I like to use GIMP with the show layer boundary setting on so that when I'm working with a layer a dashed border appears around it.

enter image description here

However, once I am finished working with the layer - and I'd simply like to view and consider the state of the image - I'd like to dismiss the border by deselecting/deactivating the layer as I find the dashed border distracting.
So far the best solution I have come up with is to select another layer - that is less prominent, but this is not ideal, I'd like it to go away completely.
To be clear, I want to keep show layer boundary on so that in general active layers are bordered, I just want the border to go away by having no layers selected/active.
How can I do this in GIMP 2.8?

  • Have you tried Select > None (ctrl-shift-a)?
    – PieBie
    May 18, 2016 at 5:48
  • That's a layer boundary, not a selection frame. May 18, 2016 at 6:31

2 Answers 2


Since I can't find any native ability to unselect layers in GIMP, this is the (hacky) workaround, I have come up with, I thought I would post this as an answer in case it might be of use to others.
I created a new layer called focus_holder, 1px in size (minimum GIMP would allow) and positioned it under the background.


Then when I want to remove focus away from my "real" layers so that I don't see the borders (also so that if I do something unintentional, like accidentally hit a key on my keyboard I won't rename a "real" layer) I select focus_holder.

  • 1
    This is clever, but gimp should have a built-in solution, for exactly the reasons you express Jan 28, 2022 at 23:05

You could select a channel instead of a layer (that is usually a major problem actually). One functionality that creates a new channel, and move the focus to it is Select->Save to channel - it works regardless of an active selection existing or not.

You can assign a shortcut to it (enable Dynamic keyboard shortcuts in preferences->interface, then hover over the Save to channel option on the select menu and press a key for it (I like to use numbers 1-9 as shortcuts)) - then you can at any time hit "1", followed by ctrl + l (to make the Layers dialog visible again if you want) - and the focused drawable will be the channel, which is always the same size as the image.

  • Good information, it's especially useful to know about this for times when focus could be "secretly" held by the channel - and you can't figure out why GIMP is not behaving as expected! May 19, 2016 at 7:12

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