So... just installed Gimp 2.10.30. I need to scale down a 512x512 png image, which is presumably trivial.

However, I can't find any way to cleanly save the scaled-down image: I just get the 'There is one image with unsaved changes' message. I've tried:

  1. File > Overwrite myfile.png
  2. File > Export As, select the original name, and then Export

In both cases, the resulting png appears to have unsaved changes. File > Close All tells me I have unsaved changes which will be lost if I exit. File > Save attempts to save an xcf, which is of no use to me.

So, what's the secret? If I just bail out of Gimp the new image does appear to be valid.


This is what the Close View dialog says, after selecting Overwrite myfile.png:

Close [myfile] (overwritten)

Save the changes to image '[myfile] (overwritten)' before closing?

If you don't save the image, changes from the last n minutes will be lost.

The image has been exported to '/.../myfile.png'.

And there's no way out: the options now are Save As, Cancel, and Discard Changes.

  • The OP already knows how to save modified PNG in GIMP. They have issue only with the extra prompt to save XCF when exiting the app, so the question should be edited to show the actual need of the OP. FWIW, as most users of GIMP do, I too just export and discard edits if I launched the app for some simple work not needing a save of the workflow or the edit trail. If moving the mouse to the discard button and clicking it is a bother, there's a keyboard shortcut for that: Ctrl-D.
    – Sri
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 4:37
  • @Sri: actually, I didn't know how to save the png, hence the question. I just tried the obvious commands. However, the "there is one image with unsaved changes" message implies that the png was not saved. A casual user will not know that the message actually means "there is another image you don't know about and didn't ask for, and it's in xcf format, and I want to know if you want to save it or not".
    – QF0
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


Everything you describe is just how GIMP works. There's no problem here.

.xcf is GIMP's native image format, and only when you save image in that format, GIMP considers it "saved". Saving the image in all other formats is not considered "saving", but "exporting" (as the name of the menu option says), and exporting doesn't mean for GIMP saving a current image, but creating a new image based on the current one.

So the unsaved changes GIMP warns you about are not in the .png file, they are in the .xcf file. GIMP will never warn you about unsaved changes in other files than the .xcf one.

If you don't care about saving the .xcf file, you may safely disregard this message and quit GIMP once you have successfully exported the .png file.

  • 2
    I'm prepared to believe this is 'how it's meant to work' but, if so, this is appalling UI design. It's also not at all obvious that File > Overwrite is an 'export'.
    – QF0
    Commented Aug 10, 2023 at 18:41
  • 6
    I agree that GIMP's UI is not very intuitive. This application is known for this.
    – raj
    Commented Aug 10, 2023 at 19:21
  • 21
    @QF0 In the past you could just "save as" JPG or PNG. And then Gimp would nicely let you exit without any fuss. And later you discover that you have lost all the layers/channels/selection in your image because they aren't saved in a JPG/PNG. I have seen a lot more people cry over lost work than complain about this... Gimp is aimed at people who do things a lot more complex than scaling down an image. If all you need is scaling down images, there are much simpler applications.
    – xenoid
    Commented Aug 10, 2023 at 19:23
  • 8
    @QF0 I can only add to the above comment that, if you ever worked with a video editor, the difference between "saving" (as .xcf) and "exporting" (as .jpg, .png etc.) in GIMP is conceptually very similar to difference between "saving a project" and "rendering" a final movie in a video editor. Saving a .xcf allows you to save a work in progress and return to it later, while exporting produces a final product that (at least in theory) is not meant to be edited again.
    – raj
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 9:37
  • 4
    In photoshop the flow is the same, though the copy is slightly different. If you open a file, make changes, "Save as.." a PNG, and then quit, it'll prompt you with "save changes to the Adobe Photoshop document "filename.extension" before quitting? And if you accept, it prompts you to save a PSD
    – Kaia
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 17:54

I've been using GIMP for about 20 years, and i've never had a problem with overwrite or export.

Load your PNG file, scale/do whatever other changes, then overwrite to same PNG file or export to a new one.

  • 2
    OP doesn't say they have a problem saving to or overwriting a PNG file. The problem is that even after they do so GIMP says there are unsaved changes, which is indeed how GIMP works, as the other answer explains well.
    – muru
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:12

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