How to install GIMP plugins, scripts, brushes and gradients


Installing GIMP plugins, brushes and gradients is one of the best ways to make GIMP more powerful. However, this can be difficult to do for a beginner. This quick tutorial will show you how to install them very easily on Windows. Instructions are different for Windows, Mac OS X.

If you use Photoshop, see our instructions on installing brushes, patterns and gradients in Photoshop.

In Windows XP

Install GIMP brushes

GIMP Brushes and gradients are installed similarly – extract and drop the brushes into C:\Document and Settings\<username>\.gimp-<version>\brushes\ and gradients into C:\Document and Settings\<username>\.gimp-<version>\gradients\

Installing GIMP plugins

Plugins are bits of code that work with GIMP to add to the functionality. They may offer several exciting ways to extend the utility of the program. Plugins can be saved by unzipping the downloaded folder (if it is in a .zip format), and placing them in C:\Document and Settings\<username>\.gimp-<version>\plug-ins\. Restart GIMP, and the plugin will be activated.


Installing scripts in GIMP

Some of the plugins are actually scripts, ending with a .scm extension. In such cases, drop them to C:\Document and Settings\<username>\.gimp-<version>\scripts\ instead.

In Windows Vista

If you use Windows Vista, you might have to go to your profile folder (the folder under which your documents, pictures etc. are located) to find your brushes, scripts etc.

In Mac OS X

Brushes can be installed by dropping them (.gbr files) into the brush search path that is specified in GIMP’s preferences. If you have not tweaked anything, this is usually


where x.y denotes the version number of GIMP you are using (version number is visible in the GIMP startup splash page). Note that you should replace ‘username’ with your short username (not the full name).

Install GIMP brushes in Linux

Go to your Home folder. You have to make hidden files/folders visible, so hit Ctrl+H. Go to the directory named .gimp-2.x (where 2.x is version number of GIMP you are using). Within that folder, there are subfolders, one of which is brushes. Drop your brushes to that folder.

Do Photoshop brushes work in GIMP?

GIMP is open-source, and is hence flexible in application. Many of the Photoshop plugins and brushes work with GIMP, and it is a matter of trial-and-error. Note that using Photoshop brushes in GIMP requires GIMP 2.4 or above.


  1. Hi,
    I have OS Snow leopard 10.6.6 and Gimp 2.6 where is my Plug-Ins folder? I looked in the 2.0 folder and didn’t find a folder labeled ‘Plug-Ins’.

    HELP! :-)


  2. where it says File, Edit, Select, View, Image, etc. click Windows > Layers, Channels, Paths. Hope this helped! 😉

  3. I have an HP labtop, and I have downloaded the files. but I don’t know how to put them on Gimp it’s self (I have Gimp 2). I have the folder and everything its just that when I try to put them on I fail. I think I almost have it though, cause it says for me to restart Gimp but Gimp its self doesnt restart when I hit ‘ok’ (is that supose to happen?). I close it and when I re-open it the brushes arnt there! >.<" im really confused…can someone help? (please make it as easy as possible to understand ^^")

  4. I figured it out!! Open GIMP, then under EDIT go to /Preferences/Folders (click on the + sign beside Folders to open) Then make sure the right path is selected for your brushes folder. GIMP will then tell you to close & restart. Yay it worked!!

  5. I have download GIMP brushes from They are GIMP brushes with the .gbr extension. I extracted the files to my Gimp brushes folder, each file separately. I also tried to copy & paste them in there as a secondary attempt to try to make them work. It said the files already existed. When I open up GIMP the brushes are not loading. I only have the default brushes.

    Any help would be appreciated! I have Vista and using GIMP 2.6.8
    (I am not a novice with computers but this has me confuzzled!)

  6. Hi, I like very much all your brushes but I have some problems using the sparkle ones, ’cause when I open them in gimp and try to use them, instead of sparkles I see colored lines and in between sparkles. What am I doing wrong? Thanks anyway for all your free brushes.

  7. ok i downloaded Gimp 2.4 worked great but when i downloaded 2.6 for some odd reason it didn’t have the layers,channels,path,undo….ext dialog box on the right side of the screen????? now i dont know what happened

    i even tried to uninstall and intall but nothing even tried to install old version now same thing happens to that one

    help please

  8. WOW, I just spent over an hour on the GIMP help thing, and all they talked about were paths and folders and what not, then finally gave up and figured I was never going to figure it out, then I somehow ended up here, and BAM, figured it out! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

  9. Hi my brushes are also only in black on the preview and grey(like valerie’s) when i use them. I have changed the foreground n background colour and it makes no difference apart from when i use black foreground u cant even see the when i use. I have my image mode set to Rgb. Please help or someone give me some ideas :-( Not a happy bunny, i want to use all my lovely brushes . . . . . . .

  10. This doesn’t work!! I have read EVERY comment here.. i have Windows Vista- Home premuim..and i am trying to get the brushes onto the thingy on the i can use them.. sure i found the file where it is..don’t exactly know how extracting far as that is..but when i click open the brushes file and drag it onto GIMP..its very small and is not with the photo i want..nor can i get it to that.

    Anyone who knows let me know!

    to be specific what i wanna know is..

    A)Why its not working for Vista
    B)How do i get the brush to work for the picture i want to use it with?
    C)Anything(As in sites) that have brushes that actually work

    I am a beginner when it comes to GIMP but NOT a beginner when it comes to editing photos(Colors, sizes, words..etc) i know all that..but when it comes to brushes..i don’t know what im doing.

    SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP!! Your help will be greatfully appriaciated,

  11. KELSIB, For your text brush you have to use it on a new layer and make sure that it is transparent. Then place that layer on your photo layer

  12. For the brushes folder in mac, in GIMP go Edit>Preferences, then in the window that opens click the arrow next to ‘>Folders’ then open ‘Brushes’.
    The window to the right should show the path to the GIMP brushes folder. Use the folder that is ticked as being writable in ‘Application Support’ and not the other one as I read somewhere that it should be left untouched.
    You then have to Refresh your brushes in the toolbar.
    Hope this helps

  13. Fix for you who can’t get the the new downloaded brushes to display in Gimp.

    In Gimp: Go to
    – Edit – Properties – folders – brushes

    Here you can see what folder gimp is using for brushes.

    Put you downloaded files here and restart Gimp…tadaaa 😉

  14. i have the brushes in my brush folder but when i use it ..puts white behind the brush help???????????????? on the pic i want to place it on a photo how

  15. I’m kinda lost here. I don’t really get how to get to the brushes folder in the first place. I keep putting in the one provided, and typed in my user name and GIMP version, yet it still won’t let me. Help please?

  16. I own two MacBooks, one a 10.4.10 and one a 10.5.6. I’ve installed brushes on my older computer by just entering Gimp into the search and finding the Gimp folder and the brushes worked just fine. On my newer computer, however, I can’t figure out how to put the brushes on. I’ve done what worked on my older computer, just searching Gimp or Brushes and getting the correct folder, and it won’t work. I don’t know how to find it a different way. Help?

  17. I am using Mac OSX and have recently decided to download a lot of brushes. I have not tampered with GIMP before…and I can’t seem to find a “brushes” folder anywhere…

  18. I have a MacBook with OS X version 10.5.7, and I cannot figure out where to download the brushes to. I have them on my computer, in my specific gimp folder, but I cannot access my brushes folder -even if I go to the finder=>go=>go to folder and search “~/gimp2.6.4/brushes”. Help please.

  19. changing the background/foreground colours makes no difference… the brushes are all black and white, not just in the previews… they actually apply as black and white. Does anyone else experience this?

  20. You can change your background/foreground colors to use the brushes in color. Only the previews are in black and white (unless the brush is specifically designed to be B&W).

  21. I have unzipped the files into the brushes folder and they show in my brushes window, but they are all black and white, no colour, why is that?

  22. I’ve edited the previous comment to say what you wanted it to – thanks for the clarification regarding Windows Vista, I will update the post soon (been a long time since I used Vista).

    hi could you please amend my previous comment – it should say YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO FIND THE FILE UNDER YOUR profile FOLDER. the word missing is profile as I had put the word in brackets and it doesnt show. many thanks! ^_^

  24. Sara, if you use Windows Vista, you might be able to find the file under your profile folder (the one that is the parent folder for your documents, pictures etc). That’s where I found my GIMP folder + brushes. In explorer – it’s under the Desktop icon. Hope this helps!

  25. I defintatly do NOT know what to do. I dont have a Document and Settings folder either. I cant even find a brushes folder for heavens sake. So yeah…plaease help

  26. Mandi, you can get fonts for GIMP by downloading them and installing on the system. You do not need a plugin to get fonts.

  27. I’m trying to extract the files in Windows Vista. I looked for the file path to extract the brushes into. I don’t have a Document and Settings folder. I found the brushes folder, under my computer name, and then under the gimp version that is directly under that. But it doesn’t give me a path to put in to extract it. Please help :(


  29. I’m looking for plugins, brushes and patterns for gimp on a mac computer, but how can I install them??

  30. im lost help!
    i just figured out how to unzip them but how do i get them into my brushes dialog box?
    @Pinkeh if u operate windows it should unzip these files automatically or if not u need to download winrar or easyzip it will guide u through it at that point to unzip these files

  31. Thank you! That’s exactly what I was looking for. A simple explanation of where to put these files.

  32. In Ubuntu, go to /usr/share/gimp/2.0/brushes and add them there.
    The 2.0 will change according to your version, I just use the one that’s in the repositories.

  33. How do you install them in Ubuntu???? As Gimp is the default image editor in Ubuntu I really don’t understand why you explain how to install brushes in Windows and not in Linux. Please help

  34. @Emily: You have to place the extracted brush files (individual files, not folders) into the brushes folder.

  35. I have extracted the brushes to the Brushes folder and just started up Gimp, but the brushes are not there. All the brushes are in folders, must they be out of the folders to work?
    Please else, I downloaded many brushes..

  36. I keep copying the location of my brush file in the extraction wizard like I’m supposed to…but for some reason it won’t work! What am I doing wrong?

  37. @lily: Read the post once more please 😉 I have mentioned the steps required to download GIMP brushes very clearly.

  38. i had download the Gimp brushes, and im using gimp 2.4.7
    where should i extract the zip file into? and im using windows xp….thx alot…..

  39. i didnt mean simply, just step by step… thats all.. where to go, and btw, what is the x for? i dont get the explaination.. htoughi think im getting closeto solving the problem.. hehe thanks again ^^

  40. hehe im not that good with all the tecnology stuff so i dont really get the explaination… -___-; i wonder if anybody can explain it simply.. :p
    hehe thanks

  41. I have a bunch of brushes moved into my GIMP brushes folder, but I can’t figure out how to access them in the application itself. They’re not in my brushes tab.

    D: Halp?

  42. @a: I’m not sure what you mean by “keep the folder structure of the brushes, can it be done?”. Perhaps you can clarify?

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