API References

GIMP comes with libraries which can be used by plug-in developers to enhance their usage of the software. This page lists documentations for the Application Programming Interfaces (API) of these libraries:

Additionnally you may want to use some of the following interfaces:

Offline API references


If you don’t want to read the API documentation online, you may also download the source tarballs from our download server. They contains pre-generated API documentation in HTML format in devel-docs/libgimp*/html/ folders.

On distribution, the API reference HTML may also be provided with the development package or as separate packages. For instance, on Debian, the package libgimp2.0-doc would usually be the one containing these files.

For GIMP 3.0, the pre-generated documentation will be in a dedicated tarball.


If you wish to generate them, as part of your development process, here is the procedure, as part of the rest of the building procedure:

GIMP 2.10

  1. Configure with --enable-gtk-doc and --enable-gtk-doc-app:
configure --prefix=$GIMP_PREFIX --enable-gtk-doc  --enable-gtk-doc-app

If you got the sources directly from the git repository rather than a tarball, use autogen.sh instead of configure.

The parameters have the following meaning:

use gtk-doc to build documentation
build developer documentation for app (not only the libgimp* libraries).

To find out more parameters, run configure --help GIMP_PREFIX is a variable for the directory you will install GIMP in, as explained in the Building GIMP page.

  1. Build GIMP normall:
make install
  1. Find the generated documentation:
cd $GIMP_PREFIX/share/gtk-doc/html
  1. From the desired subdirectory open the file index.html for an overview of that module.

GIMP 2.99

Meson build system

Similarly the meson build provides the option -Dgi-docgen=enabled to make sure the documentation built by gi-docgen are enabled. These are the main documentation for the libgimp and libgimpui APIs.

We also have a -Dg-ir-doc=true option which will build language specific API with yelp and g-ir-doc-tool, for some of the languages supported by GObject Introspection. We are still pondering whether these documentation really bring much, over using the main API references and some per-language tutorial explaining how to port each calls to specific bindings.

Manual g-ir-doc generation

This is what -Dg-ir-doc=true does internally. You might want to reproduce these steps for another language binding, to generate and browse libgimp API docs, for a language binding, from your local GI repository:

This assumes you are a builder, have installed tools for GObject Introspection such as g-ir-doc-tool, have installed the GNOME help tool yelp, and that when you built or installed GIMP, it created the .gir files.

  1. Run:
g-ir-doc-tool --language=Python -o ~/gimp-python-docs /usr/local/share/gir-1.0/Gimp-3.0.gir

The parameters have the following meaning:

generate docs for Python programmers (try C, Lua, JS, … ?)
-o <path>
where to store the output document (in .xml format)
the .gir xml file to generate docs from (try Gegl-1.0, Babl-1.0, …)
  1. Run:
yelp ~/gimp-python-docs