How to Import a Color Palette Into GIMP

Easily create and use your own custom color schemes

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Color Scheme Designer is a free online application for producing color schemes with little effort. The resulting color schemes can be exported in several different ways, including a simple text list, but if you use GIMP, you can export it in a GPL palette format.

There are a few steps to get your exported color scheme into a fully GIMP ready format and then imported into GIMP, but the following steps will show you the process.

Create and Export GPL Color Palette

Before you can import a color palette into GIMP, you're going to need one. There are plenty of ways to get a GPL color palette, but using a web-based generator is probably the simplest.

  1. Open your browser, and go to Paletton. Paletton is a convenient site that lets you create your own color palettes using a set of powerful tools and color swatches. You can also use it to export to various formats.

  2. Once you're there, use the tools to create your color palette.

    Generate a color scheme on Paletton
  3. When you're ready, select Tables/Export from the lower right corner of Paletton's main table.

  4. Paletton will open a new modal window with your colors displayed in a grid. To the very right, select Color swatches. Then, choose as GPL (Gimp).

    Paletton export color palette
  5. A new tab will open in your browser with a plain text file in it. This is your GIMP palette. Highlight and copy everything in the tab.

    Paletton generated color GPL palette
  6. Back on your computer, create a new text file somewhere convenient. Paste the palette into it, and save the file with the .gpl file extension.

Import the Palette in GIMP

Now that you have the color palette generated and set up in GIMP's .gpl format, you can easily import the color palette to start working with it.

  1. If you haven't already, open GIMP.

  2. In the top menu, select Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Palettes to open the palette settings on GIMP.

    GIMP open palettes dialog
  3. Now, right click in the the Palettes dialog, and choose Import Palette... from the resulting menu.

    GIMP open palette import
  4. GIMP will open a new window for you to control your import. Select Palette file.

    GIMP palette import
  5. Press anywhere in the field next to Palette file to bring up the file browser. Find and open your .gpl file.

  6. Your file will now be loaded in the Import window. Adjust any other settings you want, and press Import at the bottom.

    GIMP palette file imported
  7. You should now see your new palette in the dialog's list.

    GIMP new palette listed

Using Your New Color Palette

You're ready to start using your color palette. GIMP makes accessing the colors stored in palettes extra simple. Here's how:

  1. Locate and double-click your palette in the dialog.

  2. Another new dialog will open up next to the Palettes one. This is the Palette Editor. Select it, if it didn't automatically switch over.

    GIMP palette editor select colors
  3. Select a color from the palette, and turn your attention over to your Foreground Color. It will automatically change to whichever color you choose from the palette. Switch the foreground and background colors to assign both from the palette.