right now when i do image editing there are 10-100 undo history that is needed to achieve my desired output.

when i click save and close the image. then open. the undo history is lost.

is there a way to click save, close the image, open the image and get the undo history back?

without this feature i need to carefully click save-as every 1-5 minutes or create a git repo for version control, and click save and also do a git add/commit.

if i had a way to save the history. then i could spend hours doing the image editing. close it then come back to where i left off with full undo history.

  • No. There's no way to save the history as far as I know. Once a file saved and closed the undo history is not recoverable. see the GIMP documentation
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 5, 2023 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


The undo history isn't saved in the XCF.

IMHO basing your workflow on undo is very dangerous, because with a single mistake you can lose a good chunk of your edit history (not speaking of scripts that may have a cavalier attitude with the undo stack). You are also stuffing memory with undo steps that you don't need.

Instead you can keep copies of layers (put them all in an invisible group) and selections (Select > Save to channel).

  • 1
    My idea was to keep all undo history... Like git. How would keeping all undo cause "with a single mistake you can lose a good chunk of your edit history". FYI I am noob in gimp and graphic design, etc and so I apologize in advance. Jul 9, 2023 at 5:00
  • "Undo" is a stack. It you go back in the past, and then by mistake change anything (and this means changing a layer visibility, for instance), you wipe out all the changes that occured after the step to which to wen back. For instance you did ABCDEFG, then you go back to C, if you do anything X then you undo stack is ABCX and DEFG are lost.
    – xenoid
    Jul 9, 2023 at 7:28
  • Also, undo steps can be huge (a full layer...) so keeping them all would result in huge files. And in GIT you don't keep everything, you keep the "commits". I have spent several hours working on an image, and just made manual saves and making copies of layers and channels when needed. If needed there are scripts/plugins that will do periodic autosaves of the image.
    – xenoid
    Jul 9, 2023 at 7:34
  • 1
    i'm aware that undo steps can be huge and would result in huge files. there are many use-cases where i think having the huge file size would be valid. (in 2023 lots of computers have > 1TB of available storage and you can easily buy a harddrive with 22 TB of storage.) Jul 10, 2023 at 13:29

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