Quick Image Editing With Gwenview

When you think of editing images and other digital graphics on Linux, your first thought may be of GIMP, which is an excellent all-around graphics program. But when it comes to doing quick image editing for my posts here at Make Tech Easier, my tool of choice is Gwenview, the default KDE image viewer. That’s right; it’s primarily a viewer but has some convenient editing functions. The following is a tutorial for using these functions.


Firstly, if you’re not using Kubuntu, you can install Gwenview from the Software Centre, or with the following command:

sudo apt-get install gwenview

It will then appear in the “Graphics” application sub-menu. You can also search for it from the Dash.



I use Gwenview in order to prepare screenshots for posting here on MTE, and I’m able to do each one in about fifteen seconds. I use the keyboard shortcuts whenever possible. For each screenshot, I usually have to crop out unnecessary parts of the image and reduce the width to an appropriate size.

Find an image you’d like to edit in your file manager of choice, and use the “Open with…” option to view it in Gwenview. Before we get to the quick image editing, take note of the left and right arrows in the toolbar. You can use these to cycle through all the image files in the same directory as the file you selected to open (you can also use the Space key to go forward and the Backspace key to go backward through the images). I’ll typically take all the screenshots as I’m preparing an article, but cycle through and adjust them all at the end right before uploading.


The first step is to crop the image. A “Shift + C” keypress displays the crop guidelines shown below. Grab each one as appropriate and place it to outline the area you’d like the crop to.


An “Alt + C” keypress will actually crop the image.

To resize “Shift + R” is the key combo you want to display the resize dialog. The width field is highlighted by default. enter the appropriate width and height as needed.


Once the cropping and/or resizing is done, a “Ctrl + S” will save over the original image, or “Alt + F, A” combo will allow you to “Save As.”

Alternate Tools

While Gwenview’s key combinations make it really quick and easy to do some simple image manipulation (rotating, flipping, and red-eye reduction are also available features), there are some things it can’t do. Fortunately, it does contain some links to other applications, available in the “File -> Open With…” sub-menu.

  • Gwenview can’t draw anything on the screen, such as annotations or call-outs. Use Kolourpaint for this – the combo “Alt + F, W, K” will open the current image in this application.
  • You also won’t be able to do anything involving layers, but you can open the currently-viewed image in Krita with “Alt + F, W, R” for more sophisticated editing.
  • If you’re preparing graphics for the web and want to see how they’ll display in various browsers, you can get to them from the same “File -> Open With…” menu (my Kubuntu install shows Firefox, “Alt + F, W, F”, and Internet Explorer, “Alt + F, W, W” as options; you can select others with the “File -> Open With… -> Other Application…” dialog.


Gwenview is a very light and quick image viewer, but some of the rudimentary editing functions allow you to do some quick image editing on a whole folder of images. By the way, I used Gwenview to prepare (crop and resize) the six graphics above in this article – the process took me one minute and twenty-seven seconds.

Image credit: By Torax (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

Aaron Peters

Aaron is an interactive business analyst, information architect, and project manager who has been using Linux since the days of Caldera. A KDE and Android fanboy, he'll sit down and install anything at any time, just to see if he can make it work. He has a special interest in integration of Linux desktops with other systems, such as Android, small business applications and webapps, and even paper.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox