How to Outline Text in GIMP

Stroking a text with a precisely drawn border is one of the easiest ways to beautify text-based graphics or text, making them more attractive and captivating. Even a subtle stroke of text can drastically improve the overall appearance.

On top of that, you don’t require premium software to give your text more value. Replicating Adobe’s look and features, GIMP is an image manipulation program that lets you edit images. Outlining text using GIMP is straightforward, requiring no prior familiarity with the image manipulating programs further.

You can do it by adding a path around the text or using the drop shadow feature available on GIMP. So, here’s a guide on how to put the outline on text in gimp in which we will cover these two methods as following:

  • Outline text using grow the selection
  • Outline text using drop shadow filter

Let’s take a look at the brief explanation of the above ways and understand how to outline text in GIMP easily. We have divided the procedure into simple steps so that you can better understand these processes.

Outline Text Using Grow the Selection

Write down text: To start crafting outlined text, write whatever you want on a blank image file and adjust both the text and background accordingly.

To do so, head to the File menu (available on the top-right corner) and click New to create a blank image file that will be the background of the text. You can modify the background, but it is recommended to use solid colors to make your text more visible and cleaner.

File>>New>>Create New Image or CTRL+N

Adjust background & text: Once the background is set, jot down the text by navigating to the Text tool and make changes in text formatting until you are happy with your design. Review the text and alignment before proceeding to the next step.

Add a new duplicate layer: Create a duplicate layer of active text layer by right-clicking on layer dialogue.

Add to alpha selection: Switch to the text layer again and tap on the layer while holding the ALT key. It adds an alpha channel, meaning the opaque area is only selected, and the transparent part remains unselected.

Grow selection: Now go to select under the menu bar, and click on grow. The grow tool is used to enlarge the selector around the non-transparent element added by alpha selection. Enter the amount in pixels to grow or broaden the selection.

Fill the area with color: Lastly, you have to fill the colors inside the enlarged selected area, adding a colorful border around the text. Click on the paint tool >> FG color fills to fill the desired color around the text.

Outline Text Using Drop Shadow Filter

This method is quick and uncomplicated for newbies wanting to make striking texts. We use the drop shadow filter to outline text through this method. Otherwise, it is almost identical to the first one.

Write text on blank image: Open the new image by heading to menu>> new and set the size, pixels, and other details according to your choice. Select the text tool to write the text and manipulate it if you want. Once you are happy with text size, type, and alignment, now it is time to add a shadow around your text.

Use the drop shadow filter: To create an outline around it, you have to go to the layer menu, select Light and Shadow, and then click on Drop Shadow.

Adjust the outline: Drop shadow adds a three-dimensional effect to a text. When you click on drop shadow, it will open a dialogue box where you can do things like change color, increase/decrease opacity, grow radius to enlarge the border around the text, etc.


In this write-up, we have extensively explained the easiest methods to help you outline fonts in GIMP. Outlining lets you enhance the boundaries of texts and images, making them eye-catching. Whether you want to create a striking logo for your business/website or make a particular text more appealing, will hold users’ attraction. It is one of the popular ways to add value to your text-based graphics quickly.

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.