How to Save Images as PNGs in GIMP

Convert any image to the PNG format with GIMP

Woman working on laptop in coffee shopp

Peter Cade / Getty Images

The native file format for images produced in GIMP is XCF, which isn't suitable for use outside of the graphics program. When you've finished working on an image in GIMP, you should save it to a standard format such as PNG.

Instructions in this article apply to GIMP version 2.10 for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

How to Save a PNG in GIMP

To save an XCF file in the PNG format using GIMP:

  1. Open the XCF file you wish to convert in GIMP.

    Open the XCF file you wish to convert in GIMP.
  2. Select File > Export As.

    Select Export As.
  3. Click on Select File Type (above the Help button).

    Click on Select File Type above the Help button.
  4. Select PNG Image from the list, then select Export.

    Select PNG Image from the list, then select Export.
  5. Adjust the settings to your liking, then select Export again.

    Features such as layers are not supported in PNG files, so all layers will be merged during the export process.

    Adjust the settings to your liking, then select Export again.
  6. The PNG file will be saved in the same location as the original XCF file.

    The PNG file will be saved in the same location as the original XCF file.

The Export Dialog in GIMP

There are several options in the Export dialog that you can select to optimize your images for the web. For example:

  • Interlace will load the PNG progressively within a web page.
  • Save Background Color allows you to specify the background color when the PNG being displayed in a browser doesn't support variable transparency. The background color in the toolbox is the color specified.
  • Save Gamma helps browsers display colors more accurately.
  • Save Resolution, Save Creation Time, and Save Comment stores this information in the file's metadata.

The other settings are best left to their defaults.

Why Use PNG Files?

PNG stands for "portable networks graphics." These files are saved in a lossless format, which means that changing the compression level will not affect their quality. When you save an image in PNG, it's guaranteed to appear at least as sharp as the original image. PNG files also offer high capacity for transparency.