How to Import a Color Palette Into GIMP

Easily create and use your own custom color schemes

What to Know

  • First, use a web-based generator to get a color palette. Visit Paletton, use its tools to create a palette, and export it as GPL (Gimp).
  • Open GIMP, select Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Palettes, right-click the Palettes dialog, click Import Palette, and open the palette.
  • Locate and double-click your palette; you'll see the Palette Editor. Select colors from your palette to change foreground and background colors.

This article explains how to create a GPL palette file and import it into GIMP.

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).

    A screenshot of Paletton with the Export as GPL option highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of GIMP with the Palettes command under the Dockable Dialogues menu highlighted
  3. Now, right-click in the Palettes dialog, and choose Import Palette... from the resulting menu.

    A screenshot of GIMP's Palette menu with the Import Palette command highlighted
  4. GIMP will open a new window for you to control your import. Select Palette file.

    A screenshot of GIMP's Import a New Palette window with the Palette File option highlighted
  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.

    A screenshot of GIMP's "Import a New Palette" window with the Import button highlighted
  7. You should now see your new palette in the dialog's list.

    A screenshot of GIMP with a custom palette highlighted

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.

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