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How to find the missing toolbox in GIMP

Updated on March 5, 2018
Blond Logic profile image

Mary has many hobbies and shares her ideas and passion in an easy to read user-friendly way.

Missing GIMP Tools
Missing GIMP Tools | Source

How to Find the Missing Tools in GIMP

Do you use Gimp, the free photo manipulation software? I recently download GIMP 2.8 and was a bit surprised to find my toolbox missing when I sat down in from of my laptop. I design on products on Zazzle and I also create book covers so I need my software working correctly.

This is what I would like to share with you today. How to find your missing toolbar and keep it where it should be. I will provide you with step by step instructions to recover your toolbox and layers window.

If you don't have Gimp, there is a link at the bottom of the page. It is open source software and is free to download. As you can see from the screenshot above, I logged on and only had a blank screen. It is a bit difficult to work without the tools.

How to Increase or Decrease Page Size

Let's work through this together. I have included screenshots of the procedure and placed red arrows and descriptions on the page. If you have trouble seeing where I have noted you can enlarge the screen. The way to do this is: holding the control button down, roll the wheel on top of your mouse forward. This will increase the page size. To reduce it, hold the control button and roll the wheel towards you.


If you don't use a mouse, you can still increase the page size by holding the control button and pressing the key that has a '+' plus sign on it. To decrease the page size, hold the control button and press the key with the '-' minus (also called the hyphen).

Using either of these methods will have the same effect, use whichever is most convenient for you.

On your toolbar click Edit. Then scroll down to Preferences and click.

In the box that is white on the left, scroll down until you see Window Management. Click

Below you will see how the options have changed in the right hand portion of the box.

Click on the long bar that says Reset Saved Window Positions to Default Values. This is telling the program that when you open it again and each time after, you want it to remember your changes.

Now look above slightly and you will see a small box that has a check mark in it. This says Save window position on exit. Remove the check mark by clicking on it.


Now click OK at the bottom of the page.

A small box will appear with the GIMP logo. It says Your window setup will be reset to default values the next time you start GIMP. Click OK

Start Gimp

Close the program by clicking the red X in the top right corner of the program. Now, restart by clicking the icon on your desktop or in your program list. Sometimes GIMP will take quite a time to load.

When it has loaded you will have a screen like below.

You will see from the screen shot below that you have only a small box in the center.

Opening GIMP
Opening GIMP

To make the window bigger, click in the maximize square as illustrated below.

Maximizing GIMP
Maximizing GIMP

Now you have a large working space. However, the toolbox on the left is in the way. This is no problem, because it is easily moved.


By placing your curser (arrow from your mouse) on the top bar. Holding the left button on your mouse down continually during this movement. This is what is called 'drag and drop'. It is simply moving the toolbox pane to a better, more user-friendly location.

Moving Toolbox in GIMP
Moving Toolbox in GIMP

By placing the toolbox on the right hand side, you are free to work on the page without hindrance.

Now you know how to get those lost toolbars back.

If you reformat your computer and need to reload GIMP again, just follow the same procedure.

Do you normally use GIMP?

See results

© 2013 Mary Wickison

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    • Wakerra profile image

      Wakerra 

      5 years ago

      Yes, GIMP is nice, but I do miss all those nice filter features in Photoshop...

      Turns out the new gimp download only work s with SP3 for XP computer users, unfortunately my computer goes into a restart loop when it has SP3 on it...sigh. One day I'll get that much needed computer upgrade and I'll finally be able to install the most current GIMP

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      5 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Alex,

      It has happened to me twice, hence the reason for the hub.

      Glad you enjoy using GIMP, it just goes to show that you don't need to spend the big bucks that Photoshop charges.

      Thanks for reading and the comment.

    • AlexK2009 profile image

      AlexK2009 

      5 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      The Gimp is great. I have never had the problem of not getting the tool box but if I do I will know where to go.

    • Wakerra profile image

      Wakerra 

      5 years ago

      I may have to reinstall my Gimp. those brushes look NICE. I hope it doesn't affect the custom ones I made...

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      5 years ago from Brazil

      I'm not sure how long 2.8 has been out. I had to reformat my laptop and this was a different version than my previous one. Thanks for alternative, I'll check it out.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      5 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Jabelufiroz,

      Thank you for the vote and I am pleased you found it useful.Have a wonderful evening.

    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 

      5 years ago from India

      Impressive tips on GIMP, well explained with screenshots. Voted up and useful.

    • Wakerra profile image

      Wakerra 

      5 years ago

      If memory serves me properly, you can also go under the "Tools" option at the top and there should be a list of the various toolbox options that you can check to make appear, or dissapear

      That is a crazy list of available brushes! You said you just downloaded Gimp? perhaps there is an update I am unaware of...

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