I am using a text layer and selecting the text to delete out of a white background layer so I can have transparent text with images behind the text.

I have a drop shadow effect on the white background layer and I would like to select the text and only the part of the background image that is contained inside the transparent text to export.
How can I accomplish this?

2 Answers 2


Here's one method that might work for you:-

  1. Select the top layer, and click Layer > New from Visible

  2. Hide all the other layers

  3. Right click the text layer and choose Alpha to selection

  4. Right click the layer you made from visible, and choose Add Layer Mask, and choose the option selection, click OK

  5. Click File > Export as and choose PNG as the file format if you want a transparent background.

Example: enter image description here

Sadly, GIMP doesn't yet have the ability to add a layer mask to a group, which would be a great way to do this. After using the New Layer from Visible and layer masking technique, you could simply delete that layer if you have no more use for it, or simply hide it.


A selection belongs to the image as a whole, and not a specific layer. You can perfectly create a selection using a layer and apply it on other layers.

So, to punch a text-shaped hole through several layers:

  • Get a selection shaped after the text: make the text layer active and Layer>Transparency>Alpha to selection
  • Then activate in turn each layer in which you want the hole and use Edit>Clear.

If you need to do this often or have very many layers, see the clear-layers script

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