I'm having a weird behavior when trying to move a selected rectangle or polygon in a layer. I do the next:

1. Select layer.

select layer

I want to move the shine that belongs to the brillos y manchas layer:


2. Select rectangle or polygon.

select polygon

The selection is the small polygon.

3. Then I try to move the selection:

move selection

but it's not moved.

not moved

The first that came into my head is that the shine didn't belong to that layer, but it does. Any idea on what I am doing wrong?

  • An easy way to do this is make your selection, Cut then Paste As > New Layer. Then you can use the Move tool on it, in Layer mode (not Selection mode). The float method is possible too, but too complicated for newbies (or Photoshop users) to get their head round.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Apr 1, 2017 at 11:00

2 Answers 2


Your move tool is set to move the selection, not the area selected by.

You should:

  1. Transform your selection to a float selection using Select->Float

  2. In the move tool options choose to move Layer instead to Selection (by pressing the first icon near "Move" in "Tool Options")

Now, it should be possible to move the shine.

  • Thanks. I did it adding a new layer and doing copy and paste the selection from the old layer to the new one. Then I could merge both. But your answer is a faster way.
    – Manolo
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 15:12
  • Usually after the paste operation the selection is in float state (moveable). Btw, nice image. Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 17:15
  • 5
    Thanks for the answer. But are you serious? That is the most user-unfriendly way to implement this feature. I didn't think I would have to look this hard to figure out how to move a selection. Commented Jul 15, 2015 at 19:16
  • @bluecollarcoder it could seem user-unfriendly, but is an effective way to avoid to move unintentionally a selection. Anyway, you can float a selection using the shortcut Shift+Ctrl+L and anchor it using Ctrl+H. Commented Jul 16, 2015 at 9:28
  • 1
    Shift+Ctrl+L is unfortunately a horrid shortcut, because you can't do it with your left hand alone (unless you have a really huge palm...), and in an application like Gimp your right hand is usually on the mouse. So even Ctrl+x Ctrl+v is faster (but it replaces your clipboard content). But, Alt+Ctrl+drag is the real deal, as the other answer says.
    – ddekany
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 13:49

The "Move selection" in the Move tools is about moving the selection mask, not the selected pixels.

Right after you have made a selection, you can

  • Alt-Ctrl-drag (Alt-Cmd-drag on OSX).
  • Alt-Shift-drag

This makes a floating selection automatically (copy+paste with shift, cut+paste with Control/Cmd) and starts moving it.

When done, don't forget to anchor the selection in its source (Ctrl-H, Cmd-H on OSX), or create a new layer with it (Ctrl-Shift-N, Cmd-Shift-N on OSX).

  • 2
    This solution is even faster than the accepted answer. Use Command + Alt on a Mac instead and remember to anchor the selection down with Command + H afterwards.
    – daniels
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 8:22
  • Should be the accepted answer. Also, Alt+Shift+drag copies instead of cutting, i.e., it doesn't leave a hole behind. It also worth noting that Alt+(Ctrl or Shift)+drag can and should be released immediately after you have started to drag (and so the selection has already become to a float layer). If you keep holding the keys, Ctrl for example will restrict the movement to exactly horizontal and exactly vertical.
    – ddekany
    Commented Nov 15, 2017 at 13:43
  • I also needed to collapse the layer (Layer ==> Merge Down) Commented Jul 7, 2019 at 9:34

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