In GIMP, a pattern
is a small image used to fill areas by placing copies of side by side. See
section for basic information on patterns and how they can be created and
You can use them with the
and Clone tools and the
Fill with pattern command.
The Patterns dialog is used to select a pattern, by clicking on it in a
list or grid view: the selected pattern will then be shown in the
Brush/Pattern/Gradient area of the Toolbox. A few dozen more or less
randomly chosen patterns are supplied with GIMP, and you can easily add
new patterns of your own.
Activating the dialog
The “Patterns” dialog is a dockable dialog; see the section
Section 2.3, “Dialogs and Docking”
for help on manipulating it.
You can access it:
From the Toolbox, by clicking on the pattern symbol in the
from the image menu:
→ → ;
from the Tab menu in any dockable dialog by clicking on
From the Tool Options dialog of the
Clone tool and the
Bucket Fill tool, by
clicking on the pattern source button, you get a pop-up with
similar functionality that permits you to quickly choose a pattern
from the list; if you clic on the Bucket Fill button present on the
right bottom of the pop-up, you open the real pattern dialog. Note
that, depending on your Preferences, a pattern selected with the
pop-up may only apply to the currently active tool, not to other
paint tools. See the
Tool Option Preferences
section for more information.
Using the pattern dialog
In the Tab menu, you can choose between
In Grid mode, the patterns are laid out in a rectangular array,
making it easy to see many at once and find the one you are
looking for. In List mode, the patterns are lined up in a list,
with the names beside them.
Independent of the real size of a pattern all patterns are shown
the same size in the dialog. So for larger patterns this means
that you see only a small portion of the pattern in the dialog
at all - no matter whether you view the dialog in the list or
the grid view. To see the full pattern you simply click on the
pattern and hold the mouse button
for a second.
In the Tab menu, the option Preview Size
allows you to adapt the size of pattern previews to your liking.
The Patterns dialog
Using the Patterns dialog (Grid mode)
At the top appears the name of the currently selected
patterns, and its dimensions in pixels.
In the center appears a grid view of all available patterns,
with the currently selected one outlined. Clicking on one of
them sets it as GIMP's current pattern, and causes it to
appear in the Brush/Pattern/Gradient area of the Toolbox.
Using the Patterns dialog (List view)
In this view, instead of a grid, you see a list of patterns,
each labeled with its name and size. Clicking on a row in
the list sets that pattern as GIMP's current pattern, just
as it does in the grid view.
If you double-click
on the name of a pattern, you will be able to edit the name.
Note that you are only allowed to rename patterns that you
have added yourself, not the ones that are supplied with
GIMP. If you edit a name that you don't have permission to
change, as soon as you hit return or move to a different
control, the name will revert back to its previous value.
Everything else in the List view works the same way as it
does in the Grid view.
Pressing this button removes the pattern from the list and causes
the file representing it to be deleted from disk. Note that you
cannot remove any of the patterns that are supplied with GIMP and
installed in the system
directory; you can only remove patterns that you have added to
folders where you have write permission.
Pressing this button causes GIMP to rescan the folders in your
pattern search path, adding any newly discovered patterns to the
list. This button is useful if you add new patterns to a folder,
and want to make them available without having to restart GIMP.
Open pattern as image
If you click on this button, the current pattern is opened in a
new image window. So, you can edit it. But if you try to save it
with the “.pat”, even with a new name, you will bang
into a “Denied permission ” problem because this
image file is “root”. But this is possible under
Windows, less protected.
The Pattern context menu
You get it by right-clicking on the “Patterns”
dialog. The commands of this menu are described with Buttons,
except for Copy Location which allows to
copy the path to pattern into clipboard.
The Clipboard pattern
When you use the Copy or Cut command, a copy appears as a
new pattern in the upper left corner of the Patterns dialog.
This brush will persist until you use the Copy (or Cut) command again.
It will disappear when you close GIMP.
A new “Clipboard Pattern”
You can save this clipboard pattern by using the
as soon as it appears in the Patterns dialog.