Using the Scissor Tool

Posted by kasrak
Created Jan 19, 2007
Category Getting Started
Views 311,078
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The scissor tool (selects shapes from images) can be a confusing tool at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's great for extracting objects from your photos.

Step 1: Open your image

Go ahead and open up the image you want to try this on. I'm going to use this image:

Step 2: Start clicking

Select the Scissor tool (Shortcut: i). Next, click on the edge of your shape.

Then keep clicking at regular intervals on the edge, making your way around the perimeter of your shape.

Step 3: Finalize Selection

Once you have finished settings points around your shape, you need to make it into a selection so you can work with it. Before you do this though, you might want to go into the Scissors tool options and check Feather Edges to create a smooth selection:

Now, click on the first point you made. The last point should be connected your first point at this step. Finally, just click inside the perimeter to turn it into a selection:

Now that you've got your selection, you can do anything you want! Have fun!


  1. Jun 23, 2007, Lyndzkd said:

    thank you!! was wondering how to do that

  2. Sep 29, 2007, OsakaWilson said:

    Everything is cool until step 3. When I "click inside the perimeter" the perimeter disappears. All the tutorials I've tried break down at this point. Sometimes they say, "Now convert it into a selection", but none explain how to do this. Any ideas on how to convert the perimeter into a selection as it appears in the bottom picture?

  3. Dec 23, 2007, alisha said:

    Osaka - I had the same problem at first, but I think I have it figured out now. The last part of step three says to click just inside the perimeter to turn it into a selection. For me, if I don't click in just the right place, it adds another point rather than changing it to a selection. I can find just the right location to click by watching the pointer. While making the points, the pointer is an arrowhead, with the scissor icon below it and a cross next to arrowhead. When I'm in the right location to make the selection, the cross disappears. Sorry I don't know how to explain this more clearly, but I hope it makes sense.

  4. Dec 23, 2007, ToPonderOn said:

    Help! I just discovered GIMP about two days ago. I am trying to learn how to cut out an object in a photo. I can get as far as selecting the object with the scissors, but then I don't know what to do to cut it out? I hit delete but nothing happens. Would someone help me with this? As you can probably already tell, I am very new in using photo editing software.

  5. Dec 24, 2007, ToPonderOn said:

    Help! I just discovered GIMP about two days ago. I am trying to learn how to cut out an object in a photo. I can get as far as selecting the object with the scissors, but then I don't know what to do to cut it out? I hit delete but nothing happens. Would someone help me with this? As you can probably already tell, I am very new in using photo editing software.

  6. Dec 24, 2007, kasrak said:

    Try Ctrl+K to delete or Ctrl+X to cut (if you want to paste it later).

  7. Feb 14, 2008, lkgimp said:

    Hey there, I'm using the Scissors tool, and there seems to be no way to DELETE a point/node? You can just move them? No matter what key-combination I use, I only come up with the "+" (plus sign) for adding a point or the cross (move sign) for moving points.

    Is there no delete mode for the Scissors tool? There's a tricky part of my image and trying to move points often adds another point by mistake, and then I end up with a gazillion points, and trying to move them around to the right places is nightmarish. So then I have to keep starting over, argh.

    I checked the manual, and there's a delete mode for the Paths tool, but not Scissors????

  8. Aug 7, 2008, kasrak said:

    Yeah, I've also looked for a way to delete points, but haven't found a way. Hopefully, we'll see it in the next release of GIMP...

  9. Nov 15, 2008, acelafella said:

    Hi, ROTFL and kicking myself in the butt at the same time..,..been using GIMP for over a year and only just now discovered this great tool and great tut!

  10. Apr 10, 2009, smileyone said:

    what i found to do is copy it then make a new or just paste it to the picture you want it to be on.... this helped solve the problem i was having thank you very much for the help

  11. Apr 29, 2009, sashamaija said:

    Fair enough I'm new and I suck at this ... It's been years since I used this program. In the old days I put a box around what I wanted to cut out and that's what happened. It cut everything else out and left that section. Now I press on the scissors tool and a message of "Please do not use the scissors tool on a segment or an achor point (but not and end point) of a path". I'm deadset confused on what that is spose to mean. Can anyone help me? Please?

  12. Aug 16, 2009, matttoff said:

    I have to say I am also new to picture editing, I have been looking for software for a while that would allow me cut objects out of pictures to use in other pictures ( makes sense ). I don't understand why this is so fliiipppiinn difficult to do!!! I simply want to highlight the area I want to use and either right click and save image as ( just the bit I want not the whole image ) or right click, copy then paste it in to my prefered destination. It sounds easy to me, but I am pulling my hair out trying to do just that using GIMP...... I'm sure this is what the software is designed to do but I can't figure it out PLEASE HELP BEFORE I GO COMPLETELY CRAZY....:]- Many thanks in advance. #

  13. Sep 23, 2009, CathyWagley said:

    I, too am new to this, and I want to know if I can cut people out of one picture, (get rid of the background and keep people), then on another picture, cut out the people and keep the background, then put people from one picture onto the background from the second picture? I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say, I feel this question is as confusing as I am. Thank you for your time.

  14. Nov 2, 2009, stltom said:

    Judging not only by the comments listed above but my own frustrations following this tutorial...I'd pretty much have to say you suck. I've come as far as clicking on my selection and nothing happens....thanks for nothing.

  15. Dec 23, 2009, billyk2373 said:

    thank you! i've been using Gimp also for a year and have never used the scissor tool until just now. It works fantastic. Thanks for the helpful and simple to understand tutorial. i did as you said and it works. You unsuck to the max! CathyWagley - yes you can. The problem would be making the new people fit into the old people's cut-out, but there might be waays around it.

  16. Oct 30, 2010, Magi_Rose said:

    Okay, I had some issues with the click in the selection too. But I found out what the issue was. You have to have "Replace the current selection" selected under Mode when you have the Scissors selected. This will allow you to turn your area into a selection when you click in the middle and then you can cut and paste it where ever.

    Hope this helps! :)

  17. Mar 23, 2011, cindy said:

    where can i download the tool plzzzzz help

  18. Jan 24, 2012, purplergiraffe said:

    zoom in on the object, either using [view]-zoom (alt-v, z) and make sure you create a closed loop and select the starting node, you should see two conjoined circles. Then click inside the closed object, you should see a broken circle, and after you click the selection should show up.
    Then if you copy and paste or cut and paste, select the move tool (four arrows) just below the scissors. <----That's the step I was missing, so maybe you were too, very old thread but maybe it will help someone doing the same thing as me.

    -Also, I heard some dog with glasses doesn't get the banana vs. pickle war

  19. Apr 2, 2012, Denswei said:

    Pretty crappy, very frustrating. I followed the instructions multiple times only to lose the work, or move the wrong thing (either the layer, or the path, but not the selection--even though I clicked on the "Move Selection" button). Eventually it worked for some reason, but it's definitely not a user friendly program.

  20. Jan 8, 2013, cranefly said:

    I use Microsoft Picture It 7 for cutting. You can cut around a selected image, take it out of the image or leave it in, move it around, copy it, flip it, change size, etc. An easy to use programme. Then save it and open in Gimp for colour manipulation.

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