Recently I did something in GIMP, and now no matter what image I open, (almost) none of the tools work.

I can't draw, I can't erase, I can't make a rectangle or fuzzy selection ... the Move tool is the only one that works, and even it only works if I enlarge the canvas to make room (I'm pretty sure I could move parts of the image "off screen"). Many (but not all of the tools) even have a little circle with a line through it when I try to use them.

I don't have any selection on these images, I am in RGB mode, I've tried adding layers, and I've tried a bunch of other fixes online that (similarly) didn't work. I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling Gimp.

Does anyone have any idea what I could have done to put GIMP into this useless mode?

EDIT: Here's a screenshot of my GIMP.

enter image description here

  • Please add a screenshot of your Gimp UI showing the Layers list and the titlebar. Otherwise, here and here.
    – xenoid
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 20:58
  • Screenshot added. I checked everything on both of those lists, but none helped :( Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 21:51
  • Not visible but I assume you did "Select >None" (or it is grayed out). So given the screen shot above, if you click+drag the mouse across the picture, nothing happens when one would expect some erasure (or replacement with white)?
    – xenoid
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 22:03
  • Correct (both about selecting None ... I even selected All and then None to be sure) and about nothing happening when I try and erase ... or make a rectangle selection, or move the image, or use any other tool. Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 22:07
  • If the paint tools (bucket/blend/brush/eraser/airbrush/pencil) don't work but the transform tools (scale/rotate/flip...) do, a possibility is that all channels are deselected in the Channels list. Otherwise no better idea than renaming your profile to start fresh.
    – xenoid
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


If the paint tools (bucket/blend/brush/eraser/airbrush/pencil) don't work but the transform tools (scale/rotate/flip...) do, a possibility is that all channels are deselected in the Channels list (because paint operations only apply to the channels that are selected).

When nothing seems to work, it can be a problem with your Gimp profile. Reinstalling Gimp is rarely a solution because that will keep the profile and its data. So the good solution is to rename your profile, and start Gimp again. It will create a new profile from scratch which should normally be OK. You can then copy things (typically, assets: brushes, patterns...) from the previous profile if necessary.

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