I want something similar to "preview" in macs. For example: I want an image editor that ONLY does simple adjustments like increase/decrease contrast, saturation, exposure, color tinting.... rotate, flip vertically, flip horizontally, make black and white, change size or format, crop.

THATS IT. I know gimp can do all those things but its a bit overkill. I just want to right click an image, open it with this magical program i just described, do a few quick adjustments, and then save and exit. Nothing really fancy.

Anyone know of anything like this? Btw I am using ubuntu 12.04 :) It rocks and I am glad I switched from mac, i just need to replace this one piece of software.

  • 1
    This is a good recap of all this kind of software that are available under Ubuntu upubuntu.com/2011/03/…
    – user827992
    Commented Jul 16, 2012 at 23:27
  • 2
    I think gThamb is so simple to use and covers all my demands. It is like ACDSee on windows. Best indeed!
    – user271290
    Commented Apr 20, 2014 at 3:54
  • 1
    possible duplicate of Is there a program like Microsoft Paint? Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 14:46
  • 2
    @KasiyA I would prefer to do it backwards. The other one dupe of this.
    – Lucio
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 21:28
  • 1
    @KasiyA Neither of these is a dupe of the other--this question is asking for an image editor that is mostly a viewer and stops short of offering drawing tools. Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 0:24

7 Answers 7



A very simple image editor.

Pinta is a drawing/editing program modeled on Paint.NET. Its goal is to provide a simplified alternative to the GIMP for casual users.


Its features include:

  • Adjustments (Auto level, Black and White, Sepia, …)
  • Effects (Motion blur, Glow, Warp, …)
  • Multiple layers
  • Unlimited undo/redo
  • Drawing tools (Paintbrush, Pencil, Shapes, …)

See the website for the full list.

Another feature of Pinta is full history saving. Say you want to continue a work later on, keeping all the layers intact (so that you can add/remove them later on), you can save the file in .ora format. It preserves every edit you have made so that you can reverse the changes.


For Ubuntu versions up to 12.04 you need to add a PPA to install this and keep it updated:

  • Ubuntu 10.10, 11.04 & 11.10

     sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pinta-maintainers/pinta-stable/ubuntu
     sudo apt-get update
  • Ubuntu 12.04

     sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pinta-maintainers/pinta-stable
     sudo apt-get update

Installing via the Terminal

Run this command:

sudo apt-get install pinta

Installing via the Ubuntu Software Center

  • Launch the Ubuntu Software Center
  • Search for "pinta"
  • Click the 'Install' button

Once it is installed you can now use Pinta. Navigate to: Menu > Graphics > Pinta


screenshot including "Adjustments" menu

screenshot including "Effects" menu

sample image with drawings on top of it

  • 2
    I have found Pinta's "Crop" function not to work. I select a region of a jpg photo, and the "Crop selection" produces about half the selected area. No idea why. Commented Aug 8, 2015 at 20:58
  • 3
    pinta is nice, but all those mono dependencies... Shotwell comes with Ubuntu and has a working cropping function, but not much more
    – Alecz
    Commented Jun 15, 2017 at 13:31
  • 15
    Pinta is buggy software.
    – niry
    Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 0:58
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    In 2016 I think this was the answer, but not anymore. Pinta is not getting new releases and is unusable in on a 4k computer. It's also very buggy.
    – Bufke
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 20:59
  • 5
    Pinta is shit, and I say it because I love Paint.NET which is an archetype for Pinta. It leaves artifacts on screen, does not refresh minimap (layers) properly, does not refresh recently open files submenu. I could go on like this, don't use it or you will get into frustration fast. All bugs I found I got on Debian 9 running Pinta in KDE Plasma.
    – Marecky
    Commented Mar 12, 2018 at 20:52

Shotwell has a single photo view that allows you to do most if not all of what you're asking. Shotwell, of course, has the advantage that it's included by default in modern Ubuntu so there's nothing to install.

To access the Shotwell viewer without separately launching the main Shotwell app, right click the photo and from the Open With menu select Shotwell Photo Viewer:

Right click, Open With -> Shotwell Photo Viewer

(You can make the Shotwell viewer the default program to open photos by selecting Properties from the right click menu and messing around in the Open With tab there.)

From the Shotwell viewer, you can rotate, crop, manipulate color levels, etc., and simply save the file when you're done. You can see the tools at the bottom of the window here:

Shotwell Photo Viewer

Whereas usually Shotwell is nondestructive (in the sense that any manipulations you perform on photos are only saved to a photo file if you export it), hitting save from the viewer does indeed write the changes to the file.

Full disclosure: I work at Yorba, though not on Shotwell.

  • 9
    One thing you can't seem to do with shotwell is resize images, which seems like a rather glaring omission IMHO. Commented Oct 21, 2015 at 14:37
  • 2
    I've used Shotwell extensively, and I think its crap. Doesn't even properly rotate images to even be recognized by other image softwares
    – KhoPhi
    Commented Nov 16, 2015 at 14:40
  • 1
    @Rexford, you may just be hitting bugs in your other image software. Shotwell properly handles the EXIF rotation field, and uses it instead of any pixel/buffer manipulation when rotating. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 4:40
  • 3
    Shotwell can't remove/blur/color a portion of the image
    – Anwar
    Commented Dec 16, 2017 at 8:29
  • 1
    Although this seems to be the closest to mac's preview it doesn't let you draw on the pic which is the most important. E.g circle/mark something.
    – DimiDak
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 16:26


GThumb is a really nice image viewer with basic editing tools such as:

  • Crop
  • Rotate
  • Equalize
  • Change Contrast
  • Change Focus
  • Change Colors
  • Apply basic effects (Grayscale, Negative, etc.)


sudo apt-get install -y gthumb


Screenshot 1 Screenshot 2

Click to view them in high quality

  • 1
    Screenshots are out-of-date. It's more user friendly now. Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 19:39
  • 2
    The hits the sweet spot for me: has everything I need and nothing I don't, and a very nice interface interface besides. Using it on Manjero.
    – Shon
    Commented Feb 7, 2021 at 17:32
  • This is exactly what I was looking for. It keeps it simple enough
    – Alessandro
    Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 8:07

You might like gThumb. It can do all that you mentioned and little else.

  • I could not save an image from clipboard
    – Oliver
    Commented Apr 13, 2021 at 13:39
  • I love that it is part of the GNOME project! Blends very well into the GNOME shell. Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 0:40

I would try Pinta (it's in the repos), as it is simple and has all the necessary basic adjustments to do with contrast, brightness, etc, and even has layers functionality. It is ideal for a quick crop, resize or red eye correction. The version in the repos is 1.1, but you can use a ppa from the developers if you want to have a more recent version-see the notes on the site about whether to use the ppa or not. However, the default version is fine and is very useful for those quick corrections. As you can see in the screenshot below the interface is easy to navigate and simple and intuitive to use.

enter image description here

  • doesn't even open pgm files....
    – Mehdi
    Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 13:04
  • Pinta works well for me. Crops, rectangle selects, blurs.
    – pwned
    Commented Oct 7, 2018 at 7:45
  • And crashed several times for me. Commented Dec 26, 2020 at 12:00
  • Pinta crashed for me ten seconds into use Commented Jul 19, 2021 at 2:35

I was just looking for something similar. I've found some candidates on Wikipedia, and I'm about to check some out.

A few I've found so far are: Shotwell, fotoxx, and the already-mentioned gthumb. I don't know yet which ones are in the Ubuntu repository.

EDIT: I have been using Shotwell now for a long time, and find that it does most of what I want, very quickly and easily. When it doesn't, it can directly open a full editor such as GIMP quickly to do the job instead.

I especially like that it can easily resize images, something I do a lot.

  • 2
    pinta throws 'unhandled exception' on 14.04 when trying to crop image. :) Shutter just halts the whole system. Only button hard reset helps. Only Shotwell works for me. Shutter was extremly cool.
    – Capacytron
    Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 20:51
  • @Sergey: I'm still using shotwell after all these years, and if I need more, I use gimp. I'm pretty familiar with gimp now, so even though it's overkill, I like it because it does just about everything. Commented Jul 25, 2015 at 21:43

I include MTPaint in my options as it will open suspect .bmp files from my Chinese Digital Storage Oscilloscope. It is very compact and very close to what Paint users would expect.

If you have kids under 5, start them on Tuxpaint.

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