How to Invert Selection in GIMP

Welcome to another edition of GIMP Quick Tips here at TGT! 

Working with selections is an essential part of image editing. They let GIMP know exactly which pixels you want to edit, and so the more ingrained these skills become, the better you’ll be as an editor.

Memorizing your keyboard shortcuts makes the process extremely fast, so practice, practice, practice!

You can invert your selection in GIMP using the Select menu, but shortcuts are much easier (surprise, surprise!)

The keyboard shortcut for inverting a selection in GIMP is Ctrl + I, or Command + I if you’re using GIMP on a Mac. That’s an “i” for “invert”, just in case the font isn’t exactly clear in this case. You can also open the Select menu and choose Invert.

That’s all there is to it! Inverting your selection is one of the easier tasks in GIMP, and a handy one too, so get used to the shortcut. 

The only problem you might run into is that sometimes it’s hard to tell visually if GIMP has actually inverted your selection at all, even though you know it should have worked.

By default, GIMP shows a black and yellow dashed line around the borders of your layer, which can be hard to distinguish from the black and white dashed line that shows the borders of your selection – especially if they’re overlapping, as you can see below.

It’s a bit of a usability issue, but you could argue that the layer boundary feature is useful in its own right, although I don’t see much point in having it on all the time. I personally prefer to disable it by opening the View menu and finding the entry marked Show Layer Boundary.

Layer boundaries off, selection inverted, edit made! 

That’s everything you’ll ever need to know about how to invert a selection in GIMP! 

About Thomas Boldt
I’ve been working with digital images since the year 2000 or so, when I got my first digital camera. I've tried many image editing programs. GIMP is a free and powerful software, but not exactly user-friendly until you get comfortable with it, and I wanted to make the learning process easier for you here.

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