How to Import a Color Palette into GIMP

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How to Import a Color Palette into GIMP

Color Scheme Designer is a free online application for producing color schemes with little effort. The resulting color schemes can be exported in several different ways, including a simple text list, but if you use GIMP, you can export it in a GPL palette format.

There are a few steps to get your exported color scheme into a fully GIMP ready format and then imported into GIMP, but the following steps will show you the process.

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Export GPL Color Palette

The first step is to create a color scheme on the Color Scheme Designer website. You can read more about the process in my Color Scheme Designer tutorial.

Once you have created a scheme that you're happy with, go to the Export menu and select GPL (GIMP Palette). This should open a new tab or window with a list of color values, but don't worry if it looks like double Dutch.

You need to copy this text, so click on the browser window and then press the Ctrl key and A key simultaneously (Cmd+A on a Mac) and then press Ctrl+C (Cmd+C) to copy the text.

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Save a GPL File

The next step is to use the copied text to produce a GPL file that can be imported into GIMP.

You'll need to open a simple text editor. On Windows, you can use the Notepad application or on OS X, you can launch TextEdit (press Cmd+Shift+T to convert it to plain text mode). Now paste the text that you copied from your browser into a blank document. Go to Edit > Paste and save your file, remembering to note where you save it.

If using Notepad, go to File > Save and in the Save As dialog, type in the name of your file, using '.gpl' as the file extension to end the name. Then change the Save as type drop down to All Files and ensure Encoding is set to ANSI. If using TextEdit, save your text file with Encoding set to Western (Windows Latin 1).

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Import the Palette into GIMP

This step shows you how to import your GPL file into GIMP.

With GIMP launched, go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs > Palettes to open the Palettes dialog. Now right-click anywhere on the list of palettes and select Import Palette. In the Import a New Palette dialog, click the Palette file radio button and then the button just to the right with the folder icon. Now you can navigate to the file you created in the previous step and select it. Clicking the Import button will add your new color scheme to the list of palettes. The next step will show you how easy it is to use your new palette in GIMP.

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Using Your New Color Palette

Using your new color palette in GIMP is very easy and it makes it very easy to re-use colors within one or more GIMP files.

With the Palettes dialog still open, find your newly imported palette and double click the little icon next to its name to open the Palette Editor. If you click the name itself, the text will become editable. Now you can click a color in the Palette Editor and it will be set as the Foreground color in the Tools dialog. You can hold the Ctrl key and click a color to set the Background color.