Mark's Quick Gimp Tip

If you're like me, you have lots of images piling up in your system. And, if you use The Gimp, you probably like to use certain parts of images and incorporate them into new images and designs. In order to have this "clip art" at hand, you need an image library. An image library is a central place that stores all these images for easy retrieval. On the Windows side, most graphics apps have built-in image libraries.

You can drag and drop clip art to the library for later use. The problem is, these libraries are buried deep in the Windows directory. Moving the library (and all those images) when you upgrade or move to another computer system can be a hassle. You have to find the library's exact directory location, and this usually requires a Google search or combing through the app's help area. Plus, you have to place that image folder in the exact same directory loaction on the new Windows system in order for the app to once again find it. Worse still is if you ever need to reinstall the graphics program. The re-installation routine sometimes overwrites the entire library. If you didn't back it up, all that clip art is lost! Luckily, The Gimp in Linux makes it much easier to create an image library. Simply create a folder anywhere in your home directory and store the images there. That's it! (I call mine "Gimp Artwork." It sits on my desktop.) When you want to place an image into a photo you're editing, simply open the folder, grab the file thumbnail and drag and drop into the Gimp work area. The Gimp creates the clip art as a new layer. Conversely, you can easily add images and art clips to your library. Just select the area of the image you want and copy it to your clipboard. Then, open the library folder, right click and select "paste clipboard contents."

You can then add a file name and select the image format. I like to use those file formats that preserve a transparent background (.tif, .png). If you want to save as Gimp's native .xcf format (or other file format), copy the area, paste as a new image, and simply save the image to the library folder. The great thing is, with Gimp running in Linux, you'll always know where your image library is. You'll always be able to take it with you, move it to other Linux systems running Gimp, and easily back it up.

-Mark Szorady is a nationally syndicated cartoonist. His work is distributed by Email Mark at

Answers to Mark Szorady's Double Take: (1) Cook's eyes different; (2) Cleaver changed to knife; (3) Falling cash missing; (4) “Hey” added to word balloon; (5) Turkey's hair missing; (6) Bush different; (7) Hat taller