Gimp is nice, but the one thing that drives me nuts is that everything floats around in front of each other, often hiding the main window and forcing me to minimize all open windows until I find the one floating window that I am looking for.

I'd like to have the floating windows docked along the edges of that main window, the way practically every other application works. I know this floating thing is one of the things that make Gimp special, but it's not the kind of "special" that I like... I don't have a huge screen, so it quickly gets too cramped. And I often use Gimp briefly, multitasking with other apps, so the many Gimp windows are annoying.

How can I make Gimp run in one window, with everything else inside it?

This is Gimp 2.6.11 -- just because that's what came with my Ubuntu 11.10 installation.

  • 1
    Not adding advice but the single window mode worked well, I've been trying to figure it out for awhile now. I can't believe it was that easy.
    – vince
    Dec 8, 2016 at 19:21

4 Answers 4


Ubuntu 14.04 and higher

Open GIMP, and go to Windows > Single-Window Mode

Ubuntu 12.04

Single-Window Mode is only available since GIMP 2.8+. You will have to install GIMP 2.8 from a ppa if you want Single-Window Mode. Just follow the next instructions:

  1. Add the GIMP PPA. Open the terminal and copy/paste the following command: sudo apt-add-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/gimp && sudo apt-get update
  2. Update GIMP using Update Manager or apt-get.
  3. Open GIMP, and go to Windows > Single-Window Mode

Now you have a single window! For example, my GIMP main menu:

enter image description here

  • 2
    Great answer, just not entirely true: there is a way to make Gimp 2.x a single window application. Not out of the box and I would recommend updating to 2.8 too, but you can do it: webupd8.org/2011/06/gimpbox-get-single-window-mode-in.html
    – jobrfr
    May 15, 2012 at 8:56
  • Just tried this on 11.10 (same as OP) and I get 'CAUTION! This PPA could break your installed OS. There are dependency issues for Oneiric Ocelot (11.10). Only use it if you know what you do!' No thanks, is there a better way to do this? May 15, 2012 at 18:34
  • Yep, I get the same message as Tom. I don't think I'll risk it; I can't afford to break my main computer right now. May 15, 2012 at 18:45
  • When I've done it, I accepted and I added the PPA, without worring about the system. And as you can see, I had installed GIMP 2.8 with no problems. If you want, you can compile it, but is too dificult for most of people (and as I saw below, you don't want... :P )
    – Xerz
    May 15, 2012 at 21:14
  • This solution does not work with Gimp 2.8.10 on Ubuntu 14.04. Oct 26, 2014 at 18:08

Select "Single-Window Mode" from the Windows menu item. The setting will persist between GIMP launches, and is only available for GIMP version 2.8 and over. ( How do I get GIMP 2.8? )

Screenshot of GIMP 2.8, with the Windows menu open and Single-Window Mode selected

  • 2
    This solution does not work with Gimp 2.8.10 on Ubuntu 14.04. Oct 26, 2014 at 18:10
  • 2
    "The setting will persist between GIMP launches" Not for me.
    – Marcel
    May 16, 2017 at 13:02
  • To make the setting persist go to Edit > Preferences > Interface > Window Management and check Save window positions on exit.
    – Quasímodo
    Nov 26, 2020 at 21:54

There is an unofficial application to use Gimp 2.x in a single window mode called GIMPBox.

You can find all the info with installation guide about it here. It seems a bit complicated to install, but you will have a single window Gimp 2.6.

Personally, I would suggest you install Gimp 2.8. It's a stable release so there should be nothing to worry about. I use it too and the single window mode is awesome! Simply follow the instructions espectalll123 has given to install it and you are good to go.


Gimp 2.8 is capable of doing what you want. You can grab the source from here: ftp://ftp.gimp.org/pub/gimp/v2.8/ and compile it on your own. This runs in single window mode.


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