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How to customize the Gimp interface on Linux

The Gimp Graphics editor, though not perfect, is one of the best open-source applications available to Linux users. However, the default layout of the app is quite terrible. The toolbars are in three parts and hard to use; the theme it uses by default doesn’t match your system’s one, and so on.

Thankfully, Gimp has a significant number of customization features that are sure to excite Linux users. So, in this guide, we’ll go over how to customize the Gimp interface on Linux. We’ll show you how to tweak everything from the toolbar, the icons it uses, theming, and much more!

Hide docks

In Gimp, “docks” are the items to the left and right of the workspace. In the left dock, you’ll see your toolbox, filled with various graphical tools you can use to manipulate the image you are currently working on. In the right dock, you’ll see the layer UI, brush options, image pathing options, textures, and much more.

These docks are very useful when working with Gimp. However, you may find that they get in the way from time to time, and take up a lot of space. If you’re working on an image in Gimp and want to get rid of the docks, here’s what to do.

Click “Windows” in the Gimp UI to reveal the “Windows” menu. Then, in the menu, find the “Hide docks.” button, and check the box next to it to hide both the left and right Gimp instantly docks.

Need to unhide the docks? Go back to “Windows,” and uncheck the “Hide docks” button, or press Tab.

Single-window mode

For the longest time, Gimp has had a weird UI that was hard to work with. The left and right dock and the image workspace floated independently. These days, in new versions, that issue is taken care of with the “Single-window” mode, which gives the users an experience similar to Adobe Photoshop.

If you’re still stuck in multi-window mode in Gimp, you can change to Single-window mode by clicking on the “Windows” menu, then checking the box next to “Single-window mode.”

Need to exit Single-window mode in Gimp? Go back to “Windows” and uncheck the box next to “Single-window mode.”

Tab position

The default tab position in the Gimp application is at the top. For most users, this works just fine. However, if you’re not a fan of the positioning, for whatever reason, the app lets you customize it and change it to wherever you’d like.

To change the position of the tabs in Gimp, do the following. First, open up the “Windows” menu. Then, inside of the “Windows” menu, look for a sub-menu labeled “Tab position.”

In the “Tab position” menu, you will see several different choices for where you’d like the Gimp app to display tabs (top, bottom, left, right). Select one of the options in the list to switch the tab position instantly.

Toolbox items

The Gimp application’s toolbox items can be customized to have more (or less) tools available to use. To customize the Gimp toolbox, do the following.

First, click the “Edit” button at the top of Gimp and access the Edit menu. Then, look through for the “Preferences” button and click it to open up Gimp’s preferences area.

Inside of Gimp’s preferences window, find the “Interface” section. Then, look under it for “Toolbox” and click on it to access Gimp’s toolbox settings.

In the toolbox settings, look through the list of tools enabled in Gimp. Click the eye button to enable/disable tools in the toolbox.

When you’ve finished adding/removing tools to the Gimp toolbox, click the “OK” button to save changes.

Gimp icon style

Gimp’s default icon style is quite frankly an eyesore. Luckily, the icons in the app are very customizable, and it is possible to change out the defaults for other ones.

To customize Gimp’s icon style, start out by clicking on “Edit” to open the edit menu. Then, look through the menu, and select “Preferences” to open up Gimp’s preferences area.

Inside of Gimp’s preferences area, look for the “Interface” column. Then, click on “Icon Theme” to access the Gimp icon settings.

In Gimp’s icon settings, you will see 4 different icon themes to choose from. These icons are “Color”, “Legacy”, “Symbolic”, and “Symbolic-Inverted.” Choose the theme that suits your needs best.

When you’ve set your preferred Gimp icon theme, click “OK” to save the changes.

Gimp user-interface style

If you’re not a fan of the Gimp user interface, you’ll be happy to know that you can customize it with different themes. To customize Gimp’s user interface style, do the following.

First, click on “Edit” to open up the Edit menu. Then, look through the menu for “Preferences” and click it to access Gimp’s preferences area.

In the Gimp preferences area, find “Interface” and click it to access Gimp’s interface settings. Then, under “Interface” click on the “Theme” option to access the theme area.

Inside of the theme area, you will be presented with 4 different Gimp styles. These styles are “Dark,” “Gray”, “Light”, and “System”. Select the theme you like best.

After selecting your preferred theme, click “OK” to instantly change Gimp over to the new theme.

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