Are you a longtime Photoshop user looking to finally make the switch to GIMP – the free photo editing and photo manipulation software? You may find PhotoGIMP useful in helping you make the switch. This free patch by DioLinux simplifies the GIMP user interface by setting your Toolbox up in a single-column, setting your icon theme to symbolic (which is a single-color theme – similar to what Photoshop uses), changing all GIMP’s shortcuts to Photoshop’s default shortcuts (based on the Adobe manual), and more. It removes many of the default dockable dialogues that display around the GIMP canvas by default to declutter your workspace and give you more room on the canvas itself.
Finally, PhotoGIMP includes popular plugins like the Heal Selection tool from the Resynthesizer plugin (this tool allows you to easily remove anything from a photo – which I cover in a few tutorials), thousands of free fonts (just check the individual font licenses to make sure you can use them commercially – not all are available for commercial use), and some third-party brushes.
This patch is full of useful tweaks and features – so let’s dive into how to actually install it on Windows! You can view the video tutorial below, or skip past it to read the Help Article available in 30+ languages.
Step 1: Download the PhotoGIMP Patch
The first thing you’ll need to do is download the free PhotoGIMP patch by DioLinux from GitHub. To do this, visit the GitHub page (linked in the previous sentence) and click the green “Clone” button (denoted by the red arrow in the image above). This is essentially a download button. Choose “Download ZIP” (green arrow in the image above).
You may be prompted to choose a location on your computer to download the zip file (if this is the case, choose a folder you’d like to download the file to on your computer), or the download process may begin automatically in the bottom corner of your browser. Once the download is complete, locate the download. The easy way to do this is to click the little arrow on the right side of the downloaded file (green arrow in the photo above) and choose “show in folder” (red arrow). This will locate your file in your File Explorer.
Once your file has been located, right-click on it (green arrow in the photo above) and choose “Extract All” (red arrow). Choose a location on your computer where you’d like to extract the file.
After your files have been extracted to your computer, the extracted folder should automatically pop up in a new File Explorer window. The folder will be named “PhotoGIMP-master” (red arrow in the above photo). Double-click on this folder to enter it.
Next, you’ll see a folder named “.var” (red arrow in the image above). Double-click to enter this folder as well, followed by “app,” “org.gimp.GIMP,” “config,” and finally “GIMP.” You should now see a folder labeled “gimp 2.10.” This is the folder we’ll need to install the patch in GIMP.
Step 2: Locate Your GIMP 2.10 Folder
Now that we have the PhotoGIMP patch installed and extracted, we need to replace GIMP’s current 2.10 file with the 2.10 file from this patch. This will ensure that all of the existing shortcut keys are replaced, as well as fonts, brushes, plugins, etc. Note – if you have a lot of customizations for your GIMP and don’t want to lose them all, I don’t recommend proceeding with this tutorial as PhotoGIMP may remove all your customizations. However, I’m also going to show you how to back-up your old GIMP settings in case you want to try out PhotoGIMP but then revert back to your old set-up.
Regardless, you’ll need to locate the main 2.10 folder for GIMP to proceed. To do this, open up GIMP and go to Edit>Preferences.
Expand the “Folders” menu (red arrow in the image above) and click on any of the folders. For this example, I went with “Plugins” (green arrow). It doesn’t matter which folder you select.
Find the folder destination that contains “…\AppData\Roaming\…” (blue arrow in the image above). This is usually the first folder address listed here. Click on it to select it. Then, click on “Show file location in the file manager” icon (yellow arrow). This will take you to that folder
You’ll notice that my Plugins folder is contained within the “2.10” folder (blue arrow above). This is the actual folder we need for the next step, so we need to back up a folder. You can do this by clicking the “GIMP” folder (red arrow), which is where the 2.10 folder is located.
You should now see just the “2.10” folder.
Step 3: Back-up Your GIMP 2.10 Folder
Since this folder tends to contain a lot of personal preferences, GIMP defaults, user customizations, etc., I recommend backing up the 2.10 folder before replacing it with PhotoGIMP.
To do this, select the 2.10 folder and copy it with ctrl+c (or by right-clicking on the folder and choosing “copy” – red arrow in the image above).
Next, open a new File Explorer window by going to File>Open new window (red and blue arrows in the image above).
In this new window, navigate to whatever folder you’d like to back the 2.10 folder up to. I just went with my D: drive (red arrow in the image above), where I created a folder called “GIMP 2 10 Backup.” You can click the “New Folder” button (blue arrow) to create a new folder).
Here, I’ll hit ctrl+v to paste my 2.10 folder or right click and choose paste (red arrow in the above image). We now have a backup of this folder in case we want to restore it at any time.
I’ll exit out of this File Explorer window as we don’t need it anymore.
Step 4: Install PhotoGIMP Master File
Navigate back over to the File Explorer window from Step 2 (the one with “…\AppData\Roaming\…” – blue arrow in the image above).
Right-click on the 2.10 folder and choose “Delete” (red arrow).
Next, open the separate File Explorer window that has the extracted folder for PhotoGIMP from the end of Step 1 (see the blue arrow in the image above for the folder address).
Click on the “2.10” folder and hit ctrl+c to copy it or right-click on it and choose “copy” (red arrow).
I recommend closing out of GIMP before the next step (I didn’t do this in the photos but it should be done for this to work).
Navigate back over to the empty “…\AppData\Roaming…” folder and paste your 2.10 folder (ctrl+v or right-click and choose paste). The 2.10 folder from the PhotoGIMP-master folder with all its contents should now start copying over.
Step 5: Close and Reopen GIMP
Now that your PhotoGIMP files are installed, exit out of GIMP if you haven’t already.
Reopen GIMP either via the search feature on Windows or the Desktop shortcut. Once GIMP opens, you’ll notice it now has the new PhotoGIMP splash page (assuming you installed everything correctly).
You should now see the new PhotoGIMP layout (as shown in the photo above) – which has the features described at the beginning of this article.
If your GIMP doesn’t look quite like mine, you may need to close down GIMP, delete the 2.10 folder from the AppData\Roaming folder, copy the 2.10 folder from the PhotoGIMP-master folder, and paste it back into the AppData\Roaming folder. Re-open GIMP, and it should work (sometimes, depending on your settings, GIMP saves your last workspace layout – which can be different than the layout that comes by default with PhotoGIMP).