Skip to content

Toolbar Colors

Xournal++ has basic support for changing the color palette used for the pen and highlighter tools via a configuration file. GUI support for palette customization will be implemented in the future.

Two methods for palette customization are currently available, as explained below.

Toolbar Color Tool Customization

In this method, the color palette is set up by manually editing the Color Tools in in your toolbar configuration.

  1. In Xournal++, make sure you are using a custom toolbar configuration. If you aren't, you can create a new toolbar configuration using the menu item View > Toolbars > Manage.
  2. Using a text editor, open the toolbar.ini file contained in the Xournal++ config folder. See File locations for the location of this folder on your operating system.
  3. Find the section corresponding to your toolbar configuration, e.g. [My Toolbar].
  4. Each line under this section header defines the tools used in each toolbar. Find the COLOR(0x??????) items on each line. The six question marks correspond to a color in RGB hexadecimal format. Replace these hexadecimal numbers with your desired colors. To find the right numbers, you can use an online hex RGB color picker tool such as this one.

Toolbar Palette Files

In this method, the color palette is set up by editing a GIMP color palette file.

The palette will be loaded from a file named palette.gpl contained in the config folder. On the first run, Xournal++ will create this file for you with the default color palette. Thus, the easiest way to get started is to adjust this default file.

  1. Edit the palette.gpl file located in the config folder.
  2. Restart Xournal++

.gpl File Format


The .gpl file format is not authoritatively defined anywhere, so the file format described below may be specific to Xournal++. However, Xournal++ tries to be compatible with .gpl files used with other software such as GIMP. If you find a .gpl file that works in other software but does not work with Xournal++, please file a bug report.

As an example, the default color palette of Xournal++ is shown below.

GIMP Palette
Name: Xournal Default Palette
0 0 0 Black
0 128 0 Green
0 192 255 Light Blue
0 255 0 Light Green
51 51 204 Blue
128 128 128 Gray
255 0 0 Red
255 0 255 Magenta
255 128 0 Orange
255 255 0 Yellow
255 255 255 White

If no existing palette.gpl is found, palette.gpl will be created with the above contents.

The palette file consists of several parts:

  1. Header: every palette file must begin with the line GIMP Palette, otherwise the file will not be a valid .gpl file.
  2. A list of attributes of the form Key: Value, one per line. These attributes are metadata that describe the palette.
  3. Lines beginning with # are comments, which are ignored by the file parser. The comment used above is to distinguish the attributes from the colors of the palette.
  4. The colors of the palette, one per line, in the format RRR GGG BBB Name. The RRR, GGG, and BBB correspond to the RGB format of the color, specified as base-10 integers in the range 0-255. To find the right numbers, you can use an online RGB color picker tool such as this one.


It's recommended to have at least 11 colors in a palette, as the default toolbar has 11 Color Items. If your palette has fewer colors, a warning will be displayed in the console, and the extra Color Items will cycle through the palette.

If Xournal++ cannot parse the palette file (i.e., the palette file is invalid), it will load the default palette. If this happens, there are two ways to get your palette file to load.

Option 1: Debugging: run xournalpp from the command line and check for an error message explaining why the palette file is invalid. Then, fix your palette.gpl file, restart Xournal++, and check if the palette loaded correctly. If not, repeat this debugging step.

Option 2: Fresh Start: delete palette.gpl, restart Xournal++ to create a new default palette.gpl file, and edit again.

Palette Resources/Tips

Creating your own palette

  • Find RGB values to use in palettes with the MDN color picker
  • Use a palette editor such as Gpick to create a .gpl file

Reusing existing palettes

  • "The Lospec Palette List is a database of palettes for pixel art" (directly quoted from their website). Palettes can be exported to .gpl format.
  • You can reuse .gpl files from other software compatible with .gpl palettes, such as Krita, Inkscape, or GIMP. For example, Linux users may be able to find existing palettes in locations such as /usr/share/gimp/2.0/palettes or /usr/share/krita/palettes.