GIMP Keyboard Shortcut Editor

How to Use the Keyboard Shortcut Editor in GIMP

GIMP keyboard shortcuts can be useful tools for speeding up your workflow when working with GIMP. Many tools and features have keyboard shortcuts assigned by default, and you can see a list of the default options that are assigned to the Toolbox palette in Keyboard Shortcuts in GIMP.

However, if you want to add a keyboard shortcut to a feature that doesn't have one, or change an existing shortcut to one that feels more intuitive to you, GIMP offers an easy way to do this using the Keyboard Shortcut Editor. Just follow the steps below to start customizing GIMP to better suit the way that you work.

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Open the Preferences Dialog

Click on the Edit menu and select Preferences. Note if your version of GIMP has a Keyboard Shortcuts option in the Edit menu you can click on that and skip the next step.

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Open Configure Keyboard Shortcuts...

In the Preferences dialog, select the Interface option in the list to the left – it should be the second option. From the various settings that are now presented, click the Configure Keyboard Shortcuts... button.

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Open Subsection if Necessary

A new dialog is opened and you can open sub-sections, such as the various Tools, by clicking the small box with a + sign in it next to each section name. In the screen grab, you can see I've opened the Tools sub-section as I'm going to add a keyboard shortcut to the Foreground Select Tool.

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Assign New Keyboard Shortcut

Now you need to scroll to the tool or command that you want to edit and click on it to select it. When selected, the text for that tool in the Shortcut column changes to read 'New accelerator...' and you can press the key or combination of keys you want to assign as a shortcut.

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Remove or Save Shortcuts

I've changed the Foreground Select Tool's keyboard shortcut to Shift+Ctrl+F by pressing the Shift, Ctrl and F keys simultaneously. If you want to remove a keyboard shortcut from any tool or command, just click on it to select it and then when the 'New accelerator...' text displays, press the backspace key and the text will change to 'Disabled'.

Once you're happy that your GIMP keyboard shortcuts are set up as you wish, ensure that the Save keyboard shortcuts on exit checkbox is checked and click Close.

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Beware of Reassigning Existing Shortcuts

If you thought my choice of Shift+Ctrl+F was an odd selection, I chose it because it was a keyboard combination that hadn't already been assigned to any tool or command. If you try to assign a keyboard shortcut that is already in use, an alert will open telling you what the shortcut is currently being used for. If you want to keep the original shortcut, just click the Cancel button, otherwise click Reassign shortcut to make the shortcut apply to your new selection.

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Don't Go Shortcut Crazy!

Don't feel that every tool or command should have a keyboard shortcut assigned to it and that you need to memorize all of them. We all use applications like GIMP in different ways--often using different tools and techniques to achieve similar results--so concentrate on the tools that you use.

Taking some time to customize GIMP to work in a way that suits you can be a good investment of your time. A well thought out series of keyboard shortcuts can have a dramatic effect on your workflow.

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Useful Tips

  • Try to analyze how you work and which tools you use on a regular basis, then look at assigning easily accessed keyboard combinations to these tools and commands only.
  • Don't be afraid to try out different shortcuts, or to reassign default shortcuts to new tools or commands. You can always easily reset the original default keyboard shortcuts in the User Interface panel of the Preferences dialog at any time.
  • Assigning shortcuts that are grouped together on the keyboard may mean you can select tools without moving your hand, but using shortcuts that are more spaced out may reduce the possibility of you selecting the incorrect tool. This will be down to personal preference.