It can be annoying how the GIMP image editor‘s image and toolbox windows are separate, if all of them are hidden behind another window you have to bring not only the image to the front but also the toolboxes. This could work much more productively, why not show all the toolboxes whenever a image is in the foreground?

GIMP has a preference that will do just that. In the main GIMP window, click File->Preferences. In the preferences dialog, select Window Management from the list. Under the heading Window Manager Hints, change the two drop down boxes to Utility window.

GIMP window management

You’ll need to restart GIMP to make the changes take effect. You’ll notice that the window decoration has changed on the toolboxes. They’ll now no longer appear in the window list, and will stay on top whenever an image window has focus.

Unfortunately, if you’re using Compiz desktop effects this will not have any effect. While GNOME’s Metacity window manager recognizes that GIMP’s windows should be treated differently, Compiz does not. This doesn’t mean Compiz users are out of luck entirely.

Another option is to use another workspace for GIMP, and optionally change the toolboxes to always stay on top. You can do this by right clicking on a window’s title bar and selecting Always on Top. If you’d perfer not to be setting this all the time for GIMP, you can select the Keep above in those two drop down boxes.

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