So if I make a new layer, and make an ellipse on it using the ellipse tool, then color it, then switch to the MOVE tool, and try to move it, (with the ellipse layer active) it won't grab the layer of the ellipse, but rather the background. What am I doing wrong here? I find it almost impossible to draw an ellipse in exactly the right place because of the way it expands (unlike a rectangle). Please help.

  • Change the order of the layers perhaps from the layers toolbar. Try unticking the layers you wish to not modify as well and then test and then have then check back again. Oct 13, 2017 at 18:56

3 Answers 3


By default, the behavior of the Move tool (as set in the Tool options) is Pick a layer or guide. In this mode it auto-select the layer to drag by finding the topmost non-transparent layer for the pixel you clicked on. So, it is a good habit to click where the layer you want to drag is not transparent (on your ellipse, instead of outside it). Once understood, this behavior is really the most intuitive, because you can reorganize several layers without having to explicitly select each layer before moving it.

In the few case where you explicitly want to move the active layer (because it is covered by an opaque layer, for instance) , you can set the Move the active layer in the Tool option, or just shift-click anywhere to start moving that layer.

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In order for the move tool to work, you have to click and drag on the filled in portion of the layer (the area where the ellipse is colored / filled in).

This also works if you have two or more layers linked together. Clicking and dragging on the filled portion of either linked layer will move both linked layers.


I usually deselect the ellipse before i move it. If the marquee is still around the object you wont move it. si right click deselect or hit esc.

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