How to Install GIMP on Linux [10 Easy Steps]

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Last updated: June 28, 2023

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To install GIMP on Linux, you can follow these ten 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.

To configure GIMP, access preferences, customize user interface, toolbox, image windows, file handling, input devices, and plugins. Save the configuration settings. Enhance image editing with tips like Quick Mask Mode, keyboard shortcuts, expanding brushes, and using blending modes. Troubleshoot errors like GIMP failing to start, missing dependencies, file issues, and brush/tool malfunctions.

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.

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a feature-rich and versatile image editing software that empowers users to create stunning visual masterpieces. With its extensive features, user-friendly interface, and cost-free availability, GIMP empowers you to unleash your artistic vision and transform your images with precision and finesse. Whether you’re a professional photographer, graphic designer, or enthusiast, GIMP offers many tools and capabilities to enhance your photos, create stunning graphics, and bring your imagination to life. In this guide, I will walk you through the step-by-step process to install GIMP on Linux, the configuration of GIMP, tips and tricks to follow, and common errors that can occur.

How to Install GIMP on Linux

To install GIMP on Linux, ensure your system meets the minimum requirements. You’ll need a compatible Linux distribution like Ubuntu, Fedora, or Debian. Additionally, ensure you have a processor capable of running the software, a minimum of 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended), sufficient storage for files, and a display with a resolution of 1024×768 or higher. While integrated graphics are supported, a dedicated graphics card can enhance performance. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  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 Tips and Tricks for Enhanced Image Editing

Discover helpful tips and tricks to elevate your image editing skills in GIMP, the powerful open-source software. By incorporating these tips and tricks into your GIMP workflow, you’ll unlock new capabilities and refine your editing techniques. Here are four tips and tricks for enhance image editing:

  • 🔍 Mastering Selections with Quick Mask Mode: Quick Mask Mode allows you to make precise selections using brushes and filters. Press the Q key to enter Quick Mask Mode, then use brushes to paint the areas you want to select. Apply filters or adjustments to the selection, and exit the mode by pressing Q again. It’s a powerful tool for fine-tuning selections with ease.
  • ⚡️ Boost Productivity with Keyboard Shortcuts: Speed up your workflow using GIMP’s keyboard shortcuts. From simple tasks like zooming in and out (Ctrl + / Ctrl -) to advanced operations like duplicating a layer (Ctrl + Shift + D), learning and utilizing these shortcuts can save you valuable time. Customize the shortcuts according to your preferences for a more personalized editing experience.
  • 🖌️ Expanding the Brush Collection: GIMP’s brush collection can be expanded by downloading and installing new brush sets. Visit websites like deviantART or to explore various brush packs. Once downloaded, go to the Brushes folder within GIMP’s configuration directory and copy the new brush files there. Restart GIMP, and you’ll have a fresh set of brushes to experiment with.
  • 🌈 Utilizing Blending Modes for Creative Effects: Blending modes offer creative possibilities by altering how layers interact with each other. Experiment with different blending modes such as Overlay, Multiply, or Screen to achieve unique effects. Select the layer you want to apply a blending mode to, then open the Layers dialog and choose the desired mode from the drop-down menu. Combine layers with different blending modes to add depth and visual interest to your images.

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:

  • 🔧 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.
  • 🚫 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.
  • 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.
  • 💡 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.

In a Nutshell

I have provided you with a step-by-step guide to install GIMP on Linux, ensuring you can begin your image editing journey seamlessly. I have also discussed common errors during installation and usage, offering solutions to overcome them, and shared some valuable tips and tricks to enhance your GIMP skills, empowering you to explore the software’s full potential.

To further enhance your GIMP skills and delve deeper into the world of image editing, I recommend exploring the following topics: Advanced Image Editing Techniques, Workflow Optimization, and Digital Artwork Creation. Remember, practice makes perfect. Explore online tutorials, join communities, and keep pushing your boundaries to become a proficient GIMP user.

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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