Here is a new version of gimp_tips.txt that could be used for the next
release. Thanks to those who sent me some very useful suggestions!
Please have a look at this file and tell me if anything should be
added or removed.
Some of the things that have changed:
- New comment for translators, suggesting to keep the english version
of the tips as comments in the translated file. It would be easier
for someone who does not speak that language to check that the file
is up-to-date or to check if some new and useful tips have been
added in the translated version. Maybe this explanation could go
into a README file, now that the tips are in a separate directory?
- I removed some of my old FIXME comments as well as the tips refering
to the old (pre-1.x) version of the Gimp.
- The tips suggesting to flatten an image before saving it are not
needed anymore because the Export feature works well.
- Several new tips have been added: drag and drop, usage of the
Channels and Paths, ...
I am including the full file here because it is not too big (7 Kb) and
it is smaller and more readable than a diff. I hope that nobody will
Please send your comments!
# This is a list of tips for the GIMP. Every time the GIMP is
# started, one tip will be selected from this file and will be
# displayed in the "Tip of the day" dialog.
# - Lines starting with '#' are comments.
# - Blank lines or comments separate two tips (they are not ignored).
# Multiple blank lines are treated as one. If you want to have a
# blank line in a tip, put a space or tab in it.
# - Text will appear in the dialog as it is in this file. This is
# done on purpose in order to have more freedom in the layout of the
# tips than with automatic word-wrapping, but this also means that
# you have to avoid excessively long lines in this file.
# - Tips should be concise: 3 lines or less.
# - Advice for translators to other languages: keep the original tips
# as comments before the translated tips. It will be easier for
# other people to check for changes or additions.
# Tips in this file have been contributed by Zachary Beane, Mo Oishi,
# Raphael Quinet, Sven Neumann, Carey Bunks and other people on the
# gimp mailing lists and newsgroup (comp.graphics.apps.gimp).
# The first tip should be a welcome message, because this is the
# first thing that a new user will see.
Welcome to the GIMP !
Nearly all image operations are performed by right-clicking
on the image. And don't worry, you can undo most mistakes...
# Tips for beginners start here
# (for people who are not familiar yet with layers and image formats)
You can get context-sensitive help for most of the GIMP's features by
pressing the F1 key at any time. This also works inside the menus.
The GIMP uses layers to let you organize your image. Think of them
as a stack of slides or filters, such that looking through them you
see a composite of their contents.
You can perform many layer operations by right-clicking on the text
label of a layer in the "Layers, Channels and Paths" dialog
When you save an image to work on it again later, try using XCF,
the GIMP's native file format (use the file extension ".xcf").
This preserves the layers and every aspect of your work-in-progress.
Once a project is completed, you can save it as JPEG, PNG, GIF, ...
The layer named "Background" is special. You can't add
transparency or a layer mask to it. To add transparency, you
must first "add alpha" to the layer by right-clicking in the
layers dialog and selecting "Add Alpha Channel".
Most plug-ins work on the current layer of the current image. In
some cases, you will have to merge all layers (Layers->Flatten Image)
if you want the plug-in to work on the whole image.
Not all effects can be applied to all kinds of images. This is
indicated by a grayed-out menu-entry. You may need to change
the image mode to RGB (Image->Mode->RGB), add an alpha-channel
(Layers->Add Alpha Channel) or flatten it (Layers->Flatten Image).
# Tips for intermediate users start here
You can drag and drop many things in the GIMP. For example, dragging
a color from the toolbox or from a color selector and dropping it into
an image will fill the current image or selection with that color.
When using a drawing tool (Paintbrush, Airbrush, or Pencil),
Shift-click will draw a straight line from your last drawing
point to your current cursor position. If you also press Ctrl,
the line will be constrained to 15 degree angles.
The file selection dialog box has command-line completion with
Tab, just like the shell. Type part of a filename, hit tab, and voila!
You can reassign shortcut keys on any menu by bringing up the menu,
selecting a menu item, and pressing the new shortcut key combination.
This is dynamic and is saved when you exit GIMP.
You can use the middle mouse button to pan around
the image, if it's larger than its display window.
Click and drag on a ruler to place a Guide on an image. All
dragged selections will snap to the guides. You can remove
guides by dragging them off the image with the Move tool.
You can drag a layer from the "Layers, Channels and Paths" dialog
and drop it onto the toolbox. This will create a new image
containing only that layer.
A Floating Selection must be anchored to a new layer or to the last
active layer before doing other operations on the image. You can drag
the preview icon onto the New Layer or Anchor Layer buttons in the
"Layers, Channels and Paths" dialog, or use the menus to do the same.
The GIMP supports gzip compression on the fly. Just add
".gz" (or ".bz2", if you have bzip2 installed) to the filename
and your image will be saved compressed. Of course loading
compressed images works too.
Pressing and holding the Shift key before making a selection allows
you to add to the current selection instead of replacing it. Using
Ctrl before making a selection subtracts from the current one.
You can press or release the Shift and Ctrl keys while you are
making a selection in order to constrain it to a perfect square
or circle, or to have it centered on its starting point.
Using Edit->Stroke allows you to draw simple squares or circles by
painting the edge of your current selection with the active brush.
More complex shapes can be drawn with Filters->Render->Gfig.
You can create and edit complex selections using the Bezier Path tool.
The "Paths" tab in the "Layers, Channels and Paths" dialog allows you
to work on multiple paths and to convert them to selections.
You can save a selection to a channel (Select->Save to Channel) and
then modify this channel with any paint tools. Use the "Channels" tab
in the "Layers, Channels and Paths" dialog to toggle the visibility of
this new channel and to perform various operations on it.
# Tips for advanced users start here
# (this is mostly for learning shortcut keys)
You can adjust the selection range for fuzzy select
by clicking and dragging left and right.
Shift-click on the eye icon in the Layers dialog to hide all
layers but that one. Shift-click again to show all layers.
Ctrl-click on the layer mask's preview in the Layers dialog
toggles the effect of the layer mask.
Alt-click on the layer mask's preview in the Layers dialog
toggles viewing the mask directly.
You can use Alt-Tab to cycle through all layers in an image
(if your window manager doesn't trap those keys...).
Shift-click with the Bucket Fill tool to have it use
the background color instead of the foreground color.
Control-drag with the Transform tool in rotation mode
will constrain the rotation to 15 degree angles.
You can adjust and re-place a selection by using Alt-drag.
If your fonts turn out blocky, that's because they're not scalable
fonts. Most X servers support scalable Type 1 Postscript fonts.
Download and install them. Some font servers also allow you to use
TrueType (.ttf) fonts, which are also scalable.
To create a perfect circle, hold Shift while doing an ellipse select. To
place a circle precisely, drag horizontal and vertical guides tangent to
the circle you want to select, place your cursor at the intersection
of the guides, and the resulting selection will just touch the guides.
If Edit->Stroke does not give good results with a 1-pixel brush, you
can try the following: first, fill your selection with the foreground
color, then make a selection that is 1 pixel smaller than the previous
one and use Edit->Clear. That will leave a thin 1-pixel line.
# (end of tips)