I have a rectangle selection. As long as I stay on the rectangle selection tool I can click in the rectangle to change the size.

If I switch to another tool (e.g. move tool) and then come back to the rectangle selection tool it seems I can no longer edit the size of the selection. What I'd like is to be able to somehow re-activate the selection so that I can resize it to adjust the dimensions.

Is this possible in GIMP or do I have to create a brand new selection?

  • 3
    You can click inside the selection once again with the rectangle tool. That will make it editable again..
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 7:19
  • @BillyKerr woah that works! Felt like I had tried something similar before and it never worked hence my question. Feel free to make an answer
    – User
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 8:51
  • Glad it worked for you. I have added it as an answer.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 9:42
  • Possible duplicate: graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/71461/… Commented May 19, 2017 at 5:38
  • 3
    Strictly speaking, the selection you get from using the rectangle tool on an existing selection is a new one. This is more obvious if you had edited the selection to be no rectangle anymore - try to modify a feathered selection, for example. Commented May 19, 2017 at 8:15

3 Answers 3


After using a selection, or switching tools such as using the Move Tool, you can make the selection editable once again by choosing the Rectangle Select Tool, and clicking inside the selection.

Move Tool deactivates selection editability

Screenshot: Move Tool deactivates selection editablility

Choose the Rectangle Select Tool, and click inside the selection. This restores the editability of the selection.

Screenshot, Restoring editability of Selection

  • Wonderful, thank you! I've been using GIMP for a while now, and had no idea this was possible.
    – SilverWolf
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 21:11

If - while making the selection - you know that you will want to come back to it later, you can save it using the selection menu and restore the selection using the channels dialogue.
So say you have your image and you want to save a particular selection, you can:

make a selection

enter image description here

paint flickr photo by Dean Hochman shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

then save it to a channel:

enter image description here

carry on doing some other editing, then restore the selection

enter image description here


To move, scale rotate, or else an existing selection we first choose the appropriate tool (in the example below Scale Tool). In the tool's options tab we than have to tick Transform Selection.

enter image description here

After clicking on the selection watch the ants change to a grid.

enter image description here

From the scale tool we can now drag the corners or give in fixed values for width or height.

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