Wednesday, January 5, 2011

GIMP 2.6 UI text too small?

I had the happy occasion to download, install and use GIMP 2.6.11. Overall it's a very nice image manipulation program, so kudos to developers. One trouble was that its user interface's default text size was too small for my liking. While it may be good on small monitors, it's not good in large monitors and neither is it good for the eyes like that.

So I surfed the web and first found out one solution (forgot the source, of course), and then another one, which is easier (with attribution to the initial suggestion).

R., 05.10.2012. update:

Right, well, this has been brewing for a longer time, but I've now gotten up to describing a more elegant solution that has been available for well more than a year or so. If not more even...

So, anyways, I got the solution for Windows from the help page of the Pidgin instant messenger, and the page is on its own quite straight-forward:
  • Download the GTK2 preferences program, also known as the GTK+ Theme Switcher package (version 0.4.1 and Win32) from Sourceforge;
  • out of which compressed package you should extract gtk2_prefs.exe into the GIMP program folder, such as this —

    C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\bin\

  • Then create a shortcut to the program, and then move the shortcut to the desktop or copy it into the GIMP folder in the Start Menu;
  • Then make sure GIMP is not running when you change settings with the below program, because upon quitting it might overwrite the settings you've changed.
  • Launch the program, which is officially named The Gtk2 Theme Selector. There you should be able to change the look of GIMP, including themes. Of the two default themes I chose Raleigh, because it's nicer-looking, but you can download your own via instructions at the Pidgin help page.
Caveat: If you uninstall or upgrade GIMP, the Gtk2 Theme Switcher program (and any additional installed themes) will be deleted. Not sure about whether settings will also be retained, but after upgrading, you'll need to re-extract the Gtk2 Theme Switcher in order to set the settings right (if need be, again). The program's user interface is quite straight-forward. Save settings/quit the theme switcher, start GIMP.

But the above is a much simpler solution than advice below, which has worked for me, too.

And if that doesn't work, then the following should definitely help.

First of all, GIMP uses themes and keeps its configuration data in configuration files of those themes; the files are easily editable. Before you do any changes, make a copy of the original first, just in case.
  • Locations for themes can be found at Edit > Preferences > in the left-side section, click on Themes [since I use the Estonian-language UI, the word is Kujundus; located between User Interface (Liides) and Help System (Abisüsteem)].
  • In the right-side main section, you will then see the list of themes and their locations. Theme names correspond to their relevant folder names. By default, there are two: Default and Small.
  • Go to the themes folder, and make a copy of the Default folder, rename it. I've renamed it to Default-bigger. Making a copy of the theme folder will keep the original theme.
  • Go into the copied theme folder, Default-bigger in my case, and open the gtkrc file. This is the gtk configuration file for GIMP and contains settings directly affecting font size in the user interface. Make a copy of the file first, then open it with a text editor (if you use Windows, I suggest WordPad, because it supports UNIX-style carriage returns, or Notepad2; if resources permit, a local office productivity word processor is good, so long you save the file in the original format).
  • The file's settings are similar to formatting rules in a CSS file. Scroll down in the file and look for font-scale and label-scale items. The default size for these are given as 0.8333. Change them to 1.0, as in
    GimpRuler::font-scale          = 1.0
    Save the file, (re)start GIMP. If something goes wrong, you can overwrite the modified file either from its own original copy or the original in the original Defaults theme.


Mister Slimm said...


Bhevarri said...

This almost worked for me, but it just changed the font size in some of the boxes, not along the menu bars or anywhere else. It's great to be able to see SOME of the text, but what can I change to make it ALL bigger?
Sorry for the lack of eloquence, It's late and I've been fussing with gimp all night. It hates me >.<

Mardus said...

I've made the long-brewing update to the post that introduces an easier solution.