Chapter 2.  Fire up the GIMP

Table of Contents

1. Running GIMP
1.1. Known Platforms
1.2. Language
1.3. Command Line Arguments
2. Starting GIMP the first time

1.  Running GIMP

Most often, you start GIMP either by clicking on an icon (if your system is set up to provide you with one), or by typing gimp on a command line. If you have multiple versions of the GIMP installed, you may need to type gimp-2.2 to get the latest version. You can, if you want, give a list of image files on the command line after the program name, and they will automatically be opened by GIMP as it starts. It is also possible, though, to open files from within GIMP once it is running.

In most operating systems, you can set things up so that various types of image files are “associated” with GIMP, and cause it to start automatically when icons for them are double-clicked.

[Tip] Tip

If you want to cause a certain file type to automatically open in GIMP, you should associate it with “gimp-remote” (“gimp-win-remote” under Windows) rather than with “gimp”. The gimp-remote program is an auxiliary that comes with gimp. If gimp is not already running on the system when gimp-remote is executed, it is started and the image given as argument to gimp-remote is loaded. If gimp is already running, though, the image is simply loaded into the already-running program.

1.1.  Known Platforms

The GIMP is the most widely supported image manipulation available today. The platforms that The GIMP is known to work on include:

GNU/Linux™, Apple Mac OS X (Darwin)™, Microsoft Windows 95, 98, Me, XP, NT4, 2000™, OpenBSD™, NetBSD™, FreeBSD™, Solaris™, SunOS™, AIX™, HP-UX™, Tru64™, Digital UNIX™, OSF/1™, IRIX™, OS/2and BeOS™.

The GIMP can easily be ported to other operating systems because of its source code availability.

1.2.  Language

All being well, GIMP detects the system language. This may fail on some machines and you may want use another language. It is possible to change the language:


In LINUX: in console mode, type LANGUAGE=en gimp or LANG=en gimp replacing en by fr, de, ... according to the language you want. Background: By using LANGUAGE=en you're setting an environment variable for the executed program gimp here.

Windows XP

Control Panel/System/ Advanced/"Environment" button/ In "System Variables" area: "Add" button: Enter LANG for Name and fr or de... for Value. Watch out! You have to click on three successive "OK" to validate your choice.

If you often change language, you can create a batch file. Open NotePad. Type the following commands (for french for instance):

              set lang=fr
              cd c:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\bin

Save this file as GIMP-FR.BAT (or another name, but always with a .BAT extension. Create shortcut and drag it to your desktop.

Windows ME

Start/Programs/ Accessories/System Tools/System Informations/Tools/System Configuration Utility/"Environment" tab/"New" button: Enter LANG for Name and fr or de... for Value.

Windows 95/Windows 98

Under Window 95 and Windows 98, add the line set lang=en in the “C:\autoexec.bat” file.

Apple Mac OS X

Go to System Preferences, click on the International icon, and in the Language tab, the desired language should be the first in the list.

1.3.  Command Line Arguments

Ordinarily you don't need to give any arguments when starting GIMP, but here is a list of some that may at one time or anther be useful. This is not a complete list; on Unix systems you can get a complete list by running man gimp in a terminal window.

-h, --help

Display a list of all commandline options.

-v, --version

Print the version of GIMP being used, and exit.


Show detailed startup messages.

-d, --no-data

Do not load patterns, gradients, palettes, or brushes. Often useful in non-interactive situations where startup time is to be minimized.

--display display

Use the designated X display (does not apply to GIMP on Microsoft Windows).

-s, --no-splash

Do not show the splash screen while starting.

--session name

Use a different sessionrc for this GIMP session. The given session name is appended to the default sessionrc filename.

-g, --gimprc gimprc

Use an alternative gimprc instead of the default one. The gimprc file contains a record of your preferences. Useful in cases where plugins paths or machine specs may be different.

-c, --console-messages

Do not popup dialog boxes on errors or warnings. Print the messages on the console instead.

-b, --batch commands

Execute the set of commands non-interactively. The set of commands is typically in the form of a script that can be executed by one of the GIMP scripting extensions. When commands is -, the commands are read from standard input.