I'm trying to scale a layer but would like to use a different center of transformation from the default which seems to be the top left corner (or another corner if the handles are used). Even if I could scale (interactively) around the center of the layer would help. Best would be if I could scale around the top center of the layer/image.

This is quite basic but I couldn't find any hint in the Gimp help, nor searching online on how to do this. Generally, when I need help with Gimp and search the document and online, I most often end up with no answers at all, even about basic things like this one. In contrast, when I need help with Blender, I can find what I need in a very short time. Is there really no good documentation for Gimp or am I missing something?

2 Answers 2


There is no center in scale operations. You can drag the layer around while you scale it by dragging it by the center circle.

Just in case, if you want to scale to adjust the layer accurately to match something in another layer, there are scripts for this, for instance this one (script does scale + rotate in one single operation, this avoids interpolating twice).

Edit 2018: In Gimp 2.10 the "Unified transform tool" will let you rotate and scale around a fixed point that you can set. For instance to align two faces you would:

  • move one face until one of the eyes overlap its counterpart in the other face,
  • start the Unified transform tool,
  • set the pivot point on the center of the matching eyes,
  • scale and rotate to make the other eyes overlap.

The script above is no longer necessary (but still useful in some cases).

  • In that case I'd be interested in any method meant to simplify precision in transformation. Something more efficient than scaling by trial and error: scaling, aligning to see if it fits, undoing, scaling again... until it fits.
    – Booth
    Sep 23, 2016 at 8:41
  • @booth added link to script in answer. The link downloads zip with python Gimp plugin and HTML doc.
    – xenoid
    Sep 23, 2016 at 9:21
  • could you also add link to description of plugin so I can read what it does exactly? I tried to find one based on your link and landed at gimp-tools.sourceforge.net but couldn't find a plugin there that does transformations with more control.
    – Booth
    Sep 23, 2016 at 9:55
  • @booth The download includes a doc. Description isn't available elsewhere.
    – xenoid
    Sep 23, 2016 at 10:08
  • right, I can see it now. For some reason, at first try, I found a single .py file in the download, nothing else... I'll have a look into this and come back to accept your answer later. Thank you.
    – Booth
    Sep 23, 2016 at 10:18

Super simple - to scale from the center...

Layer > Scale Layer...

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