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GIMP 2.8 and its (huge) improvements to the User Interface!

By at 2009-09-19 01:39:45 UTC, last updated about 12 years ago. CC BY-NC License

Finally confirmed: single window mode is coming for 2.8! But thats not the whole story yet ;) The plan for 2.8 also includes lots of other cool new usability and interaction features!

Peter Sikking, interface and interaction artist for the GIMP, makes lots of questioned things clear in his latest Blog post about new features that are ready to be implemented to GIMPs UI.

Some comments in the mailing list discussion and on our news about it have been negative on the single window announcement.

First of all: Single Window Mode will come for 2.8. It will be mainly developed by Martin Nordholts (aka Enselic in the GIMP community).
Second: You won’t be forced to use it, if you don’t like single window! You will just be able to switch it off in the appropriate menu entry! And the best thing for these users – you will still come into benefit of most other cool new features (see list below).

It is also planned to have more cool features in the next version of GIMP (2.8) already:

  • Single/Multi-Window layout is a real “option” – it is freely customizable by you!
  • Multiple column inspectors. You will be able to use more than one column for all the dialogs!!
  • Switch between open images using an easy history thumbnail bar (no tabbing like web browsers or as it is in Photoshop currently). This is also more eye-friendly than tabs!
  • Polaroid overlays. You can overlay the window to i.e. show multiple parts of an image in different zooms.

Please note: The screenshots on the blog entry DON’T represent the final layout. They shall only give an idea of what it could look.

In our personal opinion the changes will be just awesome and also seem to be thought through very well by the GIMP dev team! We hope that the developement on this goes VERY well in the next weeks/months! There is no update on an 2.8 release date, but we think that 2.8 will still arrive this year.

Peter Sikking:
Martin Nordholts:


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lousiewhei member for over 10 years lousiewhei 14 comments
over 10 years ago

Anyone know where to find the info on the old plug-ins, scripts that worked in 2.6 can be used with 2.8? I have resynthesizer in 2.6, but does it work with 2.8? I am really amateur, so no brick bats please.

Lyle member for over 10 years Lyle 91 comments
over 10 years ago

Recently I noticed that some of my favorite Gradients (German Flag smooth for instance) were not including with 2.8; not sure why. Think a few brushes might be missing too but I've not done a side by side comparison (can't; have way too many brushes in my 2.6x install now). As for 2.6x, all you have to do is re-install it and all your 2.6x settings will be there and they both can co-exist and even be run side by side with a litte batch hack. Still, with a lot of other folks help, I got mathmap and several other plugins working so I'm trying to stay in GIMP 2.8 world and like you said 23dornot32d, it's still hard for me to save a jpeg. lol


Below's the solution thanks to MareroQ; if you don't want to use Shellout, you still can run the batch file and have both GIMPs running simultaneously if need be:

over 10 years ago

You can do this - in a /opt/ directory ..... instructions that work are here

The thing is 2.8 is looking good now .... except for the awkward export
routine ..... as I have got so used to pressing save I do it by instinct now ..
I think I want to save a jpg .... my instinct is to save ..... but nope it now is ioa windows backwards option .... we are now heading for compatibility with systems that take more keystrokes ..... to do a simple job

Danny Carlisle
over 10 years ago

What I would love to see is a GIMP world where the new install doesn't overwrite the existing one. This way, we can keep and still use the last release while giving the newest one a try until we're either accustomed to the new one or, we find we really don't care for the newest.

It would sure beat going through the whole installation process over and over again.

Kristian Rmanæs
over 10 years ago

i would only use this program if i can custom the UI to be in one windows and refigurate it in bars aligned to the sides, top or bottom because of the low resolution of my laptop.
i choose not to use gimp because of the UI and it is greatly burdened by the UI in my opinion.
best regards.

almost 12 years ago

I don't care about the interface (I actually prefer the multi-windows mode ). Will it have native CMYK support?

jose carera rated this topic with 5/5
about 12 years ago

I agree, this is definately a good improvement

devvv member for about 16 years devvv 1475 comments
about 12 years ago

i already enjoy the new workflow using the export feature! believe me: its really nice ;) I'm sure everyone will like it when GIMP 2.8 is released!

gen rated this topic with 5/5
over 12 years ago

getting really excited for single window!!! the disappearing windows have been getting annoying Dx

over 12 years ago

Is there a place to download a development version of GIMP 2.8?

23dornot23d member for about 13 years 23dornot23d 10 comments
almost 13 years ago

It does actually look very good now .... and the thumbnails are a great asset .....

But .....

Why is UBUNTU considering dropping it ....... in its next release ......

They seem to want an editor only for crop rotate and red eye removal .....

But can't a setting for easy and advanced mode be added to GIMP ...... to try to avoid this ..... ?

about 13 years ago

Awesome. It looks a trillion times better already.

about 13 years ago

I'm off to donate a few dollars more to Gimp/Gnome. Great news!

Bill McGonigle
about 13 years ago

:does a little usability dance:

about 13 years ago

Where can I download a dev version (or any version!) of 2.8? Looked around GIMP site and couldn't find anything. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks!

drag member for about 13 years drag 1 comment
about 13 years ago

Oh no! I lost multi window UI with no window possibility .. it is big fuckup for my 3D pipeline. I do not want check, how many windows i have opened, every time. And direct save/open *.psd impossibility is my big problem too. GIMP 2.4 is my choice.

Kanye West
about 13 years ago

Yo GIMP, I'm happy for you and Imma let you finish, but Photoshop had one of the best ui's of all time. Of all time!

about 13 years ago

Fantastic! As many, I have been waiting for single windowed GIMP for years. Thanks a lot!

about 13 years ago

GIMP 2.10 will support 16bit

Shashwat member for over 13 years Shashwat 3 comments
about 13 years ago

^^16bt is already there with GEGLK , all we should need is 32bit CMYK replacement , the guy MM website working on plates as well :)

about 13 years ago

we need 16 bit!

RPG Master
about 13 years ago

This looks awesome :D

But... will it have 16-bit color depth support?

If so, I'll be set :)

about 13 years ago

How about opening PSD's of the current photoshop properly?
Its the main reason why the gimp is giving me a hard time when working with designers who use CS3...
And yes, I know the "issues" with IP and documents from Adobe and how PSD sucks. However, opening the files used by 100% of the designers I work with is pretty much a requirement for me.

Shashwat member for over 13 years Shashwat 3 comments
about 13 years ago

Thanks bunny for the clarification :)

Ohh and how about dynamic thumbnails viewer ? Like when you hover mouse over that position it shows up else it automatically hides ?

about 13 years ago

They just need to make it easy to fully customize the menu system and allow you to have modes you can switch between with hot keys. That way for one type of work I can use one mode, and another mode for other type of work. Much like Maya has for 3D, but more user friendly.

Stefan Hartman
about 13 years ago

Wow FINALLY ... I waited years for this. Welcome to 2009! MDI is sooo Windows 3.11

about 13 years ago


You will find that that feature first showed up on Photogenics 2 on the Amiga in approximately 1994.

I know more than a bit about graphics UI, it is interesting that the GIMP programmers have ignored my suggestions for a decade now. Photoshop CS4 has two new tools that I invented. One they picked up from a GIMP UI suggestion forum that I posted on. The other they copied from a later version of Photogenics that I suggested to the programmer Paul Nolan.

But the GIMP team have always claimed that they do not need any help because they know what users need best. Strange, I do not know one professional graphics user that will touch it. I do know one professional who used to use GIMP, before he went professional. He went back on his claims that he would always use GIMP, once he found out how bad GIMP UI was in the real world under time constraints.

Eric Lawless
about 13 years ago

Congratulations GIMP, welcome to the late 1980s.

about 13 years ago

Dont believe these lies about a choice in single window! These are lies, they are trying to turn GIMP into a third-world, socialist program! The Government will control all UI if this law passes, we will be ruled by a fascist regime.....
Oh...sorry, thought this was about health care. =) Hooray for single windows!

about 13 years ago

About freaking time! It has been over a decade in the making.

Let's hope that it is actually usable this time.

I am also hoping that it is less a photoshop copy, and has more real illustrators tools. Photoshop is great for photo editing, but is far from perfect for illustration and animation. So I hope that the GIMP programmers have educated themselves about the toolsets and UI of Quantel systems, Corel Painter, TV Paint, Autodesk Sketchbook and other REAL art tools.

If they really have fixed the worlds worst UI, and have added professional tools beyond the limited scope of Photoshop, then I may actually become a user.

about 13 years ago

Uh... how about the basics like support for CMYK out of the box?

about 13 years ago

Single mode window would be great, i am waiting that since many years :D

jolie member for about 13 years jolie 5 comments
about 13 years ago

I'm loving the thumbnails instead of tabs idea.

Just hope you can tear off images to make them float inside of the application too. So you can choose your own focus point instead of forced in the middle of the screen.

Shashwat member for over 13 years Shashwat 3 comments
about 13 years ago

"" * Switch between open images using an easy history thumbnail bar (no tabbing like web browsers or as it is in Photoshop currently). This is also more eye-friendly than tabs!""

I believe this is the feature taken from I remember I asked for the same in IRC from gimp developers.

about 13 years ago

the UI ideas of Peter looks awesome, i look forward to seeing this implemented in GIMP! :D
Polaroids functionality could be better, but it's purpose it's good.

This design has potencial.