Manage Photos with gThumb

gThumb may look like yet another image viewer, but behind its unassuming appearance hides a rather capable application that can help you to manage photos efficiently.

As any decent image viewer, gThumb provides all essential tools for browsing images and performing basic operations, such as rotating and resizing graphics files, converting images to different formats, and tweaking EXIF metadata. If  you use tags to keep tabs on your photos, you’ll appreciate gThumb’s tag editing feature. To quickly assign one of the existing tags to a specific photo, right-click on it and choose the desired tag from the Tags menu. Choose the Other item to add new tags and assign them to the photo. To specify additional metadata, press the Comment button on the main toolbar, and fill out the available fields.


gThumb allows you to group photos into so-called catalogs (you can think of them as virtual folders), and the Organize button lets you generate catalogs based on several criteria, such as dates and tags. You can also create custom catalogs and add photos to them manually. To create a new catalog, right-click on the Catalogs item in the navigation pane, choose the Create Catalog command, give the catalog a descriptive name and press Create. Add then photos to the catalog by right-clicking on them and choosing the catalog from the Add to Catalog menu.

gThumb features a handful of basic editing tools

The application also features a handful of basic editing tools. To access them, double-click on a photo, and press the Edit file button in the top-right corner of the editing interface. While gThumb won’t replace a dedicated image editing application, the available tools can come in handy for quickly tweaking basic settings like brightness, saturation, and contrast as well as adjusting white balance and fixing common problems.

The Share button on the main toolbar lets you upload photos to several popular photo sharing services, including Flickr, Picasaweb, and Photobucket.

These are just a few highlights, and gThumb offers a slew of other useful features which make it a competent tool for managing and tweaking photos (take a look at a list of gThumb’s features to get a better idea of its capabilities). So if you are looking for a fast, lean, and feature-rich image viewer, gThumb fits the bill rather nicely.

Tech writer covering Linux and open source software

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15 comments on “Manage Photos with gThumb
  1. I prefer digikam (Linux KDE), but soon I will change back to windows 7… any good image managing programs for windows?

    • Dmitri Popov says:

      You might want to try XnView or IrfanView. They are free, but not open source.

      • that was more than prompt. That was instantaneous. Thanks for the suggestion, I will look in to it once the machine is here.

      • Albin says:

        Irfanview (Windows) is good in that you can add BF8 Photoshop filters to it. However, its own editing tools are very crude. I much prefer Faststone image viewer for better basic editing. Has a very unique interface that takes some getting used to, but is pleasing and keeps everything ready to hand.

  2. Bobby says:

    I cannot find a source download link on the project pages – where can I get it?

  3. Bob says:

    It doesn’t open raw files. Most of us shoot in Raw format!.

  4. I am so glad to see you write this. gThumb is a very slept on piece of software. I am a big Gnome fan and recently I ditched Shotwell for gThumb. I use gThumb to import my pictures to a standardized directory structure and once imported to my hard drive, I use it as a file explorer to look through photos.

    I used to love Shotwell but it has been very buggy. Plus, I don’t understand the need to establish a “library”. I much prefer using gThumb’s technique of simple file viewing using the organized, date driven, directory structures.

    gThumb even looks more pleasing.

    gThumb should be default in all distros over Shotwell.

  5. Piscador says:

    gThumb is almost what I need. I like the layout and interface. I only need and use very basic editing functions, but the deal-killer for me is the lack of a crop function.

    I use Windows at work and I’ve long been a fan of xnview. It’s similar in operation to ACDSee, but faster and not so bloated.

    • Dmitri Popov says:

      gThumb does have the cropping tool. To access it, you need to switch to the editing mode. Select the image you want to modify, then click on the Edit file button (it looks like a palette) in the upper-right corner of gThumb’s window.

  6. castor says:

    gthumb has been around for more then 10 years and its great!

  7. Spanky says:

    Look, folks. Personal preference applies, and the real point is, we have plethora of choices. Yet back to the point, many misinformed are trying to prove Windows superior; because installation requires some minor things better chosen (not testing/beta/unstable stuff, on your main system, and not, really old computers), and there will be some minor tweaks needed after *any* install, to achieve anyone’s various personal preference. The thing about Windows being installed; at the store, is a big deal. Android, and Apache proves Windows is not better, it is more forced.

    I can only tell you what I see, as unbiased as I can, but for what I do. I have tried, practically every photo related program, on all platforms.

    Gthumb is outstanding for viewing (but EOG is great), and also for uploading to more, and varying sites. This also prepping (by settings), and before an upload can save time, but is less important, depending on how your preferred photo hosting site handles your photos. The large photo you send, the most difference this can make; if your photo is down-sampled on your computer first. If you finish your photo to about x1600 px, or less, it is not much of an issue, unless you are on dial-up. Also, gthumb has some very light editing, but I PREFER, Gimp; for almost everything. THe Gimp is one stop shopping *and* I use ufraw, for my Nikon *if* I need a photo to be developed from Raw. You see, all raw files includes an embedded, and already downsized JPEG(that you see on your camera), So, unless a certain camera requires JPEG, like for drive mode, I shoot only Raw, and later get both. Usually, if you exposed (and other specific camera settings) properly, then the embedded JPEG is good to go. But guess what? I *always* have the original, and as a Raw, containing every possible thing the camera could record.

    So now, ufraw (best) is a rarely needed process. The trick is setting up ufraw, as per explained on it’s simple to read web site, for your camera, including a loaded ufraw-color profile, for said camera model JUST ONE TIME. This is done; by setting the saved ufraw output (use *.PNG for your temporary working file) to save just this once. Do this every time you make a tweak, to *match* your ufraw loaded Raw, to the camera JPEG output. This way, quick light/color adjustments (by 16bit curves), can be done by eye, very quickly. That’s the whole reason you would want to develop Raw, unless your camera JPEG’s suck, It that case, you can actually match to another camera (thet you might not even own) JPEG; that your prefer! The point is, when you click on your Raw file, ufraw just develops it, in like 8 seconds. Therefore, if all you wanted is the full JPEG, you are done.

    Keep in mind, just pulling out the embedded JPEG, is faster than that, and requires not post setup. dcraw does this, and I just set it as my right click selectable (open with) task, and do entire batches, instantaneously (depending on have a decent computer). Use dcraw -e, one time, in your file manager, to set your right click, custom open as task. Remember, a regular left click, of your Raw (Like *.NEF; for one example) develops it into a (preset once) full JPEG match, from ufraw.

    Note: Some cameras will output a full JPEG, from it Raw(later), too. Another alternative. It’s camera dependent. Of course, if you really need local light level tweaks, this is usually better, by eye, and on computer(ufraw). Including free upgrades!

    You can also load/save/download/make ufraw color profiles, that you set just one time, for other camera models too. Optionally, you can *also* save different sets of sat curves too, to match instant “D-Lighting” (zone/local) levels, if you want to make them up. it might save more time. It’s not necessary, however. There’s also a base curve, for more global (not per photo) control, in batches. ufraw has a batch mode too. Yet, you really need to know, that using curves, instead of sliders (by eye, and on a calibrated monitor), not contrast, and “brightness”(black point) sliders, is better. Ufraw has an overall exposure slider, and 16-bit WB fixer, as needed. Graduate to using (local) curves(ufraw on only the pictures, that will benefit from it); like the pros, or just would use JPEG. ufraw is completely optional, in the first place.

    Raw is actually needed more so, on worse sensors.

    One does not adjust all, that ufraw can adjust; because you just want to change the 16-bit light levels, before taking your output as a *.PNG file, into Gimp (or other pixel pushing finisher of your choice). Do not worry about noise while in ufraw. Use wavelet denoise, in the Gimp, for example.

    You can also install a direct transfer, from ufraw to the Gimp; but a *.PNG temporary work file, that you can blow away later, might be a better option. Such as, tending to EXIF pass through, for example. It’s all; just what you want.

    So anyway, I choose ufraw; just occasionally, and Gimp, for everything needing editing; *because* I can do any type of photo improvement, this way. It covers more needs; by just these two programs (and Gimp plug-ins). It is standardized, one stop shopping, and without consumer lock-in. It’s multi-platform, too! In an ongoing future, I get the new features, as the become ready!

    You should know that numerous Gimp plug-ins, and scripts, let you do extremely complex, and the most advanced stuff, and it can be just by ONE CLICK away! You do not have to do everything, from scratch, in the highly flexible Gimp. It is pretty much what you want it to be, and how you want to use it. Keep in mind, I previously used Lightroom. In my opinion, ufraw, and Gimp, is far better. It’s a different workflow, and that’s better, faster, and with no Lr catalog hell!. All the other functions, that they keep laying-on to closed-up, closed-minded tiers, only lock you in. Other open apps *are* available; through many easy to use, and “open” programs, that are numerous.

    If you want photo extremely, extensive photo management (because you do not have a folder scheme), then take a look at Digikam (also does Raw BTW), and you can do all that fancy organizing stuff, like face recognition, and fancy sorting, etc, with DIgikam. I still go back to Gimp/ufraw, for photo enhancement, and of all (numerous) tasks, and needs. All manner of “treatments”, and you can match *any* look. Spot healing tools, gradients, cross processing effects; you name it.

  8. Gthumb is very good photo manager but now it cannot export to facebook.

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