How To Move Text in GIMP

Moritz Haag
Last updated April 1, 2022
How To Move Text GIMP

This article is designed to show you how to move text in GIMP. There is more than one method to do this, so you should be able to find one that best suits your workflow design by the end of this article. If you follow the tips below, you should be moving text all over GIMP in no time.

There are two common ways to move text in GIMP. You can use the keyboard shortcut or use the Move Tool to alter the Text tool’s function. Although the Move Tool is an efficient way to move text, it isn’t always the easiest option.

Read on for our GIMP tutorial on how to move text successfully.

Moving Text Using the Move Tool

Moving Text Using the Move Tool

If you plan to use GIMP for just about any image manipulation, you will discover that the Move Tool is almost an essential feature, and it really does help if you can become familiar with it. This is especially true if you are coming from other image editing programs.

The Move Tool is the first tool listed in the toolbox. It can also be activated using the Keyboard shortcut “M.”

There are three text tool options within the Move category in the Move Tool. These are path, selection, and layer.

It can be a bit confusing to separate these text tool options, but that is the way they are structured. Moving the text layer means you will have to make sure the layer option has been selected on the Move tool. This is done by selecting the correct button.

Additionally, you have to be cautious when clicking within the image. For example, if the Move Tool guide or layer option is selected, GIMP will move the top layer with the visible pixel where you click, regardless of whether or not it is text.

It is always best to have the active layer option set on the Move toolset to avoid this. However, every user is going to have their preferred way of doing things. In any case, it is important to remember that leaving the layer selection to be automatic could result in some issues.

This is especially true if you use some typeface with extremely narrow letters or small or curved text. You might try to click the font but end up selecting a different or new layer to move instead.

Moving Text Using the Text Tool

Moving Text Using the Text Tool

You might want to move text around after typing everything you want while the Text Tool is still active. If the Text Tool is not active, you can quickly activate it using the keyboard shortcut “T.”

It is important to activate the text box before you try to move it. The most effective way to know if the text box is active is to check the dialogue box's popup text settings and handles.

After that, make sure that the text box remains active by selecting any area within the text. Once done, the handles, popup text settings, and more will show up, confirming that it is indeed active. Another indication is the Layers panel which shows that the text box is the current chosen layer.

Press and hold the Alt Key on your Windows Keyboard desktop environment (or the Option key on a Mac) while hovering the cursor over the active text box window.

Looking closely, you will discover a tiny Move tool icon that shows up right next to the Text Tool icon. You should continue holding down the Alt (Option) key and then click and drag the selected text box to a new location. This process instantly moves your selected text box around the canvas.

The Move information can be found on the right next to the Text tool icon, all on the underappreciated info bar on GIMP. The info bar located at the bottom of the application is constantly updated to provide precise pixel grid info. This is particularly useful for those who want extreme precision.


Both options on how to move text GIMP can be done pretty quickly, but the most effective and easiest is the keyboard shortcut. The keyboard shortcut means that you don’t have to keep switching from one tool to another. While you could use the Ultimate transform tool, it simply adds more complications to what should be a simple process.

In addition to editing images, you can also edit an animated GIF in GIMP as well.

We hope this GIMP tutorial has helped with your editing process and uncovered how useful these text tool options can be. Ready to learn how to GIMP scale multiple layer options? Check out our tutorial on this next.