How to Work with Presets in GIMP

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How to Work with Presets in GIMP

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When editing a photo with GIMP, you want to get the best possible result. A good photo is the one with an appropriate tone and getting the best tone isn’t easy job. You need to make some adjustments here and there to get one. Commonly, the adjustments you need to make to get the best tone are color balance, saturation, hue, contrast and brightness. In GIMP, those adjustment menus are grouped in the Color Tools.

If you frequently edit the relatively similar photos, you can apply the same adjustments to each of the photo you edit. For instance, if you frequently edit the flowers photos, you may want to apply the same values of hue and saturation or contrast. To save you time, you can save the adjustments in presets for repetitive use.

Every time you are making an adjustment in the Color Tools (except posterize and desaturate), GIMP will save the adjustment in preset. If you get satisfied with certain adjustment, you can apply the same adjustment to the similar photos you have, without needing to start from the ground for every photo.

That way, you can save time. However, since GIMP will save the presets in a random names, it would be tricky to find certain preset every time you need one. Thankfully, you can save the presets with your own names. Furthermore, you can also save the presets in files in case you want to use the same presets in GIMP installed on different computer.

Save the presets in GIMP

Saving preset in GIMP is extremely easy. Just open a photo you want to edit and make some adjustments using the Color Tools. For example, you can try to adjust the values of hue and saturation and save the preset of the adjustments. To do so, click the Tools menu and select Color Tools –> Hue-Saturation.

After adjusting the values and get the appropriate tone, click the plus symbol button and name the preset and then press the OK button.

To use a preset, simply select the preset you want to use from the dropdown menu.

Save the presets in files

For some photographers, preset is something valuable. Much like ingredient for chefs. Some photographers who use Lightroom even run a business by selling the presets. As I said earlier, you can also save the GIMP presets in files. To do so, select a preset from the dropdown menu and click the tiny arrow button right next to the plus symbol button and select Export Settings to File.

Give your preset a name and click the Save button.

To use a preset from file, you can return to the tiny arrow button and select Import Settings from file.

Select the preset you want to use and press the Open button.

The talk about GIMP presets might not as common as Lightroom presets. It is because GIMP is less popular than Lightroom. If you frequently edit the relatively similar photos, chances are you use the same values of adjustments. For such case, preset is pretty helpful to save time and get the same tone of photo.


Since GIMP won’t save the presets permanently, it would be much better to export your presets into files and organize them in your computer.

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