How to Add Drop Shadow to Text with GIMP?

GIMP is a free image manipulation tool. It has many advanced manipulation tools for pro-level editing such as alpha channel, layers, channels, GIMP text-shadow, etc. Text shadow is a long-prevailing method used by professionals to make text appear out of the surface that gives a 3D appearance to the text that goes easy on the eye. If you want to learn to add shadows, then read this tutorial completely, as we will give a brief on how to add a drop shadow to text with GIMP.

Adding shadow is one of the most preferred and quick ways to beautify text in GIMP. A subtle and balanced stroke can dramatically enhance the text’s appearance. Though there are multiple ways to add shadow to the text, we will throw light on some most used methods to create a shadow.

  1. Using the drop shadow method
  2. Using duplicate layers to create shadow
  3. Using Alpha to logo Filter

Add Shadow to Text using Drop Shadow Options

In this method, we will use available tool to add a shadow to text in GIMP
Open the GIMP program in your system.

Click on File>> New to create a new blank image canvas (use the shortcut CTRL and N to create a blank canvas).
Modify the image size of the canvas if required.

Click on the OK to proceed to the next step.

A new blank image file will appear on the screen that you can modify further.

Change the background color by heading to edit >> Fill with BG Color or skip if you are OK with the default background.

Now, it’s time to write a text on a blank image file. Go to tools>>Text to type text on canvas or click on the T button on the keyboard to activate the text command. Also, you click the button on the toolbox to do the same.

After that, type the desired text in the layer.

As soon as you type on canvas, the text toolbar will appear on the screen that allows you to change the fonts’ size, color, and type directly on the canvas. After customization of the text, we will start adding shadow to it.

Go to the layer dialog tab and right-click on the text layer you are working on, then select the Alpha to Selection from the menu.

Tip: The purpose of Alpha selection is to select the visible part of the layer you are working on. It selects the non-transparent area, and the rest area (transparent) is not selected. It will add a border only around the text area, which is supposedly visible in our work.

Right-click on the filters tab and choose the option Light and shadow and then drop shadow
It will instantly add shadow to the selected area. At the same time, a dialogue box will appear to make changes to the shadow further.

Presets: Preset is the position of the shadow from the object in the vertical and horizontal direction determined by X and Y.

In this section, the change in X and Y shifts the position of the shadow in the horizontal and vertical directions, respectively. In case you are satisfied with the default position of the shadow, you can further position it.

Blur Radius: The purpose of the blur in image editing is to make objects less clear. The higher the number, the more blurred it will be.

Color: In case the shadow color doesn’t look perfect, then change its color by clicking on the color switch.

Opacity: Opacity refers to the amount of transparency. We generally use this tool to make the image, border, or shadow more or less transparent. Here, we are working with the shadow, and the change in opacity will affect the transparency of the shadow around the text.

Add Shadow to Text Using a Duplicate Layer

We will create an identical duplicate layer in this method and then make adjustments to the duplicate layer to create a shadow. Let’s look at how you can use a background layer containing the same elements as a shadow.

Create a new image file by heading to File >> New and select the size of the canvas and click OK.
Go to the text tool (Tools >> Text) or press the T on the keyboard to activate this tool.

Tip: The text tool can be directly activated by clicking on the T button on the keyboard that enables you to write on a blank canvas and make changes to the text directly through the text tool that appears on the canvas in a rectangular frame.

Write on canvas and modify the text according to your choice using the text tool.
Click on the layer under menu bar and then create a duplicate layer to create an identical copy of the original layer.
Click on the duplicate layer and press and hold down the left mouse button to drag it under the original one. Here is the example image of the layers you will see:

Now, use the move tool to drag the text in a duplicate layer to create a shadow to it. Click on this icon in the toolbox or press the M button to activate the move tool. The move tool is used for moving different layers, content, and texts.

Add Shadow to Text Using Alpha to Logo Filter

  1. Launch GMP and follow the same steps mentioned in methods 1 and 2 to type the text on a blank image canvas.
  2. Change the font size, color and adjust it according to the background.
  3. After changing the size and color and tuning the text, right-click on the active layer and select add alpha channel from the option.
  4. Now, go to Filters under the menu bar and then select “Alpha to the logo,” and you will find multiple effects listed to apply on the text.
  5. Please choose the correct effect of your choice and apply it to the text.
  6. This is one of the quick ways to add shadow to the text.


GIMP offers you multiple ways to add effect to the text that can be used as a logo, tagline, or product description headline. The shadows effect is one of the quick methods to lift the appearance of the content you want to make a focal point on the particular design.

In this article, we described all popular methods to add shadow to text with GIMP while explaining the use of tools we employed in this tutorial for adding shadow around the text.

About the author

Prateek Jangid

A passionate Linux user for personal and professional reasons, always exploring what is new in the world of Linux and sharing with my readers.