Take the 2-minute tour ×
Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Why doesn't The Gimp have drawing tools? Weird isn't it?

Something I'm trying to do today, and not for the first time, is take in a picture and just annotate it with a couple of arrows pointing to particular things I want to highlight.

And, again, I'm surprised to discover that there's no "arrow-drawing" tool. Or any basic geometric shape tools. The Gimp is the natural place to do what I'm doing (annotate a bitmap), not Inkscape nor LibreOffice Draw. But this functionality is surprisingly NOT THERE (presumably because Gimp is meant to be for painting not vector drawing.)

But this is such an obvious use-case that I'm surprised no-one has ever tried to add these tools.

Do I just not know how to find the right tool, or does The Gimp not support shapes?

share|improve this question
I hope you don't mind, I edited your question so we could re-open it. Instead on focusing on the why, I referred more to the how ("how to use shapes in Gimp"). Please feel free to re-edit! –  Yisela Jul 11 '13 at 4:43
I would argue Inkscape is more of a natural place to do this. Paste in your bitmap, then annotate away with a full range of vector tools. –  DA01 Mar 23 '14 at 1:08

1 Answer 1

As far as I'm concerned, there aren't native shapes in The Gimp.

There is, however, a collection of scripts that create paths, called Shape Paths.

Supported shapes:

  • Squares
  • rectangles, rounded rectangles
  • circles, ellipses, ovals
  • polygons
  • stars
  • flowers
  • gears
  • triangle waves, square waves and sine waves

enter image description here

Another thing you can do is export customized paths (using the Path utility) and import them when you need them. It's probably better if you use Inkscape for this. You can also use the shapes of PNG files.

A last option is to use dingbat fonts, because you can use them the same way you'd use a shape template :)

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.