Exporting layers in GIMP file to single pdf file

[Update: there is a nice working plugin that does the trick, see here]

In GIMP exporting multiple layers to one pdf file is surprisingly difficult. I found two solution, both require additional software besides GIMP, but are fairly easy to implement. One solution is given here. [this link doesn’t work anymore] It requires a plug-in or script to export individual layers to separate tiff files (something which perhaps surprisingly is not possible out-of-the-box in GIMP).

The before-mentioned site suggest the script “Save Layers as Individual Files”, which can be downloaded [this link doesn’t work anymore] from Panotools. Next step is to use ImageMagick to convert the tiff files into a single pdf file. Unfortunately the script throws up an error when I try to open it.

Luckily I found an even easier solution here. No need for a separate plugin, but you still need GraphicsMagick or ImageMagick.

  • Open the GIMP file with multiple layers
  • Make sure to order the layers in reverse order, page 1 must by the bottom layer, the last page the top layer
  • Save the file as a MNG animation. In the dialogue that comes up, select “save as animation”.
  • Now, open the terminal and use the command ‘convert document.mng document.pdf’ to export the mng file to a pdf file.

Credits go to Patrick’s WebLog, go there for more details.


25 thoughts on “Exporting layers in GIMP file to single pdf file

  1. gimp noob

    One thing that may be needed sometimes is to “fit canvas to layers” beforehand. At least that’s the impression that I had, the first time I tried those scripts, there were some blank pages that weren’t really there on the layers.

  2. Gary

    Outstanding!! Perfect results on the first try!
    I used GIMP 2.8.16 on Debian 4.3.3-7 (testing)

    I’ve been wondering for months how to do this
    and past attempts have failed. First try results
    please me to no end…

    Thank you very much!!

  3. When trying to export as .mng from GIMP I get the message:
    The given filename does not have any known file extension. Please enter a known file extension or select a file format from the file format list.
    Any ideas? Thanks!

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