In GIMP I have 2 images with exact same size and properties but different layers. Now I have a relatively large layer group, which I would like to copy to the other image. As usual I copy and paste it. Now it is a floating selection. As suggested in the docs, I click to anchor the floating selection. However, after clicking "anchor", floating selection disappears.

Is my GIMP has a bug or am I doing something wrong here?

Correction: I can copy a layer group but it comes flattened/merged as one single layer. I do want to keep it as a layer group.


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).

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  • I tried this (in 2.8.4) and it didn't work for me. Were you able to test and confirm that this works? – Scribblemacher Aug 28 '15 at 17:26
  • Yes, I did confirm this before writing my answer. 2.8.4 is ancient, though - I'm using 2.8.14. – Michael Schumacher Aug 28 '15 at 17:30
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    Linux Mint, Gimp 2.8.10. Dragging fials to both image and Layers panel. It starts, but dropping does nothing. – Zon Sep 28 '17 at 5:27
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    The details are key: left click and drag the layer by its NAME up to the tab of the other file. Wait...after a second or so Gimp will switch to that tab (don't let go yet!). Once the new tab is active, continue dragging DOWN into the work area until a Plus (+) sign appears. Then release the left mouse button. The new layer group will appear immediately above the last active layer in this 2nd tab. – SMBiggs Jun 19 '19 at 2:53
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    @Scott Biggs is correct. But it's so counterintuitive--you must drag from the layer list, but must drop onto the working space (instead of the other project's layer list)--that I think it should count as a bug. – Phil Goetz Nov 21 '19 at 22:48

Save the original image with the layer group as an xcf. In the new image, and open the original as layers (File > Open as Layers). This will add all of the layers from the original image.

You'll need to delete the layers from the new image that you don't want. Unfortunately you can't pick/choose what layers you import. But as long as this is only a one-time transfer (i.e. you don't need to copy/paste the layer group back and forth) this should work.

EDIT: This was tested in GIMP 2.8.4. Michael's answer is a better way, if you are using a version of GIMP that supports it.

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  • I didn't test this, but I think this also works out well. I could not upvote it sorry! (requires 15 reputation) – Genom Aug 30 '15 at 12:48

Actually, yes, you can use Copy & Paste, you'll just want to rename the floating layer, and it creates a new layer with that content. I use GIMP 2.8.8 and it does that.

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