Chapter 2. Using GIMP

Table of Contents
Starting for the First Time
The Main Interface
File Formats

Starting for the First Time

When The GIMP is launched for the first time, a special dialog window is presented to the user. This dialog allows the user to setup The GIMP. The first item shown to the user is the license which is a GNU General Public License . Click Continue if the license is acceptable.

User Directory

The GIMP then requires a directory structure to store the users personal settings. If the operating system is a UNIX or GNU/Linux style system, the structure will be created in ~/.gimp-1.2 where "~" expands to /home/username . Other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, or OS/2 will have differing directory structures. The files and directories that will be created are listed on the left side of the dialog. Clicking any of these entries will help reveal that directories use.

Clicking Continue will create the directory structure. Upon completion, The GIMP will display a list of everything that was performed. Click Continue to complete this task fully.

Performance Tuning

In order to ensure top performance from the newly installed version of The GIMP, there are several adjustable settings. The GIMP stores all image data which are currently being edited in a block of computer memory referred to as the Tile Cache. A good Tile Cache size is no less than two thirds of system RAM. For example, a system with 32MB of RAM would do well to have a Tile Cache of 21MB.

When editing images that are larger than than this cache, The GIMP can utilize space on the system's hard disk drive to store information. The swap directory should be located on a fast hard disk with no less than 200MB free. Once the directory has been chosen, either by manually entering the path in the input box, or by browsing to the desired location with the ... button, The GIMP should display a green tick to the left of the directory. If not, then there is a problem either with writing to the specified directory or with permissions. The time to rectify this situation is now.

Once all is well, click Continue.


The settings can be changed at any time by utilizing The GIMP's Preferences Dialog .

Monitor Resolution

Every monitor is different, and as such, in order for The GIMP to correctly display images, the DPI of each monitor should be correctly entered. The best way to ascertain the DPI setting for the monitor in question is to click the Calibrate button and measure with a ruler, the monitor calibration rulers displayed on the screen and enter the measurement in the input box. The monitor DPI may also be found in the monitor manual.

Clicking Continue will move on to the final screen, and clicking Continue once more will complete the installation setup.

The GIMP displays a splash screen when starting and a progress bar at the bottom of the start up dialog. The progress bar indicates what files and filters are being loaded. This process will take a little while when The GIMP is first run.