Ah, finally, some concrete specifics.  Let me digest that...

> Old way:   Create file 300x300, work on it.

Okay, you now have one window/tab displaying your image.  (Since this is just 
an example, I'm not going to question whether the image is 300x300 pixels or 
some arbitrary size tagged as 300dpi.  But always include the unit-of-measure 
with a number.)

> Save as orchard.xcf, all layers intact, everything fine.


>  Scaled image to 72x72, named it Orchard-scaled.png (or .jpg if that's what 
> they ask for).

Right, so you did indeed rescale the image size (and update the dpi to reflect 
the new pixel dimensions) and after that you output it as a separate file using 
a standard image format.  No problems here.

> I then had that Orchard-scaled.png on my screen and I could make changes if I 
> wanted to before mailing it.

This is because in the 2.6 model the open image is named according to its 
most-recently-saved filename (regardless of file format).  So yes, if say you 
forgot to add a watermark or something you could simply make the change and hit 
"Save" to re-output orchard-scaled.png .  Note that by doing this you lose the 
ability to quickly save said changes back to your XCF unless/until you 
specifically tell GIMP to "Save As..." an XCF again.  (Ironically, since you 
did an image rescale between the XCF and PNG, GIMP losing track of the XCF is 
probably a good thing.)

> It seems I can't do that any more. Now, if I want to see my 72x72 
> Orchard-scaled.png, I have to open it, and as soon as I open it, it becomes a 
> file that I can't mail because it's no longer a .png.

Not exactly.  The open image window is labelled something along the lines of 
"Untitled [original filename]".  'Untitled' refers to the XCF associated with 
the open window (or in this case the lack thereof, since it was opened directly 
from a standard image file) but the window title does note that the image was 
nonetheless loaded from a file.  

More importantly, the file on disk remains completely unchanged (and mailable); 
GIMP doesn't even place a lock on the file handle (unlike many commercial 
products); you could open your mail software and attach/send a copy of your PNG 
even while GIMP is still running.

I agree, though, in some cases you do want to verify what the exported file 
looks like, in which case you do need to open that file in a separate 
window/tab.  No way around that, in fact there never was :(

> So my Q, is there a way to open that .png, keep it a .png,  tweak it if I 
> want to, save the .png and mail it? 

Yes, just use the "Export" commands instead of the "Save" commands, keeping in 
mind that in 2.8 Save only works on XCF files:

- When you are working on an XCF, you will be prompted for the filename (and 
assorted filetype options) the first time you hit the Export command, but after 
that, as long as GIMP remains open you can re-export that image at any time 
(with no additional prompts or dialogs) by using the "Export to [filename]" 

- When you open a standard file format, one of the "Export" options will become 
"Overwrite [filename]" which is the equivalent of a quick save back to the 
original filename with as few GIMP prompts/dialogs as possible. (Note that in 
practice you should never do this with JPG files)

-- Stratadrake
Numbers may not lie, but neither do they tell the whole truth.
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