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How to add text to a photo in GIMP 2.8

Updated on June 5, 2013
Add text to an image in GIMP 2.8
Add text to an image in GIMP 2.8

In this tutorial I will show you how to add a text/sign to a photo in GIMP 2.8 It’s a very straight forward process and will take you only a few minutes.

If you don’t have GIMP yet, you can download it from here:

Step 1

Open your image in GIMP by dropping it on the canvas from a folder.

Take Text Tool, you can find in by going to Tools / Text.

Click on the image, then holding down the left key of your mouse create the area where you want your text to be see fig 1.

Fig. 1  Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8
Fig. 1 Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8

In Tool Options set:

Colour – white

Size - 30px

Text font – Calibri Light

Click in the text area to activate it and type in your text see fig 2.

Fig. 2  Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8
Fig. 2 Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8

I am using a quote to complement my image:

“We live as we dream – alone…”

Now I will explain how other text options work.

You can choose how you want your text to be justified.

There are four options see fig 3:

Left justified

Right justified



For this tutorial I’m using Left justified.

Fig. 3  Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8
Fig. 3 Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8

After that we have Line Spacing which controls the space between the lines. If your whole text is on the same line, you can ignore this option, of course.

It works like that – the bigger the number you enter, the larger the space between the lines will be. To reduce the space you need to enter a negative number (-1, -2, -3 etc.) see fig 4.

My Line Spacing for this image is set to 0.0

Fig. 4  Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8
Fig. 4 Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8

Also there is another very useful option, which is Letter Spacing.

Click multiple times on the arrow pointing up and you will see how the letters are getting spread out. Alternatively, you can enter a number (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.) , the bigger the number the more space will appear between the letters.

As opposite, you can make letters to stand closer by pressing the arrow down, or enter a a negative number (-1,- 2,- 3,- 4,- 5 etc.), the bigger the number the less space will appear between the letters see fig 5.

For this image my Letter Spacing is 3.0

Fig. 5  Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8
Fig. 5 Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8

To move text there is two options:

1. You can drag corners of the text area which will move the text.

2. You can use Move Tool. Click on the text to activate it and then move text to where you want it to be.

Step 2

This step is optional, you can use it if you want to add dimension to your text.

Duplicate the text layer by going to Layer / Duplicate Layer.

Next go to Colours / Invert.

Move this layer below the layer with original text using the Green arrow in Layers Dialog see fig 6.

Fig. 6  Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8
Fig. 6 Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8

Take Move Tool, click on the image to activate it, then using the arrows on your keyboard move the layer a few pixels down and a few pixels to the right.

Reduce Opacity of the layer to about 50% see fig 7.

Fig. 7  Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8
Fig. 7 Add a text to a photo in GIMP 2.8

Tutorial request

What other GIMP tutorials would you be interested in?

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Step 3

Go to Image / Flatten Image.

To save the Image go to File / Export (for GIMP 2.8) / give name / save with JPEG extension.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask :)


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    • profile image

      Donna Wayne 

      2 years ago

      Gimp is very great, I used it for a while before I discovered this and I find now PaintShop to have much more different possibilities for texts and fonts. But considering that GIMP is free, it's a very great software! :)

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Thank you for the info


    • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

      Dina Blaszczak 

      4 years ago from Poland

      @Yoronivan You just need to type in numbers the same way it is done with letters, and it will work.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Very useful, but I cannot find a way to add numerals

      to the text, such as a date.

    • Dina Blaszczak profile imageAUTHOR

      Dina Blaszczak 

      6 years ago from Poland

      @mary615 I'm so pleased to hear that I manage to explain things clearly ;) Thanks for voting up and sharing!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      I have been using PicMonkey for photo editing, but I want to try GIMP. Your instructions seem easy to follow. I'm trying to perfect text on my photos.

      Voted UP and shared.


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