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How do you select a rectangle fill color in GIMP?

Selecting the fill color for a rectangle shape is a basic operation in GIMP that allows you to customize the appearance of your images. With just a few clicks, you can change the interior color of any rectangle to create interesting designs or call attention to certain elements in your work.

Step 1: Create a New Rectangle

First, make sure the Rectangle Select Tool is active in your Toolbox. This looks like a dashed rectangle icon. Click on your image where you want the top left corner of your rectangle shape to begin, then drag down and to the right while holding the mouse button to draw your rectangle to the desired size.

When you release the mouse, you will have an empty selection marching around the rectangle shape you just created. The selection will be denoted by animated dashed lines.

Step 2: Select the Fill Tool

Now we want to activate the Fill Tool which looks like a paint bucket icon in the Toolbox. Click on the Fill Tool.

Step 3: Choose a Fill Color

In the Tool Options dock on the left side of the screen, you’ll see the fill option with a color swatch next to it. Click on the color swatch to open the Color Picker. Here you can choose any color you want for the rectangle interior.

You can pick a color from the presets, or use the color spectrum slider to choose a custom color. Click OK when you’ve found the desired shade.

Step 4: Fill the Selection

With the color selected, simply click anywhere inside the rectangular selection on your image. This will instantly fill that shape with the chosen color.

If you want to try a different shade, just repeat Steps 2 and 3 to pick a new color, then click inside the rectangle again to update the fill.

Tips for Filling Rectangles

Here are some helpful tips for working with rectangle fills in GIMP:

  • Make sure a selection is active before using the Fill Tool or it will fill the entire layer.
  • Lower the Opacity percentage for semi-transparent fills.
  • Use the Bucket Fill option to preserve transparency around the edges.
  • Add a Stroke to outline the rectangle.
  • Right click inside the selection and use the Context menu to quickly access filling options.

Using Rectangles Creatively

Filled rectangles can be used in many creative ways in your GIMP projects:

  • Add solid blocks of color to thumbnail backgrounds.
  • Highlight or conceal parts of an image.
  • Simulate ribbons, banners and other shapes.
  • Build patterns by repeating rectangles.
  • Create color gradients using stacked rectangles.
  • Indicate sections or boundaries within a design.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fill colors and rectangle sizes to add visual interest to your work in GIMP!

Other Shape Tools

In addition to the Rectangle Select Tool, GIMP also includes other shape tools that work similarly for creating custom fillable shapes:

Tool Icon Description
Ellipse Select Oval icon Makes oval shapes
Rounded Rectangle Rounded rectangle icon Makes rectangles with rounded corners
Fuzzy Select Fuzzy wand icon Selects regions of similar color

These tools work just like the Rectangle Select for creating a selection area and filling it with color. Test them out to add more shape variety to your projects!


Selecting and filling a rectangle shape is one of the most basic operations in GIMP, but it provides a versatile tool for adding color, emphasizing elements, and creating geometric patterns in your work. With the fill color options and different shape tools available, you have numerous possibilities for experimenting with filled shapes in GIMP.

Start with the simple rectangle fill steps outlined here, then explore options like opacity, gradients, and layer styles to take your shape-filling skills to the next level. Filled rectangles and shapes are building blocks that can make for some truly amazing and artistic GIMP creations.