Optimize Gimp for Best Workflow

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Gimp is a widely used open source image editor that offers a wide range of features and capabilities. However, Gimp’s UI can be confusing and cumbersome to use and has an unorganized look to it, especially when dealing with complex tasks. There are a few simple things you can do to optimize Gimp for the best workflow.

Change the default workspace


Gimp’s UI is not that bad, but its default workspace is kind of horrible, but you don’t have to deal with it because Gimp is customizable.

Before we start changing things, we need to understand what is most important for a great workflow. We also have to understand the goal of this workflow optimization. The goal of this optimization is to make your workflow fast and convenient.

To achieve the goal, we have to change the elements that we interact with the most, while also making a clean and organised layout.

First make the toolbox vertical.

Because it looks more organised and takes up less space, and because many other software have a virtual toolbox, it is much more consistent with the other software you may be using, such as Inkscape, Blender, and a few others.

Tool Options

Placement of the tool options is very important because after selecting a tool, we always change its properties in tool options, and I can argue that most of us Gimp users invest lots of time in tool options, so placement is important.

I decided to put the tool options right next to the toolbox because, as I mentioned, after selecting a tool, we always do is change its properties in the tool options.

So this placement helps us to quickly select and change tools and tool settings, which will help us to do things quickly in Gimp.

Right side of panel

If you do simple edit in gimp then that it for you, but if you do much more than crop photos or increase contrasts, then changing right side of the panel might make things much better for you, first of all you have to understand what kinds of things you do like using color panel more, or brush selector more something other than place that panel in the upper side of right side of layout.

Overall Look


Use Presets

Use any filter and save that filter or effect setting by clicking on the plus icon and reuse that effect on any layer anytime. You can use this with most filters and almost all colour adjustments like curves, levels, colour balance and others. 

Use External Filter

I wrote another post on Photoshop layer effects in Gimp in which I showed how to install and use external filters in Gimp. You may try it out; it will make creating thumbnails and social media posts more easier and faster.

Use External Filter

Most important plugins

These are the greatest plugins for Gimp. I highly recommend you download and install these plugins. They almost make Gimp 2x more powerful.

  • G’MIC
  • Resynthesizer