GIMP’s user interface has come a long way over the years – but to take full advantage of it, you have to know how to customize it. For example, GIMP now offers a single-column toolbox for a more minimal and professional looking workspace. However if you aren’t familiar with GIMP’s dockable dialogues or layout in general, it can be easy to overlook this feature or get frustrated trying to achieve this more simplistic layout.
In this tutorial, I’ll be showing you how to get the single column toolbox layout in GIMP. You can also check out the video version of this tutorial below, which contains some additional tips on customizing your Toolbox, or you can scroll past the video to the Help Article version.
For starters, your GIMP will look something like the picture above, with your tools in multiple rows (and grouped if you’re using GIMP 2.10.18 or newer – indicated by the red arrow in the photo above). Below the tools you’ll have your foreground and background colors (blue arrow), and below those you will have several tabs – including your Tool Options (green arrow), Device Status, Undo History, and Images.
These tabs are actually called “Dockable Dialogues,” and they can be repositioned in a variety of locations in GIMP or closed out entirely. For our first step towards getting a single column toolbox, we’ll need to move these dockable dialogues to a new location.
I’ll start by clicking my mouse on the Tool Options tab (red arrow on the left), then dragging my mouse towards the right side of GIMP (follow green dotted line to red arrow on the right). You’ll now notice blue highlights indicating locations where I can move the Tool Options dialogue (one of these highlighted areas is indicated by the blue arrow in the photo).
If I hover my mouse over any of these highlighted areas, they will show up with an even brighter highlight indicating that this is where my dialogue would now be located if I released my mouse (red arrow in the image above).
I’ll drag my Tool Options over to the Highlight located on the right side of the canvas window. I’ll release my mouse, and my Tool Options dialogue will now be placed here.
I’ll repeat this step for the other three tabs/dockable dialogues located below the Toolbox. You can move these dialogues to wherever you prefer – I prefer to have the remaining three dialogues located above the Tool Options. (In the image above, I am dragging my “Device Status” tab from the left red arrow along the dotted green line to the right red arrow – which is the location above the tool options.)
I have provided one last example in the image above – I moved the last “Images” tab that was below my Toolbox to the right of the “Undo History” tab, which is now located on the right side of the GIMP canvas above the Tool Options.
Now that all of your dialogues have been relocated, you should have just the Toolbox with the foreground and background colors located below the tools. Hover your mouse over the right edge of the Toolbox where you see the 3 dots (red arrow in the photo above – your mouse pointer should change from the standard mouse pointer to two arrows, side-by-side, facing opposite directions). Click and drag your mouse to the left until all the tools fall into a single line.
You should now have a single column toolbox (red arrow).