Help! I’m Missing a Dialog or Window in GIMP!

Help! I’m Missing a Dialog or Window in GIMP!

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It happens to all of us at some point: a GIMP window is lost and you can’t find it anywhere. Honestly, I’ve been there and I know it’s frustrating. But that window is usually somewhere, and you’ll find it if you just know where to look.

I think the reason this happens so frequently is because GIMP was originally developed for Linux systems, so it uses conventions that Linux users might be familiar with. Unfortunately, that means us Mac and Windows users sometimes have to deal with things like “lost” windows, or comparatively clunky interface options. Im sure Linux users feel the same way about software on a Mac or when using windows 😉

If you lost a GIMP window or dialog, here are a few things you can try to find it again.

Missing Dialog in GIMP

The first thing I recommend trying if you lost a Dialog in GIMP is this:

  • Go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs in the main menu
  • Click the name of your missing dialog from the list

If you lost a dock like the Toolbox or the Layers/Channels/Paths etc. dock, try this instead:

  • Go to Windows > Recently Closed Docks in the main menu
  • Click the name of your missing dock from the list

If your dialog or dock was accidentally closed, that will re-open it.

I Tried That And My Window Is Still Missing

Window still missing? It’s probably caused by one of two things.

  1. The dialog may have popped up, but it’s hidden underneath another window (This is part of that “made for Linux” thing I was talking about). Move or minimize the Main Window to make sure the dialog you chose didn’t pop up behind it.
  2. The other possibility happens if the dialog you chose is already docked to a window like the Toolbox, or the Layers/Channels/Paths Docking Window.

If you don’t see the dialog hidden underneath another window, it’s probably already docked somewhere. Now, we just have to do a little detective work to find it:

  • If the dialog is docked to a window that you can see, when you go to Windows > Dockable Dialogs and choose your dialog, a black outline will blink a couple of times around the dialog. This lets you know where the dialog is already docked. There’s an example of this in the video on docking dialogs for GIMP 2.8, under the Troubleshoot Docking Dialogs section below.
  • If you don’t see that blinking outline, that probably means that the window the dialog is docked to is hidden. It might be minimized, it might be hidden behind another window, or it may have been hidden within the Main Window if you’re using Single Window Mode.
  • If you’re not using Single Window Mode (which is only available in GIMP 2.8 and up) check to see if you have any GIMP windows minimized, or hidden behind another window. If you do, maximize the window, or drag it to the front, and look for your missing dialog in that window. You can try going to Windows > Dockable Dialogs and clicking on the dialog you’re looking for to see if there is a blinking outline around your missing dialog.
  • If you are using Single Window Mode, and you hid any sections of the window by sliding them to the left or right, you can reveal them again by looking for a column of dots on either side of the Main Window, then hovering your mouse over the column of dots. when your mouse turns into a two way arrow with a bar in the middle (pictured below) click and drag the column of dots inward to reveal the hidden section of the window.

gimp help

Troubleshoot Docking GIMP’s Dialogs

how to dock gimp dialogs


GIMP windows and dialogs are almost never missing forever. It can get frustrating managing all of the windows in GIMP, making sure none of them are minimized, closed, or stacked on top of one another. But if you’ve lost a window taking a few minutes to try these few tips should save you a lot of headache.

Good luck!

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