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Pure python implementation of the gimp file format(s)

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A pure python implementation of the GIMP XCF image format. Use this to interact with GIMP image formats

Issues and contributions very much wanted/ needed 😀

Getting started

Read an image

from gimpformats.gimpXcfDocument import GimpDocument
project = GimpDocument("image.xcf")

Iterate the image and report the contents of each group followed by the first level children of the image

"""List data on groups followed by the direct children of a gimp xcf document
layers = project.layers
index = 0
print("## Group info...")
while index < len(layers):
	layerOrGroup = layers[index]
	if layerOrGroup.isGroup:
		index += 1
		while layers[index].itemPath is not None:
			print("Group \"" + + "\" contains Layer \"" + layers[index].name + "\"")
		index += 1

print("## Document direct children...")
for layerOrGroup in layers:
	print("\"" + + "\" is a " + ("Group" if layerOrGroup.isGroup else "Layer"))

Example output:

## Group info...
Group "Layer Group" contains Layer "Layer"
Group "Layer Group" contains Layer "Layer2"
## Document direct children...
"bg #1" is a Layer
"bg" is a Layer
"bg #2" is a Layer
"Transformation" is a Layer
"Layer Group" is a Group
"Background" is a Layer

Next tasks (see below)

  • Saving

Currently supports

  • Loading xcf files (up to current GIMP version 2.10)
  • Getting image hierarchy and info
  • Getting image for each layer (PIL image)
  • .gbr brushes
  • .vbr brushes
  • .gpl palette files
  • .pat pattern files
  • .gtp tool presets
  • Generate a flattened image
  • Add new layers

In progress but results in crashes and tests failing

  • Saving
  • .ggr gradients - reads/saves fine, but I need to come up with a way to get the actual colours
  • .gih brush sets - BUG: seems to have more image data per brush than what's expected
  • .gpb brush - should work, but I need some test files

Not implemented

  • Exported paths in .svg format. - Reading should be easy enough, but I need to ensure I don't get a full-blown svg in the mix
  • Standard "parasites"


A high-level overview of how the documentation is organized organized will help you know where to look for certain things:

  • The Technical Reference documents APIs and other aspects of the machinery. This documentation describes how to use the classes and functions at a lower level and assume that you have a good high-level understanding of the software.

Install With PIP

pip install gimpformats

Head to for more info

Language information

Built for

This program has been written for Python versions 3.8 - 3.11 and has been tested with both 3.8 and 3.11

Install Python on Windows


choco install python

Windows -

To install Python, go to and download the latest version.

Install Python on Linux


sudo apt install python3.x


sudo dnf install python3.x

Install Python on MacOS


brew install python@3.x

MacOS -

To install Python, go to and download the latest version.

How to run


  • Module py -3.x -m [module] or [module] (if module installs a script)

  • File py -3.x [file] or ./[file]

Linux/ MacOS

  • Module python3.x -m [module] or [module] (if module installs a script)

  • File python3.x [file] or ./[file]


This project uses to automate most of the building. This command generates the documentation, updates the requirements.txt and builds the library artefacts

Note the functionality provided by fhmake can be approximated by the following

handsdown  --cleanup -o documentation/reference
poetry export -f requirements.txt --output requirements.txt
poetry export -f requirements.txt --with dev --output requirements_optional.txt
poetry build

fhmake audit can be run to perform additional checks


For testing with the version of python used by poetry use

poetry run pytest

Alternatively use tox to run tests over python 3.8 - 3.11


Download Project


Using The Command Line

  1. Press the Clone or download button in the top right
  2. Copy the URL (link)
  3. Open the command line and change directory to where you wish to clone to
  4. Type 'git clone' followed by URL in step 2
    git clone

More information can be found at

Using GitHub Desktop

  1. Press the Clone or download button in the top right
  2. Click open in desktop
  3. Choose the path for where you want and click Clone

More information can be found at

Download Zip File

  1. Download this GitHub repository
  2. Extract the zip archive
  3. Copy/ move to the desired location

Community Files


LGPLv3 License (See the LICENSE for more information.)


See the Changelog for more information.

Code of Conduct

Online communities include people from many backgrounds. The Project contributors are committed to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming environment for all. Please see the Code of Conduct for more information.


Contributions are welcome, please see the Contributing Guidelines for more information.


Thank you for improving the security of the project, please see the Security Policy for more information.


Thank you for using this project, I hope it is of use to you. Please be aware that those involved with the project often do so for fun along with other commitments (such as work, family, etc). Please see the Support Policy for more information.


The rationale acts as a guide to various processes regarding projects such as the versioning scheme and the programming styles used. Please see the Rationale for more information.

Project details

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Source Distribution

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Uploaded Source

Built Distribution

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Uploaded Python 3

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