How to Change the Foreground Color in GIMP

Written by elizabeth valentine
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How to Change the Foreground Color in GIMP
Just like you would choose your paint colour, you can select the foreground colour in GIMP. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The free program GIMP is an advanced graphics editor that can be used for complicated design projects or simple photo-editing tasks. You can download the user-friendly piece of software from GIMP's official home page and launch the program, creating a new file or opening an existing image you wish to edit. With the editor opened, the main toolbar will be visible and you are ready to begin customising your colour settings.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Locate the "Foreground Color Box" situated in the main toolbar. If you are unsure you have found the right box, hover your cursor over the rectangle and an explanatory note will appear naming the colour box and adding, "Click to open the colour selection dialogue." Click on the box.

  2. 2

    Insert the HTML colour code notation into the corresponding text field if you have a specific foreground colour you would like to achieve. Otherwise, you can use the other colour tools provided to pick out a shade to work with.

  3. 3

    Use the HSV-RGB rows on the right to view gradients of potential colour choices. When you click on one of the gradients on the right, the square gradient preview on the left will auto-adjust to show the relevant part of the colour spectrum so you can further refine your selection. Continue to click on any of the gradients until what shows in the "Current" preview fits your preferences.

  4. 4

    Click "OK" when you are satisfied with your selection. The pop-up box will close and now your paintbrush and bucket tools will be in the style of your current colour choice until you once again change the foreground colour.

Tips and warnings

  • Once you have selected the colour you want, you may wish to write down what HTML colour code corresponds to that chosen shade for easy access to that same colour in the future.
  • When you shut down GIMP, your selection for the foreground colour will not be saved. You will need to reselect your desired foreground colour every time you restart the editor.

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