Graphic File Formats Suppored by GIMP

A screenshot of an RGB color image of a cartoon

Wikimedia Commons / CC By 2.0

One of the first questions that anyone interested in using GIMP should ask is, which file types can we open in GIMP? Thankfully the answer is that just about any type of image file that you may need is supported by GIMP.


This is GIMP's natural file format that saves all layer information. While the format is supported by some other image editors, this is generally only of use when working on files with multiple layers. When you have finished working on an image in layers, it can then be saved to another more common format for sharing or end-use.


JPG is one of the most popular formats for digital photos because it allows images to have varying levels of compression applied, making it ideal for sharing images online or by email.


This is another popular format for image files. The main advantage is that it is a completely lossless file format, meaning that no information is lost during saving in an effort to reduce the file size. Obviously, the downside of this is that images are generally significantly larger than a JPEG version of the same photo.


The popularity of these two formats is mainly because they are well suited for graphics in web pages. Some PNGs also support alpha transparency which makes them rather more versatile than GIFs.


This format originated as a format for Microsoft Windows icons, but many people now better know this format because it is the file type used by favicons, the small graphics that often appear in the address bar of your web browser.


Although an open-source application, GIMP can even open and save to Photoshop's proprietary PSD file format. However, it should be noted that GIMP cannot support layer groups and adjustment layers, so these will not be visible when opened in GIMP and saving such a file from GIMP may lead to some layers being lost.

Other File Types

There are quite a few other file types that GIMP can open and save, though these are generally more specialist file types.

You can see the full list of supported file types in GIMP by going to File > Open or, if you have a document open, File > Save and clicking on Select File Type. When saving an image, if the Select File Type is set to By Extension, you can add a file type suffix when naming the file and it will automatically be saved as this file type, assuming that it is one supported by GIMP.

For the vast majority of users, the file types listed above will ensure that GIMP offers all of the necessary flexibility of an image editor to open and save the essential types of image files.

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