Add a Text Watermark to a Photo in GIMP

Protect your creative efforts

Route 66 watermark superimposed over picture of an old car.

Martyn Goddard / Getty Images

Applying text watermarks in GIMP to your photos is a simple way to help protect the images you post online against theft. It isn't foolproof, but it will deter casual viewers from stealing your photos.

Applications specifically designed for adding watermarks to digital images are available; however, GIMP makes the process very easy, and the program is free.

  1. Select Tools > Text.

    GIMP Tools > Text
  2. Click on the image to open the GIMP text editor box. Type the desired text into the editor to add it to a new layer.

    GIMP text tool dialog for watermark
  3. Change the font, size, and color as desired.

Black or white is best, depending upon the part of the image where you will place your watermark.

Making Your Text Watermark Semi-Transparent

A semi-transparent watermark allows you to use larger text in a more prominent position without obscuring the image. Removing this type of copyright notice without adversely affecting the image is much more difficult for would-be copyright violators.

  1. Increase the size of the text using the Size control in the Tool Options palette (see screenshot above).

  2. To make the Layers palette visible, go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Layers.

    GIMP > Dockable Dialogs > Layers
  3. Click on your text layer to ensure it is active.

    GIMP active layer
  4. Slide the Opacity slider to the left to reduce the opacity. The image below shows how your text watermark varies depending on text color and image section.

    GIMP adjust layer opacity

To type a © symbol in Windows, type Ctrl+Alt+C or Alt+0169. In macOS, type Option+C.