Turn GIMP look and feel into Photoshop

If you had ever planned to switch over from Photoshop to GIMP, the first thing that comes to mind is to figure out a way to learn and adjust to a look and feel that is different from Photoshop.

The developers of GIMP have designed the look and feel of GIMP to signify and portray the strengths of GIMP. The default look and feel (after selecting Window => Single-Window Mode) is similar to the screenshot below (captured on MacBook Pro with GIMP 2.8.22 installed).

While there is a learning curve involved in getting used to GIMP, it may help new comers migrating from Photoshop to change the look and feel of GIMP to the one they are used to while using Photoshop.

There are multiple suggestions and tutorials all over the web to help you achieve it. This article outlines one such method that I used to change the theme such that the look and feel is simliar to the one portrayed in the image below.

Step 1: Follow the instructions listed at https://github.com/doctormo/GimpPs/blob/master/README.md to install the excellent GIMP 2.8 Photoshop tweaks by the Deviant Art contributor who goes by the handle, Doctormo. The Deviant Art page that describes the GIMP 2.8 Photoshop tweaks is available at: https://doctormo.deviantart.com/art/Gimp-2-8-Photoshop-Tweaks-432736644.

Installing the tweaks by following the steps listed in the Doctormo’s README not only changes the look and feel of GIMP to that of Photoshop (more like a Photoshop CS6) but also installs the Photoshop keyboard shorts.

Step 2: Unlike Photoshop, by default, GIMP does not snap layers to the grid. To enable this feature, edit the gimprc file. This file can be found either in the ~/Library/Application Support/GIMP/2.8 folder or within the ~/.gimp-2.8 folder. If it does not exist, create one and place it in one of the two folders listed above. Append the below two lines to gimprc and restart GIMP.

(default-snap-to-canvas yes)
(default-snap-to-grid yes)

One of the blogs that has heavily influenced the contents of this blog and also the options that I tried out is https://www.pcsteps.com/1566-make-gimp-look-work-like-photoshop/. It contains suggestions on additional changes that can be added to your GIMP installation to turn it more into Photoshop.


  1. How to Make GIMP Look and Work like Photoshop
  2. https://github.com/draekko/gimp-cc-themes
  3. https://github.com/doctormo/GimpPs

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