer. But you can also more simply drag the thumbnail of the layer in the Layers list of the source image to the canvas of the target image (in single-window mode, you may have to drag to the tab of the target image).

... and How to copy a layer group to another image in GIMP? :

Copy&paste is the wrong approach to copy layers from one image to another - this will only transfer the layer content, and as you have discovered that isn't the same as a layer or group of layers.

Instead, drag the layer or layer group from the layers dialog of the source image to an image window of the target image. This will keep them intact, including any possible layer parasites (this is important for text layers, for example).

Now, I have three images, opened in Gimp, all of the same size and layout (say, screenshots of a window). I position some text on the first image, which becomes a text layer – and I want this text copied to the second image at the same location.

  • There is no specific "copy/paste layer" command in Gimp accessible via menus, so I cannot use that.
  • I drag the text layer from the source to the target image, and drop it on the canvas there – but of course, it somehow ends up at the location I released the mouse.
  • Now I have to spend extra time clicking re-positioning the text layer.

Is there an equivalent of me just doing: click to copy (text) layer, click to change tab to destination, and click to paste (text) layer in the destination image at the same relative position (as in the source image), and with all the text-layer properties editable?

2 Answers 2


No equivalent... however for what you want to do, I use a different angle:

  • I edit the three screenshots as layers of the same image (which also makes it easy to crop them exactly the same if necessary)
  • I add text layers/annotations/highlights as distinct layers.
  • If necessary I create layer groups that contain one of the screenshots and other layers that are specific to it.
  • I export the final image(s) after making visible the adequate layers or groups.

This avoids the duplication of the text layers, which is nice because I often change my mind about the font or fix typos later in the process, and don't have to copy the layers around after this.

  • Excellent suggestion, "how come I didn't think of this" :) - many thanks, much appreciated!
    – sdbbs
    Feb 23, 2023 at 8:38

An alternative approach that might be easier is to just duplicate the entire XCF, and replace the images rather than the text.

Bascically create one layout, with all your text layers. Save the XCF. Then do Image > Duplicate or use the shortcut Ctrl+D.

This will open a new file, basically a duplicate of the original. Add new image/s and delete the old. Save with a new file name. Repeat to create additional layouts.

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