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GIMP Keyboard Shortcuts

Speed Up Your Work Flow With GIMP Keyboard Shortcuts

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GIMP toolbox palette

Most of the tools in the toolbox can be selected using GIMP keyboard shortcuts.

© Ian Pullen

GIMP keyboard shortcuts are a great time saving feature that many GIMP users overlook. I'm personally a real fan of keyboard shortcuts in all applications that I use. It means that I can keep the mouse and my eyes focused completely on my work, rather than searching through the many palettes looking for the right tool.

If you don't already use keyboard shortcuts, give it a go – it'll soon become second nature to work with one hand on your mouse or track pad and the other placed at the ready by your keyboard. Here's a list of keyboard shortcuts that allow you to select tools from the GIMP tools palette without once touching your mouse. The commands are not case sensitive and shortcuts that include a '+' indicate that those two keys must be pressed simultaneously.

There are a number of selection tools and all but the Foreground Select Tool have a default keyboard shortcut.

  • Rectangle Select Tool - r
  • Ellipse Select Tool - e
  • Free Select Tool - f
  • Fuzzy Select Tool - u
  • Select By Color Tool - Shift+o
  • Scissors Select Tooli

The general set of modifier, analysis and text tools all have keyboard shortcuts by default.

  • Paths Tool - b
  • Color Picker Tool - o
  • Zoom Tool - z
  • Measure Tool - Shift+m
  • Move Tool - m
  • Alignment Tool - q
  • Crop Tool - Shift+c
  • Rotate Tool - Shift+r
  • Scale Tool - Shift+t
  • Shear Tool - Shift+s
  • Perspective Tool - Shift-p
  • Flip Tool - Shift+f
  • Text Toolt

Finally, the various painting tools, including the photo retouching tools such as the Clone Tool and the Dodge/Burn Tool, all have default shortcuts, apart from the less used Perspective Clone Tool.

  • Bucket Fill Tool - Shift+b
  • Blend Tool - l
  • Pencil Tool - n
  • Paintbrush Tool - p
  • Eraser Tool - Shift+e
  • Airbrush Tool - a
  • Ink Tool - k
  • Clone Tool - c
  • Healing Tool - h
  • Blur/Sharpen Tool - Shift+u
  • Smudge Tool - s
  • Dodge/Burn Tool - Shift+t

Note: I've indicated above that a couple of tools don't have keyboard shortcuts by default. If you wish, you can add your own GIMP keyboard shortcuts by using Dynamic Keyboard Shortcuts or the Keyboard Shortcut Editor.

This list may look a little overwhelming at first glance, but if you think about how many of the tools you really use regularly, you can quickly see that you probably only need to memorize a small subset of these.

If you try to force yourself to use these shortcuts when working with GIMP, it will very quickly become second nature and you'll find yourself becoming much more productive as you keep your mouse and eyes focused on your work rather than the tools palette.

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