Very standard use-case to lock a layer from unintentional modifications in graphic tools. How is this possible in GIMP?

I've tried the "Lock pixels" "Lock alpha channel", also the layer menu doesn't show anything related. Anyone have a way around to achieve this effect?

Update - 2019-07-18: Seems to be implemented in the meantime, see accepted answer.

2 Answers 2


Update: GIMP 2.10.x supports locking layer position — so you are an upgrade away (:

To enable it: select the "arrow-cross" lock type from the Lock: section above the layers panel.

screenshot of UI

Old answer for posterity:

The answer is unfortunate: you can't lock layer position.

You can work around this a little bit by using the "Move the active layer" option on the "Move" tool. But then you have to manually select the active layer from the list, rather than clicking, which is sub-optimal.

The "new lock" referred to in Michael Schumacher's comment, seems to be slated for version 2.10.

See also:


From the doc:


You have two possibilities:

  • Lock pixels: when this option is checked, you can't modify layer pixels. This may be necessary to protect them from unwanted changes.

So what makes you think it doesn't work?

  • 1
    You can still move it - this is fixed with an additional lock. But you can still have it as the active layer. You can switch its visiblity. You can delete it. You can change its order in the layer stack. You have to cycle through it when navigating layers with the keyboard... Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 21:46
  • OK.. But if you can't "change its order in the layer stack" you are in effect locking the whole stack...
    – xenoid
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 23:06
  • 1
    @MichaelSchumacher what is that "additional lock"? because that layer moving around is basically my problem.
    – p1100i
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 8:28
  • Locking the layer position - in regard to its x and y coordinates in the image, at least - is a new lock in the current development versions. If this is what your question is about, then you should reword and extend it. Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 12:32
  • @xenoid nitpicking. hm? :) But yes, the behaviour of unselectable layers in the stack would have to be well defined. The fact that their position in the stack can change if the position of other layers changes, provided that theirs cannot be changed directly, might be enough for some use cases. Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 13:45

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