How to Install GIMP on Linux [ 3 Best Methods ]


To learn how to install GIMP on Linux, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open Ubuntu Software and search for GIMP.
  2. Select GIMP and click Install.
  3. Authenticate by entering your administrative password.
  4. Wait for the installation to complete.
  5. Launch GIMP from the software details page or applications menu.

Read the guide below to explore a step-by-step method to install GIMP on Linux. Also, learn how to configure, tips and tricks to enhance editing, and common errors with possible solutions.

Setting up new software can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to start. If you’re looking to install GIMP, a powerful and free image editing tool, on your Linux system, you’re in the right place. This post will guide you through step-by-step methods to GIMP install Linux and help you troubleshoot any errors that might come up. By the end of this article, you’ll have GIMP up and running smoothly, ready to enhance your photos and create stunning graphics. Let’s dive in and get started!

What is GIMP?

GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a free and open-source image editing software. You can use GIMP to create and edit images, much like Adobe Photoshop. It’s popular among graphic designers, photographers, and illustrators for its versatility and powerful features.

Features and Capabilities

  • Photo Retouching: GIMP allows you to enhance and restore photos. You can fix color balance, remove blemishes, and adjust lighting to improve your images.
  • Image Composition: You can combine multiple images into one. This is useful for creating collages, blending images, or adding backgrounds.
  • Graphic Design Elements: GIMP provides tools to create logos, icons, and other design elements. You can use brushes, pencils, and airbrushes to draw and design from scratch.
  • Customizable Interface: You can modify GIMP’s interface to suit your workflow. Arrange tools and panels in a way that’s most convenient for you.
  • Support for Various File Formats: GIMP supports a wide range of file formats, including JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, and PSD. You can open and save files in these formats easily.
  • Extensible with Plugins: You can enhance GIMP’s functionality with plugins. There are many available plugins for various effects and tools, which you can install to expand what GIMP can do.
  • Advanced Image Editing Tools: GIMP offers advanced tools like layers, masks, and paths. These tools help you create complex edits and designs with precision.
  • Scriptable with Languages: You can automate tasks in GIMP using scripting languages like Python. This is useful for repetitive tasks or creating custom functions.
  • Free and Open-Source: GIMP is completely free to use. As an open-source program, anyone can contribute to its development or modify the source code.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: GIMP works on various operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and macOS. This makes it accessible to a wide range of users.

How to Install GIMP on Linux

To install GIMP on Linux, start by updating your system’s package list. On Debian-based systems like Ubuntu, open the terminal and run sudo apt update followed by sudo apt install gimp. Alternatively, you can install GIMP via Snap by executing sudo snap install gimp. After installation, verify it by running gimp in the terminal. This ensures GIMP is properly set up and ready to use on your Linux system.

Here are the detailed steps for three different methods to Gimp Linux install:

1. Installing GIMP via Package Manager

Using a package manager to install GIMP on Linux is one of the most straightforward and recommended methods, especially for beginners. Package managers handle dependencies and ensure that the software is properly integrated into your system. This method is efficient and quick, leveraging your Linux distribution’s repositories.

  1. Before installing any new software, it’s good practice to update your package list to ensure you have the latest information.
sudo apt update
updating system packae list
  1. Use the APT package manager to Linux GIMP install.
sudo apt install gimp
installing gimp on ubuntu 1
  1. Once the installation is complete, you can verify it by launching GIMP from the terminal or application menu.

Ensure that GIMP opens without any errors.

launching gimp from the terminal

2. Installing GIMP via Snap

Snap is a universal package manager that works across various Linux distributions. Installing GIMP via Snap ensures you get the latest version of GIMP along with all its dependencies, neatly packaged. This method is ideal if you want to avoid dependency issues and prefer a containerized approach. Follow these steps to install GIMP Ubuntu:

  1. Open your Terminal and use the Snap package manager to install GIMP Linux.
sudo snap install gimp
installing gimp using snap package manager
  1. Launch GIMP using the Snap package manager to ensure it’s installed correctly.
snap run gimp

Check if GIMP opens without errors and performs as expected.

launching gimp using snap package manager
  1. GIMP launched successfully without any error:
gimp launched without errors

3. GUI Method

The GUI method allows you to install Linux GIMP easily through the Ubuntu Software application, providing a user-friendly, graphical interface for the installation process without needing to use terminal commands. Follow these steps to Linux install Gimp:

  1. Go to the Application Menu.
opening application menu 1
  1. Type Ubuntu Software in the search bar and click on the Ubuntu Software icon that appears.
launching ubuntu software app
  1. In the Ubuntu Software application, locate the search bar at the top-right corner. Type GIMP into the search bar and press Enter.
  2. From the search results, you should see GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) listed. Click on the GIMP entry to open the software details page.
searching for gimp in ubuntu software
  1. On the GIMP software details page, click the Install button.
installing gimp on ubuntu
  1. You may be prompted to enter your administrative password to authorize the installation process.
  2. Provide your password and click Authenticate to proceed.
Authenticating installation process
  1. Ubuntu Software will download the necessary packages and install GIMP on your system.
  2. The progress bar will indicate the installation status.
installation status
  1. You can search for GIMP in the applications menu and click on the GIMP icon to launch the application.
launching gimp

How to Configure GIMP on Linux

Configuring GIMP allows you to customize the software’s settings and preferences to suit your workflow and editing needs. Take the time to explore the preferences and adjust them according to your workflow and personal preferences. Here’s a step-by-step guide on configuring GIMP:

  1. Open GIMP on your computer.
GIMP interface
  1. Click on the Edit menu in the GIMP window and select Preferences. Alternatively, you can press the shortcut key combination Ctrl + P.
opening preferences in GIMP
  1. In the Preferences dialog box, you’ll find various categories on the left-hand side. Start with the System Resources category.
configuring system resources
  1. Under the System Resources category, you can configure the user interface settings. Adjust options like the default theme, icon size, and user interface language to your preference.
choosing preferences from interface
  1. Click on the Toolbox category in the Preferences dialog. Here, you can customize the appearance and behavior of the toolbox. You can choose which tools to display, modify their order, and enable or disable various options.
configuring toolbox in GIMP
  1. Navigate to the Image Windows category. Here, you can set options such as handling newly opened images, zoom behavior, and display settings for rulers and grids.
configuring image windows in GIMP
  1. After making changes in each category, click the OK button to save your configuration settings.
saving configuration settings

4 Common Errors and How to Fix Them

It is common to encounter errors when installing and using GMP. By understanding and troubleshooting these common errors, you can ensure a smoother GIMP experience and make the most out of this powerful image editing software. Here are four common errors you may encounter:

1. 🔧 GIMP Fails to Start error

If GIMP fails to start or crashes during launch, it may be due to conflicting plugins or corrupt configuration files.

To fix this, try resetting GIMP’s configuration by deleting the .gimp directory in your home folder. Alternatively, you can launch GIMP safely by running gimp --safe-mode in the Terminal, which disables plugins and allows you to troubleshoot further.

2. 🚫 Missing Dependency Error

When installing GIMP, you might encounter a “missing dependency” error indicating that certain required packages are not installed.

Use your distribution package manager to install the missing dependencies to resolve this. For instance, you can run sudo apt-get install -f on Ubuntu to automatically fix and install the missing packages.

3. ❗ Unable to Open or Save Files

If you experience issues opening or saving files in GIMP, it could be due to file format compatibility or permissions.

Ensure you have appropriate read and write permissions for the directory where you are trying to save the files. Additionally, check if you have the necessary plugins or libraries installed to support the file formats you are working with.

4. 💡 Brush or Tool Malfunction

If brushes or tools are not working as expected in GIMP, it could be due to various reasons, such as incorrect settings or conflicts.

Make sure the correct brush or tool is selected and verify the tool’s settings in the respective dialog. Additionally, try resetting the tool options by clicking the Reset to Default button in the tool options dialog.

Install GIMP Linux: In a Nutshell

In this article, I’ve walked you through the step-by-step methods to install GIMP on Linux. Whether you prefer using a package manager, Snap, or another method, these instructions will help you get GIMP up and running smoothly. I’ve also covered how to troubleshoot common installation errors to ensure a hassle-free experience.

If you found this guide helpful, you might also enjoy learning:

  • How to install GNOME on Ubuntu, which can give you more control over your desktop environment and improve your overall user experience.
  • Additionally, exploring how to use the apt command to search for packages in Ubuntu will streamline your command-line skills, making software management much easier.
  • For those facing installation issues, I recommend learning how to fix the “You Have Held Broken Packages” error on Linux to handle such problems more effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is GIMP suitable for professional graphic design work?

Absolutely! GIMP is a highly capable software that can be used for professional graphic design work. It offers an extensive toolset, advanced features, and support for layers and masks, making it a versatile choice for designers. With GIMP, you can perform photo retouching, image manipulation, digital painting, and graphic design tasks. It provides many tools and functionalities comparable to other professional graphic design software. Whether you’re a professional graphic designer, illustrator, or photographer, GIMP’s capabilities, flexibility, and open-source nature make it a valuable tool for your creative projects.

Does GIMP support Photoshop file formats like PSD?

GIMP has limited support for opening and editing PSD files. While it may not fully preserve all the layers, effects, and advanced features, it can handle basic PSD files and allow you to make modifications. When opening a PSD file in GIMP, it will be converted into a layered image, and you can edit the individual layers, make adjustments, and export the modified file in various formats. While GIMP may not provide seamless compatibility with every aspect of PSD files, it offers a viable option for working with Photoshop files in a GNU/Linux environment.

Can I extend GIMP’s functionality with plugins and scripts?

Yes, you can use different plugins and scripts to enhance GIMP functionality. These additional resources can significantly expand GIMP’s capabilities and cater to specific needs. Whether you’re looking for advanced filters, special effects, or specific tools, a wide range of plugins and scripts are available for download. You can explore the official GIMP Plugin Registry, community forums, or third-party websites to find and install plugins and scripts. Extending GIMP with these additional tools allows you to customize your workflow, streamline tasks, and unlock new creative possibilities.

Can I use GIMP to edit RAW images from my digital camera?

Absolutely! GIMP has built-in support for RAW image files, allowing you to edit and process your digital camera’s RAW captures. When opening a RAW file in GIMP, you can adjust exposure, white balance, tone curves, and more. GIMP’s powerful editing tools and flexibility enable you to enhance the details, colors, and overall quality of your RAW images. By using the Open dialog in GIMP, you can navigate to your RAW file, select it, and begin editing. GIMP’s RAW editing capabilities make it a valuable tool for photographers who want to have control and creative freedom over their digital images.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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