A palette is a set of discrete colors, in no
particular order. See the
Palettes section for basic
information on palettes and how they can be created and used.
The Palettes dialog is used to select a palette, by clicking on it in a
list or grid view. A few dozen more or less randomly chosen palettes are
supplied with GIMP, and you can easily add new palettes of your own. The
Palettes dialog also give you access to several operations for creating
new palettes or manipulating the ones that already exist.
The Palettes dialog is not the same thing as the
which is used to manipulate the colormaps of indexed images.
3.5.1. Activating the dialog
The “Palettes” dialog is a dockable dialog; see the section
Section 2.3, “Dialogs and Docking” for help on manipulating it.
You can access it:
3.5.2. Using the Palettes dialog
Clicking on a palette in the dialog selects this palette and brings up
the Palette Editor,
which allows you to set GIMP's foreground or background colors by
clicking on colors in the palette display. You can also use the
arrow keys to select a palette.
Double-clicking on a palette name
(in List View mode) lets you to edit the name. Note that you are only
allowed to change the names of palettes that you have added yourself,
not those that are supplied with GIMP. If you edit a name that you are
not allowed to change, it will revert back to its previous value as soon
as you hit return or move the pointer focus elsewhere.
Figure 14.50. The Palettes dialog
In the Tab menu, you can choose between
In Grid mode, the palettes are laid out in a spectacular
rectangular array, making it easy to see many at once and find
the one you are looking for. In List mode (the default), the
palettes are lined up in a list, with the names beside them.
In the Tab menu, the option Preview Size
allows you to adapt the size of color cell previews to your
This button brings up the
See New Palette.
See Refresh Palettes.
3.5.3. The “Palettes” pop-menu
Figure 14.51. The “Palettes” pop-menu
The “Palettes” pop-menu can be accessed by right-clicking
in the Palettes dialog, or by choosing the top item from the dialog Tab
“Edit Palette” is an alternative way of activating
it can also be activated by double-clicking on a palette in the
Palettes dialog, or by pressing the "Edit Palette" button at the
bottom of the dialog.
“New Palette” creates a new, untitled palette,
initially containing no color entries, and pops up the Palette
Editor so that you can add colors to the palette. The result
will automatically be saved in your personal
palettes folder when you quit GIMP, so it
will be available from the Palettes dialog in future sessions.
Figure 14.52. The Import Palette dialog
allows you to create a new palette from the colors in a gradient,
an image or a palette file. Choosing it brings up the "Import
Palette" dialog, which gives you the following options:
Former versions of GIMP had a “Save palette”
command. It no longer exists. To save the palette of an image,
indexed or not, you must import it in fact
from the image.
You can import a palette either from any of GIMP's
gradients (choosing one from the adjoining menu), or from
any of the currently open images (chosen from the adjoining
menu). Since GIMP 2.2, you can also import a RIFF palette
file (with extension
.pal), of the
type used by several Microsoft Windows applications.
Two options concerning image as source, available for RGB
Sample merged: When this option
is checked, colors are picked from all visible
layers. If unchecked, pixels are picked from the
active layer only, even though not visible.
Selected pixels only: As the
name says, pixels are picked from the selected area
only, in the active layer or all visible layers
according to the status of the previous option.
You can give a name to the new palette here. If the name
you choose is already used by an existing palette, a unique
name will be formed by appending a number (e. g., "#1").
Number of colors
Here you specify the number of colors in the palette. The
default is 256, chosen for three reasons: (1) every
gradient contains 256 distinct colors; (2) GIF files can
use a maximum of 256 colors; (3) GIMP indexed images can
contain a maximum of 256 distinct colors. You can use any
number you like here, though: GIMP will try to create a
palette by spacing the specified number of colors even
across the color range of the gradient or image.
Here you specify the number of columns for the palette.
This only affects the way the palette is displayed, and has
no effect on the way the palette is used.
Even setting “Number of colors” to maximum, the
number of colors can't exceed 10000 in the palette. RGB
images have much more colors. Interval
should allow to group similar colors around an average and
so get a better palette. This problem doesn't exist with 256
colors indexed images: Interval to 1 allows picking 256
colors (this option is grayed out with more than 256 colors
indexed palettes too).
The imported palette will be added to the Palettes dialog, and
automatically saved in your personal
palettes folder when you
quit GIMP, so it will be available in future
Duplicate Palette creates a new palette by copying the palette
that is currently selected, and brings up a Palette Editor so that
you can alter the palette. The result will automatically be saved
in your personal
folder when you quit GIMP, so it will be available from the
Palettes dialog in future sessions.
Currently this operation is not implemented, and the menu entry
will always be insensitive.
Copy Palette Location
This command allows you to copy the palette file location to
clipboard. You can then paste it in a text editor.
Delete Palette removes the palette from the Palettes dialog, and
deletes the disk file in which it is stored. Before it acts, it
asks you confirm that you really want to do these things. Note
that you cannot remove any of the palettes that are supplied with
GIMP, only palettes you have added yourself.
Refresh Palettes rescans all of the folders in your palette
search path, and adds any newly discovered palettes to the list
in the Palettes dialog. This may be useful if you obtain palette
files from some external source, copy them into one of your
palettes folders, and want to make them available during the
This command opens a dialog window:
Figure 14.53. The “Offset Palette”dialog
This command takes the last color of the palette and puts it at
the first place. The Offset parameter lets
you set how many times this action must be performed.
With negative “Offsets” colors are put from the first
position to the end of the colors list.
Figure 14.54. “Offset Palette” examples
Palette to gradient
With this command, all the colors of the palette are used to form
the current gradient which is saved in the Gradient Dialog. The
number of colors in the palette seems to be limited to 21. Above
this value, an error message is emitted.
Palette to Repeating Gradient
This command creates a repeating gradient, using all the colors
of the palette. Only the first color of the palette seems to be
repeated. This gradient appears in the Gradient Dialog and
becomes the current gradient. The number of colors in the palette
seems to be limited to 20. Above this value, an error message is
“Palette to repeating gradient” examples
This command opens a dialog window which allows you to sort the
colors of the palette according to certain criterions:
Figure 14.56. The “Sort Palette”dialog
Color model: you can choose between
RGB and HSV
Channel to sort: you can choose between
the three RGB channels if the RGB model is selected, or the
three HSV channels if the HSV channel is selected.
Ascending (default is Yes): values are
sorted from the lower to the upper. By clicking on this
you can toggle to
and values will be sorted in
Figure 14.57. The Palette Editor
The Palette Editor is used mainly for two purposes: first, for setting
GIMP's foreground or background colors (as shown in the Color Area of
the Toolbox) to selected colors from the palette; second, for modifying
the palette. You can activate the Palette Editor for any palette in the
Palettes dialog, but you can only modify palettes that you have created
yourself, not the palettes that are supplied when you install GIMP.
(You can, however, duplicate any palette and then edit the newly
created copy.) If you modify a palette, the results of your work will
automatically be saved when you exit from GIMP.
126.96.36.199. How to Activate the Palette Editor
The Palette Editor is only accessible from the Palettes dialog: you
can activate it by double-clicking on a palette, or by pressing the
"Edit Palette" button at the bottom, or by choosing "Edit Palette"
from the Palettes Menu.
The Palette Editor is a dockable dialog; see the section on
Dialogs and Docking
for help on manipulating it.
188.8.131.52. Using the Palette Editor
If you click on a color box in the palette display, GIMP's foreground
color will be set to the selected color: you can see this in the
Color Area of the Toolbox. If you hold down the Ctrl
key while clicking, GIMP's background color will be set to the
If the palette is a custom palette, double-clicking on a color not
only sets the foreground, it also brings up a color editor that
allows you to modify the selected palette entry.
Right-clicking in the palette display area brings up the Palette
Editor menu. It's functions are mainly the same as those of the
buttons at the bottom of the dialog.
Below the palette display area, at the left, appears a text entry
area that shows the name of the selected color (or "Untitled" if it
does not have one). This information has no functional significance,
and is present only to serve you as a memory aid.
To the right of the name entry is a spinbutton that allows you to set
the number of columns used to display the palette. This only affects
the display, not how the palette works. If the value is set to 0, a
default will be used.
At the bottom of the dialog are a set of buttons, which mostly match
the entries in the Palette Editor menu, accessible by right-clicking
in the palette display area. Here are the buttons:
This button causes the palette to be saved in your personal
palettes folder. It would be saved
automatically when GIMP exits in any case, but you might want
to use this button if you are concerned that GIMP might crash
in the meantime.
This operation has not yet been implemented.
Pops up a color editor allowing you to alter the color. If
the palette is one you aren't allowed to alter, this button
will be insensitive. See
New Color from FG
3.5.5. The Palette Editor pop-menu
Figure 14.58. The Palette Editor pop-menu
The Palette Editor Menu can be accessed by right-clicking on the
palette display in the Palette Editor, or by choosing the top entry
from the dialog Tab menu. The operations in it can also be executed
using the buttons at the bottom of the Palette Editor dialog.
“Edit Color” brings up a color editor that allows
you to modify the color of the selected palette entry. If
the palette is one that you are not allowed to edit (that is, one
supplied by GIMP when it is installed), then the menu entry will
New Color from FG; New Color from BG
These commands each create a new palette entry, using either
GIMP's current foreground color (as shown in the Color Area of
the Toolbox), or the current background color.
“Delete Color” removes the selected color entry
from the palette.
If the palette is one that you are not allowed to edit, then the
menu entry will be insensitive.
“Zoom Out” reduces the vertical scale of the
entries in the palette display.
“Zoom In” increases the vertical scale of the
entries in the palette display.
“Zoom All” adjusts the vertical size of the entries
in the palette display so that the entire palette fits into the
Edit Active Palette
When this option is checked (default), you can edit another
palette by clicking on it in the “Palettes” dialog.