Trying to edit a text layer which was rotated pops up the following message:

The layer you selected is a text layer but it has been modified using other tools. Editing the layer with the text tool will discard these modifications.

Is there a different method/tool to edit a rotated text layer and keep the original rotation.


No. Text layers are special animals because as long as they aren't subject to any modification outside the Text tool Gimp keeps them as vectors and retains the text information (font, size, spacing, kerning...). But as soon as something changes outside of the text tool they are converted to bitmap(*).

Btw, rotating a text layer is usually a bad idea because rotation of a bitmap implies an interpolation of pixels which results in blurred edges. A better technique to keep sharp edges is to:

  • Keep your text layer as a text layer (which solves part of your problem)
  • Layer>Text to path to generate a path from your layer
  • Apply the transform tool to the path (all transform tools have a Transform: option to make them apply to the current layer (default), the selection mask, or the active path).
  • Get a selection from the path (Select>From path) and bucket-fill it on a new layer

(*) I admit that transform tools ought to be able to keep them as text, though....

Edit for Gimp 2.10: In Gimp 2.10 the text tool can create vertical text (which is the most frequent use case of text rotation). This rotated text is of course editable.

  • (*) patches are welcome! :-)
    – jsbueno
    Mar 27 '17 at 13:56
  • Thanks for the answer and the extra short guide. I can't see a reason why rotating a text element won't more-or-less follow a process similar to what you described. For sports I rotate a text element and placed another element next to it according to your description, and seems like the results are identical. Mar 28 '17 at 20:55
  • There is a difference. With the path-based technique the anti-aliasing pixels are redone from scratch. When rotating the layer, these are just interpolated from the existing ones. It is more noticeable in some cases.
    – xenoid
    Mar 29 '17 at 7:41
  • OK, I think you're referring to a case where I rotate the font layer, and then rotate it again. I understand that in the second rotation I'm already rotating a bitmap. I was more referring to rotating an original text layer (before it became a bitmap). But I do get your point. 10x. Apr 5 '17 at 13:58
  • I did not get this solution working, a video could be useful.
    – baptx
    May 8 '20 at 15:52

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