If you are new to gimp and cannot figure out how to move text layers on the canvas, you have clicked the right page.

You can move text boxes and layers similarly. You might know some keyboard shortcuts to do the same. However, they might not be working for you. You might wonder where you are doing it wrong even after learning from youtube tutorials.

Probably you haven’t selected the characters using the shift key. Or perhaps, you are clicking the wrong layer and trying to drag it. It is hard to find the issue in both cases if you aren’t aware of the two shortcuts. So what are those two shortcuts? Let’s find out below!

Move tool

Every GIMP user should be familiar with the Move tool since it is a fundamental feature, and if you are used to using another application, it may give you some surprising results.

You can use the M keyboard shortcut to activate it. It is the first tool mentioned in the toolbox.

Layer, selection, and path are the three default settings available for the Move tool under the Move category. Although it is designed in such a way, separating them may not be very clear to the user.

You must set the Move tool to layer by clicking the corresponding button if you wish to move your text layer.

Additionally, you must be cautious about where you click on your photograph.

GIMP will automatically move the uppermost layer with a visible pixel in your precise location if the Move tool picks a layer or guide option.

If you want to move your text box in gimp using a move tool, then here’s what you need to do:

1.       Select the move tool from the image menu bar tools > transform tools > Move and bring the cursor on the canvas.

2.      You can also switch from the Pick a layer mode to Move the active layer mode.

3.      Now, left-click the text box and try hovering it over the screen.

4.      Remember, your cursor should be on the content of the text box. Otherwise, the canvas would be moving instead of text.

5.      Once you click and hold the text in the text box, you can easily move it wherever you want it on the canvas.

Note: If you allow GIMP to choose which layer to transfer automatically, you can experience issues if you’re using a tiny font or a typeface with slender letterforms because you’ll need to click one of them to select the layer correctly.

Text Tool

The text tool has a feature to move text and space them the way you want. Every text box has its layer and thus, can be hovered on the screen like other layers. This feature is quite easy to use and doesn’t require assistance from the other tools in the toolbox.

If you’ve just finished typing everything out and the Text tool is still open, that’s ideal because that’s when you usually want to move your text.

Using the simple to remember keyboard shortcut T, you may swiftly switch back to it if you forget.

To do so, you have to:

1.  Activate your text box, and click anywhere inside your text after that. In addition to the Layers dialog displaying it as the presently chosen layer, the border, handles, and popup text settings dialog box will also confirm that it is active.

2. Press shift and select all the characters.

  1. Once you select the characters, press the Alt key and left-click to hold. You can also use the Ctrl key + Alt and then left-click.
  2. After getting a hold of the text, hover it on the screen.

How To Move Text In The Center In Gimp?

Compared to centering text within a text box, aligning your text to be in the center of your canvas requires a little more work.

Collapsing the layer border to the text’s boundaries is the first thing we advise doing. Activate Layer > Crop to Content.

The Alignment Tool can then be found on the tool icon. The image resembles two houses turned on their sides with a vertical line to the left. Alternatively, you can take it by pressing “Q” on your keyboard.

First, you must specify to GIMP which layer needs an alignment before you may center a text layer. For the text layer to be active, click anywhere inside the layer boundary or select the layer from the layers panel.

A tiny white square will appear in each corner once it is triggered. Visit the tool options now that it has been activated.

Find the two icons with the labels “Align center of target” + “Align the middle of target” inside.

Boom! In the middle of your GIMP document is your text box.


Both ways are fairly quick, and you can switch between tools more than using the ctrl Alt + click and drag. Also, you could certainly use the Unified Transform tool as well. It is one of the least used ways. However, you might operate differently.

For more helpful tips, keep an eye out for our upcoming guides on GIMP.

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