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What is this image editor feature called to select elements after they're placed?

I've used a few pdf editors, form makers, and the like that allow you to select an element even after it's been deselected and other changes have been made.

So, for example, I can add a text box, draw a line to it, then edit the text in the text box or move it around without affecting the rest of the document.

What is this feature called in image editors? Layers sounds kind of like it, but each element would have to have it's own layer and any shape or mass selection tool would have to span all the layers.

I'd like to find a free app that can do this, but I've yet to find a search engine that understands "that thing where you can ..."-type phrases.
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More about image editor feature called select elements
  1. Best answer
    Yes, I think what you're talking about is layers. You can have multiple layers, each with their own objects and properties.

    GIMP can do this. Or Paint.net.
  2. Layers is correct.
  3. USAFRet said:
    Yes, I think what you're talking about is layers. You can have multiple layers, each with their own objects and properties.

    GIMP can do this. Or Paint.net.


    I know this feature requires an app that supports layers (at least internally). However I've tried paint.net and played with GIMP (a tiny bit), and both require you to manually create a new layer for each element you want to reselect and edit later. I guess I'd need something that will automatically create a new layer for each element.

    MS Office has this as a standard feature for most objects (after inserting a picture, word-art, chart, etc. in a document you can select that object with a single click). It seems like most image editors would have a similar feature for inserted objects (i.e. text fields, shapes, etc).
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