How do I move a layer to a specific XY position within the canvas in Gimp?

Currently, the only way I can find is to just eyeball it with the guides and/or mouse position. I want to specify the exact X and Y coordinates.


6 Answers 6


I am afraid that Gimp doesn't include it because it is tedious. It is simply not the appropriate way of aligning elements when you are designing, though I recognize that sometimes it is useful as a short-cut. Anyway, the best (correct) approach is with guides:

A) Step 1 - Create the guides

  1. Go to Image->Guide->New Guide
  2. Specify if you want and horizontal or vertical guide
  3. Specify the number of pixels
  4. Repeat the procedure for another horizontal or vertical Guide (you can also do more guides to specify width and height)

Alternatively, you can also create the guides dragging from the rulers:

  1. Drag down (starting from the top ruler) a guide to the Y coordinate you want.
  2. Drag down (starting from the left ruler) a guide to the X coordinate you want.

B) Step 2 - Move the canvas

You can use the moving tool.

  1. Select your Layer
  2. Go to Tools -> Transform Tools -> Move
  3. Drag the Layer to the guides. Gimp will give you a hand with the exact pixels.

One of the design principle is that you should have things align in your whole project. Reducing the number of alignments (guides) helps you getting a cleaner design. I think this is why gimp does not include a tool to specify the exact coordinates. If you want to follow this design principle specifying exact coordinates one by one becomes just a tedious labour.

  • Exactly what I need - thanks. Use case: creating a wallpaper for dual-head setup from two other wallpapers. :)
    – smbear
    Dec 10, 2013 at 11:21
  1. Pick enter image description here (alignment tool).
  2. Make it Relative to Image.
  3. Click on your layer (in the canvas).
  4. Enter X in the Offset field.
  5. Click on Distribute / enter image description here (left arrow).
  6. Enter Y in the Offset field.
  7. Click on Distribute / enter image description here (up arrow).

That's it!

  • 1
    This work for negative offset.
    – Loda
    Nov 2, 2015 at 15:33
  • 1
    Note that it seems that you can only select the top visible layer — that is, one has to hide layers on top of the layer to be aligned (gimp 2.8.16). Jul 22, 2016 at 19:53
  • Does this use the unit of pixels? It seems to move my image far more than I would expect.
    – palswim
    Sep 7, 2016 at 22:38
  • @palswim For me it worked when I clicked the top group of buttons (Align) instead of the bottom group (Distribute). Yes, it's measured in pixels (at least in my configuration).
    – Rodrigo
    Apr 9, 2017 at 14:01
  • I had to SHIFT-click the canvas to "add" it to the "list" before it would work. Apparently the image is part of the list when moving relative to it. Which as a programmer I know why they do that but as an interface it's annoying.
    – CR.
    Feb 22, 2022 at 0:16

There is a script to do this that can be download from the GIMP Plugin registry. It is called:

Move Layer To (download).

To install:

  1. Move the script to %USERPROFILE\.gimp-2.8\scripts directory on Windows, ~/Library/Application Support/GIMP/2.8/scripts on OS X or ~/.gimp-2.8/scripts on Linux. (Official instructions)

  2. Clicks Filters -> Script-Fu -> Refresh scripts.

  3. The new menu item will appear at the bottom of the Layer menu Move to.

  • Nice first answer!
    – slm
    Jan 7, 2013 at 4:21
  • Almost perfect! Would be nice if the parameter dialog used the layer's current coordinates as the default values. Jan 25, 2013 at 23:39
  • 4
    You need to download that .scm file and put it into %USERPROFILE%\.gimp-2.8\scripts on Windows, then do Filters->Script-Fu->Refresh Scripts and it will be available as the bottom most item Layer->Move To Jan 10, 2014 at 20:00
  • 3
    Davids answer does the job without a script.
    – Michael S.
    Oct 6, 2015 at 8:41
  • 1
    Does NOT work for negative offset. and the UX is poor (don't keep the last value, etc).
    – Loda
    Nov 2, 2015 at 15:35

I'm using GIMP 2.6.11.

With these lines of Python the active layer can be moved to an absolute position, like (32, 64), from the Python console:

>>> x_new = 32
>>> y_new = 64
>>> img = gimp.image_list()[0]
>>> layer = img.layers[0]
>>> x_off, y_off = layer.offsets
>>> pdb.gimp_layer_translate(layer, x_new - x_off, y_new - y_off)

Or you could do this more simply using gimp_layer_set_offsets like:

pdb.gimp_layer_set_offsets(layer, x_new, y_new)

Alternatively, if you only want to move the content of the layer:

Right-click, Layer -> Transform -> Offset

or Shift+Ctrl+O.

  • 1
    This causes the pixels within the layer to move, rather than the layer itself - I need to move the actual layer. What you suggested may work if the layer is the same size as the canvas, or at least big enough not to clip any non-transparent pixels within the layer.
    – Scott
    Jul 7, 2011 at 19:55
  • @Scott: I see - sorry I didn't find an easier way, but at least I figured out how to move the layer to an absolute position with some lines of Python. Jul 7, 2011 at 21:32
  • 3
    Line three of you code should be img=gimp.image_list()[0]. The _ didnt work for me.
    – apple16
    Jul 23, 2012 at 21:58
  • I was expecting gimp_layer_move or instead of gimp_layer_set_offsets, but it worked. Thanks.
    – delki8
    Dec 7, 2022 at 11:05

There's a very convenient way to do this available since the Gimp v.2.10:

  1. double click on the layer you want to move (or right click on it and select "Edit Layer Attributes")

  2. the "Edit Layer Attributes" dialog will show up and there you can change the X/Y offsets to your needs

Simply easy like that! :)

Edit Layer X/Y Offsets Attributes


As @Michael asked about it in its comment to my answer, I'm adding a script that will move ALL image layers by specified x,y offsets.

To make it work you need to create a file in the Gimp script folder (some reference for this if you need it: here or here) with following content:

; This script is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
; it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
; the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
; (at your option) any later version.
; This script is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
; but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
; GNU General Public License for more details.

;; Command is installed in "Layer->Move all layers..."
;; The purpose of this script is to move all image layers by specified x,y offsets
;; X and Y offset parameters must be provided (use integer numbers as values)

(define (dn-move-all-layers orig-image drawable
                                       x-offset y-offset)
  (define (get-all-layers img)
    (let* (
      (all-layers (gimp-image-get-layers img))
      (i (car all-layers))
      (bottom-to-top ())
     (set! all-layers (cadr all-layers))
     (while (> i 0)
       (set! bottom-to-top (append bottom-to-top (cons (aref all-layers (- i 1)) '())))
       (set! i (- i 1))
  (define (move-layer orig-image layer-id offset-x offset-y)
  (let* (
      (layers nil)
      (layerpos 1)
      (layer-id "")
      (x-os 0)
      (y-os 0)
      (orig-selection 0)
   (gimp-image-undo-disable orig-image)
   (set! orig-selection (car (gimp-selection-save orig-image)))
   (gimp-selection-none orig-image)

   (set! x-os x-offset)
   (set! y-os y-offset)
   (set! layers (get-all-layers orig-image))
   (while (pair? layers)
     (move-layer orig-image (car layers) x-os y-os)
     (set! layers (cdr layers))
     (set! layerpos (+ layerpos 1))
   (gimp-selection-load orig-selection)
   (gimp-image-remove-channel orig-image orig-selection)
   (gimp-image-undo-enable orig-image)

(script-fu-register "dn-move-all-layers"
 "Move all layers..."
 "Move each layer by specified x,y offsets."
 SF-IMAGE "Input image" 0
 SF-DRAWABLE "Drawable" 0
 SF-VALUE "X offset" "0"
 SF-VALUE "Y offset" "0"

(script-fu-menu-register "dn-move-all-layers"

If you do it right you will find a new command in the "Layer" menu called "Move all layers...", launch it and a dialog will show up letting you to decide X and Y offsets. That's it.

  • Any way to make this a bit quicker when you have a lot of layers to move (as in hundreds)? It would be great if this thing could dock so I didn't have to bring it up for every layer!
    – Michael
    May 5, 2019 at 19:46
  • 1
    @Michael : Well, I guess you should go with some scripting in that case, similarly to Nicolas Kaiser suggested solution but looping on image layers... I just edited my answer to show you how, have a look. (I would have made a separate answer for it but the OP asked specifically for moving ONE layer, not all of them. If you ask a new question for this I'd be glad to answer there adding some screenshoots and all the rest ;-D) Cheers
    – danicotra
    Aug 8, 2019 at 21:23

I am afraid that Gimp doesn't include it because it is tedious.

Poppycock! It is a useful feature.

Here's a simple workaround to do it.

  1. Create a rectangle selection around your source area

  1. Click the selection so the resizing widgets disappear

  2. Ctrl+X to cut.

  3. Click the selection again so the resize widgets reappear

  1. Precisely choose a target position for the selection

  1. Click to hide resize widgets

  2. Ctrl+V to paste.

  3. Anchor or Apply to a new layer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .