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How to make Gimp look like Adobe Photoshop on Linux

The Gimp image editor is Linux’s best alternative to Adobe Photoshop. The problem is that while the app offers some similar features to Photoshop, it looks and behaves much differently. As a result, many users that switch to Gimp from Photoshop feel lost and unhappy.

Thankfully, there are a few easy steps you can take as a Gimp user on Linux to make your installation look more like Adobe Photoshop. Here’s how to do it on your system.

Before we begin

It should go without saying, but for this guide to be successful, you must have the Gimp image editor installed on your Linux PC already. If you are not sure how to install the Gimp image editor, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered! Just follow this guide to get Gimp working on your system.

Alternatively, check out the Gimp website for more information on the app, how you can get it working, etc.

Enable single-window mode

The single best feature to enable in Gimp to make it more similar to Adobe Photoshop Linux is the single-window mode. The reason? By default, Gimp has two detached toolbars and a workspace. This way of doing things is incredibly annoying, inconvenient, and makes those switching to Gimp from Photoshop uncomfortable.

Enabling Gimp’s single-window mode is very easy to do. Launch the Gimp app on your desktop by searching for it in the app menu. Or, by pressing Alt + F2 and typing out gimp into the command box.

Note: on some installations of Gimp, you may not need to enable single-window mode as it is turned on by default.

Once the Gimp app is open on your Linux PC, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: In the app, find the main workspace in Gimp, and click on it with the mouse to put it into focus.

Step 2: Find the “Windows” menu at the top of the main Gimp workspace and click on it with the mouse.

Step 3: Locate the “Single window” mode option in the “windows” list, and click on it with the mouse. Upon clicking on this option, Gimp will change from the disjointed toolbars/separate window layout to one that is more like Adobe Photoshop.

To disable Gimp’s single-window mode, simply go back to the “Windows” menu, locate the “Single window” option, and uncheck the box next to it.

Installing Photoshop themes into Gimp

Setting Gimp into single-window mode does a lot, but it only goes so far. To really make Gimp look like Photoshop, you need to install a Photoshop theme for the Gimp app.

There are many themes for Gimp that purport to make it look more like Photoshop. However, the best and most complete theme is GIMP2Ps. Here’s how to install it to make your Gimp look like Adobe Photoshop.

First, head over to the GIMP2Ps page on Gnome-look.org and locate the “Files” button. Once you’ve found the “Files” button, click on it with the mouse to reveal the download options.

In the “Files” area, download GIMP2Ps.tar.xz by clicking on the blue button next to it. Then, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard.

Once the terminal window is open and ready to go, use the CD command and move the terminal session from the home directory (~) to the “Downloads” folder where GIMP2Ps.tar.xz is located.

cd ~/Downloads

Using the tar xvf command extract the GIMP2Ps.tar.xz archive, as it needs to be fully decompressed to interact with the theme files inside.

tar xvf GIMP2Ps.tar.xz

With the GIMP2Ps.tar.xz file extracted a folder with the name of “GIMP2Ps” will appear in the “Downloads” directory, use the CD command to move into this folder.

cd GIMP2Ps

Now that you’re inside of the GIMP2Ps directory, the installation can begin. Run the transform-it.bash script with the command below.

./transform-it.bash

Alternatively, run the transform-it-and-remove-toolbox-text.bash to make the “You can drop dockable dialogs here” message disappear.

./transform-it-and-remove-toolbox-text.bash 

When the script is done running, open up Gimp. It will look very close to Adobe Photoshop!

Replace Gimp’s keyboard shortcuts with Photoshop ones

If setting Gimp to the single-window mode and installing a theme that makes it look more like Photoshop with the GIMP2Ps, replacing Gimp’s keyboard shortcuts with Photoshop-friendly ones might.

To replace the default, Gimp keyboard shortcuts do the following. First, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, use the CD command to move into the Gimp configuration directory.

cd ~/.config/GIMP/2.10

For Flatpak users:

cd ~/.var/app/org.gimp.GIMP/config/GIMP/2.10

For Snap package users:

cd ~/snap/gimp/current/.config/GIMP/2.10

Once inside of the configuration directory, rename the menurc file to menurc-backup with the mv command.

mv menurc menurc-backup

With the default menurc file renamed, download the new menurc file. This file has Adobe Photoshop shortcuts.

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/doctormo/GimpPs/master/menurc -O menurc

When the menurc file is done downloading, open up Gimp, and start using Photoshop keyboard shortcuts!

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