GIMP has an incredible number of keyboard shortcuts, and sometimes when you’re still learning a new program you can accidentally hit the wrong key combination and suddenly find yourself completely lost. We’ve all been there at one point or another!
If you’ve lost your GIMP toolbox, there are a couple of different reasons that it might be acting suddenly bashful: either you’ve accidentally closed the toolbox, or you’ve accidentally hidden all the docks in the user interface.
If all your GIMP panels have disappeared, you might have just temporarily hidden them by accidentally hitting the Tab key. It’s a useful tool for maximizing your open workspace when working at extremely high zoom levels, or just for ensuring that you stay focused on your work.
Try pressing the Tab key again to display all the panels again, or open the Windows menu in the GIMP menubar and uncheck the Hide Docks option.
If that doesn’t work, you might have actually closed the toolbox. This used to be a common problem in GIMP before they adopted the single-window interface layout as the default. While it’s harder to do now, it still happens sometimes when you’re learning your shortcuts!
Fortunately, it’s easy to bring the Toolbox back by pressing the shortcut Ctrl + B. You can also go to the Windows menu in the GIMP menubar again and choose Toolbox.
I mentioned earlier that GIMP’s interface used to follow a multi-window approach, which often led to the essential tool and info panels getting accidentally closed a few times too often, or just disappearing in the middle of a complex edit and breaking your flow.
At last, GIMP switched, but some users still prefer the multiple window model. If your toolbox and all your other panels have disappeared and pressing the Tab key didn’t bring them back, you might have accidentally turned off Single-Window Mode.
This makes it possible to lose your Toolbox behind your main GIMP window, without it actually being closed. To disable Single-Window Mode, return to the Windows menu bar in GIMP once again and check the box beside Single-Window Mode to bring everything back.
The Last Resort
If none of these solutions are able to show the Toolbox, you can try resetting all your GIMP user preferences back to defaults. This will reset all your tool and panel customizations, but as you’d expect, it will also reset anything else that you might have customized along the way.
That’s what makes it a last resort – it’s only worth doing if none of the other solutions have worked for you. Open the Edit menu and choose Preferences if you’re running GIMP on Windows or Linux, or find Preferences in the GIMP application menu if you’re on a Mac.
At the bottom of the Preferences window, you’ll find the Reset button. Click it, and then choose Reset in the Reset All Preferences confirmation window that pops up.
Hopefully, this last resort won’t be needed, and you’ve now learned how to hide and show the Toolbox in GIMP any time you want!About Thomas Boldt