Can you export directly to GIMP from darktable?

I’m still a newbie when it comes to DT, is it possible to export to GIMP directly from darktable?

It’s one click-button in Rawtherapee. The file is there automatically exported as a 16bit TIF file to Gimp.

I’d love to have something similar in DT.


It works the other way around, you open a RAW file in GIMP and if it knows about darktable it will open the file and as soon as you close darktable the developed result is available in gimp.

One warning, the exported file is not saved and only passed to gimp, if you want to save it you have to do it within gimp.

Uh. That’s… not so useful from my perspective, if I understood it right.

If I use DT’s lightable, why would I need GIMP in the first place?

My current workflow:

  • Browse and sort RAWs in Lightable
  • Develop desired files in DT
  • Export TIFFs to GIMP for final edits and rasterization tools.
  • Final save as a JPG by GIMP

@maboleth The dev version of darktable (and presumably the next common version as well) includes a lua scripts installer; one of the scripts that can be installed is Enable gimp.

That script sends an image from dt to The Gimp, and when you are through editing there, the (modified) image will be imported into dt, to be shown in lighttable, next to the original image.

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden


You don’t need to wait for the next dt version. You can get the Lus scripts here:

  • The GIMP script exports the file from dt as EXR file in your temp folder.
  • Opens the file in GIMP
  • If you overwrite the EXR file and close GIMP the file is imported into dt and grouped with the original image.

EXR is a little bit better then TIFF, because it supports 32bit float and not “only” 16bit integer.


Among the scripts there is also ext_editors.lua, where you can configure up to 9 external programs (Gimp, Nik collection, or whatever you like) and export back and forth to them.

Thanks everyone.

Well I have installed that gimp script, but unfortunately it only works when GIMP is not started.

It works like this:

  1. Export image in DT.
  2. GIMP launches, image opens.
  3. I press another image to export in DT and nothing happens until I close GIMP.
  4. It creates a “backlog” of unopened images that fires every time I re-start GIMP.

The script waits until GIMP finishes, so that it knows when to import the file. You can select multiple images at the same time and then use Edit with GIMP and they will all be opened in GIMP. How many images you can open at once depends on the amount of memory installed on your computer.


Well that’s a bit awkward. I have 32gb ram and 32gb swap, so memory is non-issue.

However, while I can edit everything in DT and batch-import into GIMP, knowing that I have to close gimp before doing another batch or so is a flaw. Not to mention that sometimes I have to tweak a certain file i DT and export it again in Gimp - impossible now.

Can I edit this lua somehow and disable that behaviour - I care more to have a working gimp online than a file imported in DT. In fact, I don’t need DT’s new file import at all.

It sounds like you use GIMP as your main processor and darktable only for converting the raw with maybe a few edits. In that case, you could open the raw from GIMP, which could start darktable to process the raw and deliver it to GIMP for further processing

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Thanks, but no. File inspection, selection, main edits and color/tonal direction is done in a raw processor (currently RT, but experimenting with DT). Tiff is then imported into GIMP for final edits, selective contrasts, retouch and rasterization tools. After that, final JPG image is saved, tiff is deleted, while keeping a raw file.

This was my workflow since LR and PS days.

I’m trying to edit gimp.lua myself, but haven’t got much success.


while searching for a way to open one or more images from DT into an open Gimp I came across this post.

I work the same way and do the basic development in DT. Also the management of the images. Everything else beauty retouching as an example in Gimp.

It is unfortunately not a good workflow to have to close Gimp every time because you usually have several photos open :frowning:

I hope that other users need this and maybe it will be integrated into DT because I like to work with it.

with best

you can modify the gimp script (use ext_editor.lua as inspiration) so it’s just unidirectional. But then the result is not reimported in darktable …

If I understand this correctly you have darktable and GIMP open at the same time and you want to send images from darktable to GIMP without closing either one.

What do you want to do with the image after you’ve processed it in GIMP? Store it in darktable, grouped with the original? Store it in another location? Something else?

Yes, I have both programmes open and would like to transfer one or more images from DT to Gimp.

I know that the changes made in Gimp do not flow back to DT:

This is not necessary as we save them in a different place after editing in Gimp. Outside of the DT structure.

Okay, that’s easy enough to do. Give me a few days and I’ll add an option to run the gimp script in that mode.

That would be great

The script is updated in the repository. There is a checkbox in the exporter to run in detached mode.


Thanks, I will test it tomorrow

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I guess I still have to learn how to use LUA scripts. I find “gimp stopped” under “contrib”. When I click on it, it becomes “gimp started”.

But that’s all that happens. How do I use a script?