{Solved} How To Show All Tools In GIMP
{+ Remove Tool Groups}

featured image ungroup tools

Illustration by Aryeom.

In GIMP 2.10.18, grouping similar tools were introduced, and they’re now grouped by default. The inspiration for this was to clean up the GIMP interface and organize the tools.

Think of the grouped tools like a folder system set up on your computer. Similar files are placed in one folder, and the others are separated into other folders accordingly.

Not everyone likes their tools grouped together like this, though. If that’s you, I’ll show you how to turn off grouped layers to show all the tools on the toolbox… coming up below.

This article will also provide additional tips for working with grouped layers.

Table of Contents

How To Access A GIMP Tool That Is Grouped

popout submenu

To the right of each tool you’ll find the keyboard shortcut for accessing the tool.

When you hover your mouse over a grouping, a pop-up window auto appears (in GIMP 2.10.22). If you try to access the tool with your mouse, the menu disappears! To access the tool, right-click on the group, and the menu becomes sticky. Or click on the icon and hold your mouse button down.

You can now select the tool for the job at hand. Also, take note of the keyboard shortcut for each tool located to the right. It’s a good habit to get into memorizing these shortcuts.

By doing so, it will be much faster to use those shortcuts than accessing the toolbox. At that point, you may decide.

The Downside To Grouped Tools

grouped tools in toolbox

Grouping tools allow me to condense the toolbox which provides a larger interface for my documents.

As an avid user of GIMP, I appreciate the ability to condense my toolbox and get it organized. However, I don’t use the toolbox anymore since I have the keyboard shortcuts for the tools memorized.

New GIMP users, on the other hand, will not have the keyboard shortcuts memorized. Nor will they realize that a lot of tools are hidden! Even if you’re transitioning from Photoshop to GIMP, you’re going to have the same problems.

That being said, I’m not sure if the developers of GIMP should have the tools grouped by default or not. What is your thought on this? Let me know in the comments below.

ungrouped tools

With the tools ungrouped, the toolbox takes up more of the interface.

How To Ungroup Tools In GIMP

change to show all tools

If you’d like to ungroup the tools, you’ll need to access Preferences to turn off the grouping function in GIMP, Edit > Preferences.

In the Preferences dialog window, navigate to Interface and expand it. Inside, you’ll find an option labeled “Toolbox,” click on it. To the right, uncheck “Use Tool Groups.”

Restarting GIMP isn’t necessary since the ungrouping happens instantly! Make sure to click the “OK” button so that GIMP saves your settings.

Now What?

Ready to expand your GIMP skills? Then check out more of my free GIMP tutorials. If you’re looking for a structured environment to learn how to use GIMP, check this out.

Like this article? If so, please share!

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