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How to cut out an image on Linux

Do you have an image file that you want to cut out of a picture so it looks good on a web page or other types of projects? Are you a Linux user and not great with basic image editing? We can help! Follow along with this guide as we go over how to cut out an image on Linux!

Installing Gimp on Linux

While it is true that there are a lot of great image editors on the Linux platform that can be used to take an image cut it out, we will be focusing on the Gimp app in this guide. As a result, we must go over how to get the latest release of the Gimp image editor up and running on Linux.

To install Gimp on Linux, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, enter the commands below to get the app working.

Note: need help getting Gimp working, but want a more in-depth explanation of how to install the app? Check out our guide on how to get Gimp working on Linux. The instructions below are simply for convenience and aren’t as detailed as what is covered in the Gimp installation guide.


sudo apt install gimp


sudo apt-get install gimp

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S gimp


sudo dnf install gimp


sudo zypper install gimp

With the Gimp application installed, launch it via the app menu on your Linux desktop. Then, move on to the next section of the guide.

Import image in GIMP

Now that the Gimp app is installed and open on the Linux desktop, you must import the image you wish to edit. There are two ways to import image files into the Gimp app on Linux. Here’s how to do it.

Method 1 – traditional importing

To import an image into the Gimp image editor the traditional way, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Find the “File” button in the Gimp window, and click on it to access the items.

Step 2: Locate the “Open” button in the “File” menu, and select it. Selecting “Open” will bring up a file browser.

Step 3: Use the file browser to locate the image file you would like to edit in the Gimp image editor.

After selecting “Open,” Gimp will load up the picture into the workspace.

Method 2 – drag-and-drop

To add an image via the “drag-and-drop” feature in Gimp, do the following.

Step 1: Launch the Linux file manager, and find the image you wish to cut out.

Step 2: Select the image in the Linux file manager, and drag it into the Gimp workspace. It should load into Gimp instantly.

Add alpha channel to the image

To cut out an image in Gimp, you must add an alpha channel. Without getting too technical, it allows for transparency effects, to be saved in the final image. Adding an alpha channel to an image in Gimp is relatively simple. To do it, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Locate the layers tool in Gimp on the right-hand side of the Gimp workspace window. If you cannot find the layer tool, it is directly under the brushes and the “mode” tool. You’ll see your image file-name, followed by an eye icon.

Step 2: Once you’ve found the layer area in Gimp, right-click on your image using the mouse. Look through the right-click menu for the “Add Alpha Channel,” and click on it to add an alpha channel to your image.

Cut out image

To most people, the concept of “cutting an image” means cutting a specific section of an image file out of the main picture, so that it can be placed onto other images, or used on web pages, etc. For example, if I want to “cut out,” Lisa Simpson, I need to cut the background around her in the picture.

To cut out your image, you will need to use the “free select tool.”

  1. Select the free select tool to access it. Upon selecting the “free select tool,” your mouse cursor will turn into a crosshair.
  2. Using the crosshair, slowly (and carefully) click around the thing you want to cut out. You will need to make a complete closed loop.

Unsure what “closed-loop” means? Just make sure that the selection you are making connects because if it does not connect, the free select tool will not make a selection.

  1. After you’ve selected the portion of the image you wish to cut out, press the Ctrl + I button on your keyboard. This keyboard combination will invert the selection so that you can quickly delete the background.

  1. Once you’ve pressed Ctrl + I to invert the selections, press the Delete button to erase everything in the image but the portion of the image you’ve selected with the “free select tool” to cut out the image.
  2. Save the final image in PNG format. Do not save it in JPG or JPEG, or the background transparency will be lost.

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