I'm making an animated GIF using layers in GIMP. I have an image of an equation that I want to put on the same place in each frame. I tried opening the equation in GIMP, and then copy and pasting it into my layers, moving it to the location I want using the mouse, and then anchoring it. However, it only appears on one layer and hence on one frame. I can manually repeat for each frame but then I can't get it to the exact same place in every frame. Is there a better way to do this, i.e. anchor a floating selection to all layers at once?

  • Hi there, and welcome to GD! It would be most helpful if you could add some screenshots and show us what you have tried and where exactly you get stuck. This saves everybody time, and makes it more likely that you will get helpful answers.
    – benteh
    Apr 17, 2014 at 18:08

2 Answers 2


No - a Floating Selection is internally attached to the layer it was pasted into. I suggest you try one of the following workarounds:

1) Promote the Floating Selection to a New Layer (just press the new layer button); Position this layer; Duplicate it as many times as you want; For each duplicate, manipulate the layer stack to place it above one of your destination layers; Select "Merge down" on the layer context menus. it is possible to create a single script that would automate the steps after you position the pasted layer, or even simply automate the task from either the script-fu or python-fu consoles. But I prefer the method described bellow:

2) My personal favorite for creating animations in GIMP: work with two images - one in which you have your elements in separate layers (including your equation), which you position as you want; a second image where you will compose the animation, in which each layer will be a frame; Make use of edit->copy visible on the first image, and edit->paste; layer->New layer in the second image. That way, for each frame you rearrange your elements freely on the first image, and put "snapshots" of your composition as frames - more or less like producing a stop-motion animation. (use the preferences to assign easy shortcuts to "copy visible" and "paste as new layer" - if you assign easy shortcuts like, say, "1" and "2", it is really a breeze)


There's likely a faster way to do this somehow (and if I had to do this for more than a handful of frames I would have probably used ffmpeg) but the fastest way I was able to do this in GIMP was by first, preparing the overlay as a layer, selecting and copying that layer, selecting the bottom layer in the layers tab, pressing Ctrl-V to paste the overlay, Ctrl-H to anchor it, pressing the up key to select the next layer, and repeating that process (paste, anchor, next layer, repeat.) Not having to touch the mouse sped it up a bit-- even though it's still a tedious manual process.

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