Suppose I have a background photo open in GIMP. I go into another photo and select and copy a small selection.

If I paste this into the background image, it has the dotted border to indicate a selection and I can move it around. If I exit the selection (e.g. by clicking-and-not-dragging an external point with the Rectangle Select tool) then the floating selection merges with the rest of the image. If I then paste again, I get a new floating selection which I can move around freely. This is fine.

Suppose instead I paste as a new layer. Now the selection has a yellow dotted border which I can't unselect.

enter image description here

If I try to paste again into this new layer I can only paste within the current selection. It's as if the new layer has a smaller canvas size than the rest of the image, and space outside it is meaningless.

enter image description here

The floating selection in this case is bounded by the non-transparent part of the "Clipboard" layer. I want to place the red floating selection arbitrarily within the "Clipboard" layer, without it disappearing over the border.

How do I do this? I also want to scribble on the Clipboard layer and do other stuff, so pasting a new layer isn't a complete solution.

1 Answer 1


The dotted line in that case is not a selection, but layer's border. Layers can be different size than canvas (either smaller or larger!). Drawing outside layer's border won't expand it, but will clip the drawing.

To fit layer to canvas size, right-click it and click Layer to image size.

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