How to Use Select by Color Tool in GIMP

HomeGIMP TutorialsHow to Use Select by Color Tool in GIMP

How to Use Select by Color Tool in GIMP

There several selection tools offered by GIMP to select areas of an image. Select by Color is one of which. As the name suggests, this tool is designed to select areas within an image based on the color similarity. This tool selects all pixels that are sufficiently similar in color to the pixel you click on, regardless of where they are located.

One of the best uses of Select by Color is to design a poster or other campaign materials. You can use it to, for instance, select a text to apply gradient effect. The selection starts as soon as you click a spot, which is used as the reference color (reference color is the first clicked color).

Although Select by Color selects the image areas based on the color similarity, it doesn’t select the entire similar color within an image. It has a coverage area, which you can set by changing the number on the Threshold option. Larger Threshold means wider coverage area.

How to use Select by Color Tool in GIMP

  • Launch GIMP and open an image or create a new one.
  • Activate Select by Color by clicking the icon on the Toolbox. Or, you ca also use the shortcut┬áby pressing the Shift+O keys on keyboard.

  • Click anywhere on your image as the color reference and Select by Color will start selecting the areas based on the color similarity according to the reference. Active selection is marked by marching ants.

  • To remove all marching ants (cancel the selection), you can go to the Select menu and select None.


If you are working with an image that has a complex colors, you may want to widen the coverage area of the Select by Color. As mentioned above, you can set the coverage area by changing the number on the Threshold option. By default, Threshold is set to 15. The Threshold option lies right below the Toolbox.

Additional tips:

  • Hold down the Shift key and click different spots to add more shades of the same color.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key to remove an unwanted shades of the same color.

[maxbutton id=”7″ ]

This page may contain affiliate links, which help support Learn more

hand-picked weekly content in your inbox


related posts


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here