I opened a .png file I had in GIMP and started editing it. The image was only black and some transparency. I selected the paint bucket tool, chose white as my color but when I fill in anything it is black.

  • Unfortunately, this makes not the slightest difference. I have this 'black only' problem when editing anything at all in 2.8, image mode IS RGB. this is not the first nonworking experience with gimp, which is aptly named.
    – jcch
    Sep 4, 2019 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


Turns out the image was somehow using Indexed color mode. The solution was to go to Image > Mode > RGB.

  • Hello Liron Yahdav, welcome to GDSE. We're glad you've found the answer to your own question. After a period of 24h, giving others the opportunity to answer, you can accept your own answer (by clicking the checkmark underneath the up- and downvote buttons). This informs the system the question can be considered closed. Thanks for your time and efforts, keep helping make this site great! PS: you can always see help center if you have any questions or get in touch via Graphic Design Chat
    – PieBie
    Feb 22, 2017 at 8:06
  • The same thing happened to me. What is indexed mode, and do you know how I suddenly switched to it? (perhaps I hit some short cut?)
    – Ralph
    Nov 30, 2018 at 2:47
  • Sorry I'm not sure. You might get an answer if you ask as a separate question. Nov 30, 2018 at 5:50
  • I had the same problem as well and was struggling, but you just gave me a solution! Thank you very much :>
    – hyunju
    Oct 29, 2020 at 9:31
  • My colors are messed up, where should I look? Not Image > Color Management, View > Color Management, or anything in the Colors tab... Why, Image > Mode! Of course!
    – phlaxyr
    Dec 5, 2023 at 18:44

To all those, like me, who did not find a solution by changing the mode to RGB....

The problem could be that the image has an embedded color profile that is somehow messing with how GIMP acts on the image. The solution is as follows: Image > Color Management > Discard Color Profile

This will force GIMP to use its own built-in sRGB color profile.

Furthermore, it is advisable to set GIMP to forewarn you of such situations. Select: Edit > Preferences > Interface > Dialog Defaults > Color Profile Import Dialog > Ask what to do.

This option is on by default but many people disable it from the "Don't ask me again" tick box and forget all about it!

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