I am a GIMP beginner and have successfully created images with my desired transparencies in GIMP. However, I have problems with and can't seem to understand the ins-and-outs of image and canvas sizes.

I have multiple images that I exported from another software program at 8.5x11 (US letter). I create a new image canvas in GIMP (File -> New) and set the size to 8.5x11 (US letter), but when I add my images sometimes the image is cropped (essentially zoomed in) and sometimes it is over-centered (zoomed out). I re-size the canvas successfully but can never get the images to fit correctly. Can someone please clarify the fundamental piece of graphic design knowledge I'm missing here?

I have included a couple of my attempts below. Also, it appears these threads are close to the answer I'm looking for, but miss the mark:

Gimp : difference between crop and canvas size

In GIMP how to scale up image without scaling layers?

Gimp : difference between crop and canvas size

This image was added to GIMP with a canvas size of 8.5x11 inches, just at different zoom levels: enter image description here

enter image description here

  • What exactly do you do? How do you “add your images”? The first thought here is: you should take a look at your images resolution (in PPI). Your problems appears to stem from mismatched resolutions. – thebodzio May 9 '14 at 2:01
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    Have you tried to fit canvas to layer and (if necessary) resize the layer to desired size? – Paolo Gibellini May 9 '14 at 7:30
  • @thebodzio, I'm just dragging and dropping the images into GIMP from windows explorer. – mikeLdub May 9 '14 at 13:55
  • thanks @PaoloGibellini, Fit Canvas to Layer worked. However, I would still love it if someone could clarify for me why an 8x11 image doesn't fit into an 8x11 canvas from the start. – mikeLdub May 9 '14 at 13:58
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    @mikeLdub The resolution is your most probable culprit. It's not enough to say “my image is 8×11.5 in” in the case of raster image. You also have to say how many pixels fit in 1 inch. – thebodzio May 9 '14 at 14:49

As mentioned by thebodzio, you've specified the aspect ratio, but not the size. GIMP has no way of knowing how many pixels are in an inch (ppi), so it guesses.

You can specify the ppi when creating a new image:

enter image description here

Or after the image is created, in Image > Print size:

enter image description here

However the easiest way is to use Fit canvas to layers in Image as mentioned by Paolo Gibellini

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