I am brand new to Gimp and I couldn't find the answer to this simple question after a quick google search. I have a text object and have applied a drop shadow filter on it. I am wondering if there is anyway to modify this filter instead of deleting it and creating a new filter with different values. Sorry if this seems like a dumb question I am very new. Thank you for any help!

  • here we knock our head to GIMP's probably most annoying feature: Filters generally do not have proper preview of the result. One must input the parameters as blind. The result also is very rarely readjustable. The only way forward is often to undo the result and try again.
    – user82991
    Jul 10, 2017 at 7:05
  • 1
    The current development version is better in that regard - many filters have on-canvas previews. Turning those temporarily re-adjustable previews into permanently re-adjustable effects is planned for GIMP 3.2. How fast GIMP gets there depends on the ratio of contributors to complainers :) Jul 10, 2017 at 8:20
  • Usually this would require nondestructive editing. In this case you can edit the shadow later because the filter author decided to place the shadow on a new layer. Eventually it's a workaround because you don't apply the filter the way you want, but fiddle around with what you found. The way Gimp is hacked on don't expect real nondestructive editing before 2040. Jul 12, 2017 at 5:18

4 Answers 4


In general, the answer is no.

For the drop shadow, it is a bit different: the shadow layer is a distinct layer, so you can still move it, adjust its opacity or even changing its color without redoing it from scratch.


You can't without deleting the layer made by the drop shadow filter, although you can move the layer, and you could apply additional filters to the shadow layer.

However, there is a Layer Effects plugin written in Python which allows for some adjustability, with a live preview option that can be activated before you apply a drop shadow. But after you've applied it, you'd still need to delete the layers created to make a different drop shadow.

The Layer Effects plugin is contained in the GIMP Extensions pack here (Windows installer)

Or if you just want the Python script you can download it here

Here's a screenshot of the plugin in action

enter image description here

  • Make sure that you place all of these extensions into a new plug-ins directory, though, and do not use an existing one. (For those who know about some typical Windows platform issues: yep, it's due to DLL hell) Jul 10, 2017 at 8:23
  • @MichaelSchumacher - the GIMP Extension pack I linked to is a windows installer, and yes it can cause problems. But if you just need the Layer Effects you can get it here - no DLLs, just a little Python script. I've added the link to my answer.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 10, 2017 at 8:31
  • Yes, getting only the plug-in(s) you need is definitely a better approach than those more or less randomly selected packs. Jul 10, 2017 at 8:47

Next time you wanna add effects to GIMP layers consider one of the follwing techniques to be able to control them:

  • Layer backup: In this technique you create a duplicate layer from the original one and do all your effects on it. And you should hide the original one and name it like this:

layer_name [backup]

  • Filters group: In this technique you would create a layer group and then create a layer for every filter that you want to add to your original layer. In this case you can turn the filters on/off later and have control over them. You can name the filter group like this:

layer_name [filters]
Note: Don't forget to put the filters group on top of the main layer!


This is several years late, but I may have found a work-around while playing around with Gimp. After you've used your filter and selectd ok, select the layer you want to make changes to and then click anywhere in the work area. The filter you just used should pop back up (in my case it's Drop Shadow), and there should be a Presets drop down menu there where your filter history is stored. You can select any one of the presets from your history, make your changes from there, and click ok to save them to the layer.

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