December 11, 2021

How to create a GIMP .gpl palette from Adobe .ase

In this article, I will show you two (2) methods to import an Adobe palette into GIMP. The first method is manual and, while it requires a bit more work, provides you with a lot of flexibility. The second method is a simple import/export process executed through sK1 -- a free and open-source, multi-platform drawing tool. The following recipes assume that you have an Adobe palette file (.ase) and you want to convert it to a format usable in GIMP.

Recreating the palette manually

To get started:

  1. Visit aseconvert.
  2. Import the palette (.ase) in the tool. This will result in a visual grid containing all the colors present in the original Adobe palette.
  3. Capture the result with a screen-grabbing tool.
  4. Open the captured image with GIMP.


  1. Open the palette panel.
  2. Click the Create a new palette icon at the bottom of the panel. This will open a palette editor dialog. It will start empty.
  3. Click the foreground color on the main dialog. This will open the Change foreground color dialog.
    1. Use the color picker in the above dialog to select the first color of the palette displayed on the screen.
    2. In the palette editor dialog, click the Create a new entry from the foreground color icon. This creates a matching color element of the target GIMP palette.
    3. Repeat the last two steps until all colors of the source (.ase) are in the new GIMP palette.
  4. Click the Cancel button on the foreground color chooser dialog to close it without changing the active foreground color.
  5. Give the new GIMP palette a name.

You are done: the new palette is now available from the Palettes dialog.

Converting the palette automatically using sK1

  1. Install and/or open an instance of sK1.
  2. Go to Edit > Preferences.
  3. Click the Palettes vertical tab.
  4. Click the Palette management horizontal sub-tab.
  5. Click the Import button and select the .ase file you want to convert.
  6. Click the Export button while on the new imported palette
  7. From the dropdown selection field on the bottom right, choose GPL - GIMP palette file as an output format.
  8. Rename the palette file and provide it with the proper extension (.gpl).
  9. Hit Save.

You are done; the new palette file is ready to be added to your GIMP collection.

Bonus: a command-line solution

You can install and use Uniconvertor to convert color palettes directly from the command line. In my experience, the tool is multi-platform (Mac, Windows, and Linux), supports multiple file formats, and works as expected.



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