What do GIMP selection tools include

2. The user interface

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Figure 3.1. –Window arrangement in the standard setting

In the standard setting, the window layout of comprises the following three windows:

  1. Tool window / tool box: The tool window is the "heart" of the GIMP. It contains special menu items and a whole range of tools that are essential for image processing. If you close the tool window, it will exit. However, to be on the safe side, you will receive a warning beforehand. For more information, see Section 2.1, “The Tools Window”.

  2. Tool settings: The dialog for the tool settings is located below the tool window, which shows the properties of the currently active tool. Further information is available in Section 5.1, "The" Tools "Dialog".

  3. Image window: Each image loaded in is opened in its own image window. You can therefore open almost any number of images at the same time. The number of these ultimately only depends on the available system resources. Further information can be found in Section 2.2, “The Image Window”.

  4. Layer dialog: He is responsible for level management. It is possible to operate image processing without layers, but halfway advanced users will not be able to do without a layer dialog. Further information is available in Section 2.1, "The" Layers "Dialog".

  5. Brush shapes / patterns / color gradients: The dialogs for managing brush shapes, patterns and color gradients are located below the layer dialog.

The screenshot shows the window arrangement of the standard setting. There are other dialogues for every possible purpose, but most of them are called up and closed for a specific purpose. In the vast majority of cases, the tool window is the starting point for image processing. In addition to the tools, it offers quick access to important dialogs.


If you want to return to the default window layout, you can do this quickly and easily by creating a new dock: File → Dialogs → Add Dock → Layers, Channels and Paths creates the layers dialog as shown above. In the same menu you create the dialog for the tool settings: File → Dialogs → Tool Settings. You can dock this dialog again under the tool window.

In contrast to other programs, it is not possible to combine all elements of the user interface, such as dialogs and image windows, in one window. The topic is being discussed in the community of developers and users, but a result has not yet been reached. From the developer's point of view, it is also disadvantageous if the program had to provide additional functions for window management. A task that a suitable window manager can handle a lot better; especially across multiple monitors.

Earlier versions of wasted a lot of space with dialog boxes. Advanced users had way too many dialogs open to work. That made it much more difficult to keep an overview. Since 2.0 there is a new way to manage dialogues: docks. Docks act more like containers that combine the many dialogues into one window. The system itself is easy to use; however, it takes some time to learn as a beginner.

The following sections go into the use of various dialogs in more detail. Once you've read this chapter, you should be familiar with the tools you need to be able to use them in a wide variety of everyday tasks. You can take another foray into the rest of the manual and learn many new things.

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Figure 3.2. The GIMP tools window

The tool window is the heart of. It is the only window on which all other dialog windows of the application depend. Here is a brief description of the areas of the tool window.


In the tool window, as well as in dialogs or menus, you can have the GIMP give you brief explanations. To do this, move the mouse pointer over a button and hold the mouse there for a few seconds. The mini help will appear automatically. Besides, you can F1 Press to open the help browser, which shows you a more detailed page of the online help with a description of the current button or function.

  1. Tool window menu: The special thing about this menu is that it contains functions that are only available in the tool window and not in the image window. In particular, this menu contains a large number of functions for opening, loading or creating new images. See Section 2, “The File Menu in the Tools Pane” for more information.

  2. Tool symbols: Click on one of these symbols to activate the symbolized tool. GIMP provides you with a wide variety of tools from the categories "Selection Tool", "Painting Tool", "Transformation Tool" and "Other". For more information about the GIMP tools and how you can work with them, see Section 1, “The Tools Window”.

  3. Foreground / background color: The color area of ​​the tool window shows the current foreground and background colors used by various dialogs. Click on one of the two buttons to open the color dialog. The colors can be swapped with the arrow. To reset the colors to the default values ​​black and white, use the small "black / white" symbol at the bottom left.

  4. Brush / Pattern / Gradient: These thumbnails show the currently selected brush, pattern, and gradient. The brush can be used for drawing in the traditional sense as well as for erasing and smearing. Painting tools don't just use brush settings. Patterns are also used, for example, by the filler bucket to fill areas with the selected pattern. Gradient comes into play when you need a lot of colors to fill a certain area of ​​the image. By clicking on one of these thumbnails you will reach the respective dialog to select either a new brush, gradient or a new pattern.

  5. Active image: When you work with a lot of images, there is always exactly one to perform operations on. The active or current image is shown as a thumbnail in this area. Click on this thumbnail to open a dialog that shows you all of the images that are currently open.


    This feature is disabled in the GIMP default settings. You can switch this on in the Tool Window Settings dialog.


Every time you start the GIMP, the default tool is activated with the default color, brush tip, and pattern. If you prefer the GIMP to start with the setting last used, you can save this in the Settings dialog under Device status on exit.