How to Merge Layers In GIMP: A Simple Guide

When working on a project on GIMP, you will most likely be working with multiple layers. Having numerous layers means that it can be easier to change and manipulate the images in your project.

But having so many layers on GIMP can be a bit overwhelming. You can fix this problem by merging layers and flattening them.

So how do you do this? Here, we’ve outlined the pretty simple steps for merging and flattening layers in GIMP.

What does it mean to merge layers in GIMP?

In GIMP, the “Merge Visible Layers” option allows you to combine two or more layers into one single layer. To ensure that you can merge the layers needed into one, you must make sure they are marked as visible layers.

You’ll be able to see which layers are the visible layers when they have an “eye” icon next to the small image of the picture you’re working on. You can make a layer disappear by clicking on this “eye” icon.

How do you merge two layers together?

When you’re busy with a project on GIMP, you might find it easier to work with a single layer instead of juggling multiple layers. Luckily, there’s a way for you to merge two layers to make your work a lot easier.

Step One

The first step is to ensure that you’ve got your project open and that the two layers you want to merge are marked as visible.

You can check this by seeing if the “eye” icon is visible. If the icon isn’t visible, it means that they aren’t marked as “visible layers.” All you need to do is click on the “eye” icon of the layers in the layer stack.

If you’re using multiple layers in your project, you can still merge just two layers. You can do this by marking the two layers as visible layers. Just click on the “eye” icon with the layers you don’t want to merge.

Step Two

The next step involves finding the “Merge Visible Layers” button. There are at least two ways that you can do this.

The first method would be going to the “Image” tab in the crossbar at the top of the screen. Click on the tab and then scroll down to the “Merge Visible Layers” option.

You can also right-click on one of the layers you want to merge. A menu should pop up, and you can find the “Merge Visible Layers” at the bottom of this menu.

Another way to merge visible layers on GIMP is to use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+M. From there, a “layers dialog” should pop up.

Step Three

After you’ve used the “Merge Visible Layers” command on GIMP, you’ll get the “Layers Merge Options” Dialog. With this dialog, you’ll get different options for merging the other layers.

These options in the layers dialog include the following:

Expanded as necessary: This means that the final layer will be big enough to contain all the combined (merged) layers. You should remember that in GIMP, layers can be bigger than the pictures.

Clipped to image: With this option, the final layer will have the same size as the picture. Any layers that are bigger than the photo will be cropped.

Clipped to bottom layer: Choosing this option means that the bottom and final layers will be the same size. This means that GIMP will crop the final layer to have the same size and position as the bottom layer.

Merge within the active group only: This option is activated with a group layer.

Discard invisible layers: GIMP will delete all the hidden layers from your layer stack with this option.

Where is the merge down in GIMP?

The “Merge Down” command is a handy command that you can use to combine or merge an active layer with the next layer in the stack.

This command will include the different properties from the active layer. The final layer will be in Normal mode and get the qualities of the layer underneath. You can find the “Merge Down” command in two different ways.

With the first way, you can click on the layers menu on the menu bar at the top of your screen. Then scroll down till you find the “Merge Down” command. When you click this command, you’ll see the top layer merge with the layer below.

The second method is straightforward. All you need to do is right-click on the visible layer and scroll down till you find the “Merge Down” command. Your layers will merge automatically without the pop-up dialog from merging visible layers.

gimp merge layrs 2

How do I flatten layers in Gimp?

With the “Flatten Image” command, you can merge all the layers in your stack into a single layer without using an alpha channel. With this option, you will end up with a single final layer without any transparency.

By flattening the layers, you will make considerable changes to the picture’s structure. With this command, it’s recommended that you save the image in a format that doesn’t support transparency or support levels.

Step One

You can do this by finding the command under the “Image” tab and scrolling down to the “Flatten Image” command.

How do you merge and flatten the multiple layers?

When you’re working on a project with multiple layers, you can choose to combine them into a single layer either by merging them or flattening them.

Merging multiple layers

To merge more than two layers on GIMP, you can use the “Merge Visible Layers” command under the image tab.

To do this, make sure that ALL the layers that you want to merge have the “eye” icon. Then you can either use the keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+M) or find the “Merge Visible Layers” command under the “Image” tab.

Flattening multiple layers

The “Flatten Image” is a helpful command for quickly combining multiple layers with one swift click. You can do this with a right-click on one of the layers in your stack and then click on the “Flatten Image” command.

You can also do this by going to the “Image” tab and finding the “Flatten Image” command near the bottom of the scroll-down menu, underneath the “Merge Visible Layers” command.


Merging and flattening two or more layers in GIMP is pretty simple. Both these commands can make your work a lot easier when turning multiple layers into one layer with all the changes you’ve made on GIMP.

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