I am quite new to GIMP.

I created some text and set it along a path. I created a selection with the same shape as my text.

If I try to fill this selection with a color (Cmd. or Cmd,) GIMP appears to fill the selection, yet I see no visible color.

Why isn't the color fill visible?

enter image description here

  • 1
    When dealing with transparent layers, I often place a temporary layer on the bottom of the layer stack filled with white so I can see what I am doing a little better. I toggle its visibility on and off as needed. Additionally, I like to toggle off (hide) the selection marquee (aka rubber band) so that I can see what is happening. In the GIMP, I think it is "View>Show Selection".
    – horatio
    Jan 28, 2014 at 18:20
  • 2
    Make sure the selection is not outside the active layer. If that's not it, could you upload a screenshot of your settings?
    – gandalf3
    May 31, 2014 at 23:01
  • For me, the issue was that my image was in Index mode instead of RGB mode.
    – Josh Noe
    May 18, 2015 at 19:03

4 Answers 4


You're on the right track, try this out:

  1. Lets call the layer with text as "Text-Layer"
  2. Right click on Text-Layer and then click on "Alpha to Selection"
  3. After the selection, create a New Layer
  4. Make sure you are working in this newly created layer and not any other layer (!imp)
  5. Now fill the selection with your preferred way
  6. Also make sure that newly created layer is above the Text-Layer, so that Text-Layer doesn't hide the fill effect in new layer.

My guess is, you might be missing the 4th step.


Use the paint bucket tool instead of the keyboard shortcuts.


"GIMP appears to fill the selection, yet I see no visible color"

uh? If you can't see any change, what makes you think that Gimp did something?

Your layer is possibly alpha-locked, which means that the pixels keep their opacity (in other words, you can only change RGB, and not alpha, by painting). The alpha-lock is the checkerboard icon in the "Lock" line at the top of the layers list:

enter image description here

Just click it again to reset it (the "set" status of the icon isn't very visible)

  • If it wasn't able to do anything, e.g. due to alpha-lock, or the selection being outside the active layer. it really ought to inform the user appropriately, rather than having them continue fumbling around in the dark.
    – Jake
    Nov 6, 2022 at 1:01
  • There are plenty of cases when you indeed want nothing to happen (or so little it is hardly visible).
    – xenoid
    Nov 6, 2022 at 1:32
  • Depends how you work. In my case, the selection was outside the active layer. But since GIMP silently filled nothing, I wasted considerable time figuring out why it wasn't working.
    – Jake
    Nov 6, 2022 at 2:50

I had to right click on the layer I had just created, select Edit Attributes and then set opacity to 100%. For some reason the New Layer functionality created it at 0% opaque and thus invisible.

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