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Windows XP , GIMP and help not working

I downloaded 2.6.4 from the windows site and loaded it. All went well and it works. I then downloaded the english only help file 2.4.0. That was all that was available from

The install of the help appeared to go well. Even when in gimp and edit, preferences, help system- it says "there's a local installation of the user manual". I have selected use locally installed copy, show tool tips, show help button.

When I click on help the hour glass shows for a few seconds, but never do get a help screen. Tool tips don't show on starting of gimp, but do show if I use pull down under help.

Gimp seems to know help is there, but appears it can't make use of it. Could it be that help 2.4.0 won't work with 2.4.6?

I can always go on internet for help. BTW context help will show the ? but when I click on a tool I get the hour glass then nothing.


Seems be a bug of the windows version that strike randomly. I resort to use the online help, and to be able to have help at hands even when offline i use Firefox You should create a link for the " index.html" file Is ,if the Help was installed, in Gimp/share/help in a subfolder corresponding to your language i.e if you are english search "index.html" in gimp/share/help/en/ italian? then "it" instead then "en", "de" for German and so on then add a link to that file on the desktop This do not solve for the context help, that remain not available. But allow to open with a click the help index and from there search or open a any possible page of the gimp help

Thank You, I did as you suggested and created a shortcut to the index.html file in C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\help\en. I knew I could get help via the internet (I also use Firefox). However this will be better. Again thanks for the help. Jerry

I had the same problem with it not recognizing that I'd installed the help files. I really want to cut bandwidth by working offline so...

I ran a autoinstallation of an older version of the help files from here:

When I did, help worked, using browser but offline. Of course, the info wasn't new.

I deleted all the help files, installed the new ones. looked at the folder that it's supposed to be installed to which is $prefix/share/gimp/2.0/help according to the install notes. I then reinstalled the old help files and watched what changed in that folder. I noticed that at the help root it created an EN folder. This folder exists but it's within a folder named html in the new installation package. So I copied everything from the new version of the EN folder from inside the html folder into the en folder at the root of the help folder, told it to overwrite everything, and BAM! It works.

So the help files including firefox pages and images folder ended up here: B:\Program Files (x86)\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\help\en

(I had obviously installed my version of Gimp in the B\Program Files (X86) folder, your prefix address will be different.)

Thanks for the tip. It worked also in my case (Windows 7 64 bit professional). The correct folder where to put all numerous html files and "images" folder is:
C:\Program Files (x86)\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\help\en

This should be mentioned more accurately in the install file in help package.

... and why don't you use the current help installers and configure it to use the web browser to access the local files?

This works as expected on any system I've tried.

"The GIMP help browser is not available. The GIMP help browser plug-in appears to be missing from your installation. You may instead use the web browser for reading the help pages." My experience is very similar to diverjr's. The error I receive is pasted above. I will attempt to craft the work around offered by PhotoComiX. I guess this will just be an FYI to GIMP for now. L

First you may try to see if the other option the "web browser" works for you. Will be better, in that case the Context help will work But if also that fails i fear you have no better options that my workaround

The local English help not working problem still remains in Windows XP SP3 & GIMP 2.6.8.
I installed GIMP 2.6.8 - no problem, works fine.
I installed English help - no problem installing.
Click main menu Help then click drop menu Help - see message that help plugin not available.
Choose Web browser version - see hour glass cursor for several seconds the cursor reverts to normal but nothing else happens. Web browser does not open or if already open does not open help.
Click Edit, Preferences.
Click Help System.
See "There's a local installation of the user manual." So GIMP 2.6.8 knows English help is installed.
Change User manual from "Use a locally installed copy" to "Use the online version".
Click OK.
Click main menu Help then click drop menu Help.
Web browser opens and displays help Table of Contents correctly.
GIMP 2.6.8 obviously works fine with the online help.
Soooooooo there must be a problem with GIMP 2.6.8 knowing exactly where the English help files are installed.
Can someone tell me where in the GIMP files the preferences are stored so I can see if the location of the English help files is correct and hopefully can correct it. For now the online help works fine as long as I am connected to the web.
Thanks in advance. Jackson Jarvis

When using a particular tool, press F1 on the keyboard. Make sure it's working, then.

As for help file locations on my local machine, I created a "help" folder in C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\ and manually extracted the help file from, there. It's recognized as being on my machine and working. However, on my laptop, when I downloaded the help files from, the file was self-extracting/executing and I didn't need to do anything but click the file. I couldn't find its specific extraction location after I installed it, but its showing as being installed in Edit - Preferences - Help. I could investigate a little more by searching the index of my entire C:\ drive, which is my recommendation to you. Search for the file "gimp-help.html" on your entire hard drive and you will find its location. 

One other thing: you say that you changed User manual from "Use a locally installed copy" to "Use the online version", but never stated if it was working or not. Because if Edit - Preferences was showing that the local copy of help was installed, then it should be working. Since you changed it to use the online version, that is what will happen when you aren't online, simply because you changed those preferences. You can't use both at the same time. Which is why many users prefer to use the local copy of help.


I just installed GIMP 2.6.10, along with the English help on Windows XP SP3.
Edit -> Preferences -> Help System shows there is a local installation of the user manual, and the options to 'Use the locally installed copy' and use a 'Web browser' are selected.
When pressing F1, the egg timer displays for a few seconds, then disappears. No help is displayed at all.
C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\share\gimp\2.0\help\en exists and appears to be correctly populated.
If I change the preferences to 'Use the online version', pressing F1 results in the following errror message after about 90 seconds:

Parse error in '':
GET request failed: WinHttp error: CANNOT_CONNECT

Please can anyone help??

There is definitely something wrong with Gimp's Help Browser for the Windows version. It simply does not work. In fact, Gimp reports it as "Help Browser plug-in is missing". However, I have searched the plug-in repository and there is no such thing as a Help Browser plug-in (not to be confused with the Plug-in Browser, which is a different animal entirely!).
So it must be that this Browser plug-in is of a very special type and integral to the Gimp for Windows Help installable, but is either missing, non-functioning or in the wrong folder.
On my installation, changing the Edit->Preferences->Help to the "use a locally installed copy" (of the help manual) option together with the "Web browser" option works perfectly with Firefox EXCEPT that shift+F1 does nothing! So the only way to get contextual help is to use the main menu route Help->Context Help. When you do this, you correctly get the question mark next to the mouse pointer and when you then click on (for example) the scissors tool, the appropriate help page pops up in Firefox, and the URL shows that the local copy is used.
So although not perfect, its certainly good enough for now.

In Gimp 2.6.11 file is missing - helpbrowser.exe (in the directory plug-ins) - you can use with 2.4.7 and it works (also with 2.7.3 after addition file yet libgtkhtml-2-0.dll in the bin directory).
Files can be downloaded from

this is a good tip thank for the pointer

If shift+F1 doesn't work you may assign another key to that function
(maybe some other apps lock that key ,if that change key should solve ) i don't feel to search for the page in the Gimp Help were is explained
everything about key, i let to you search in the index the right page

EDIT see also MareQ message below

I've downloaded the en_GB help files for Gimp 2.8, however, The Gimp refused to use them even though they had been installed into the correct folder. After reading the comments above I decided to rename en_GB to just en and, voila, it worked, but not properly.

F1 and Shift-F1 both work OK, however, the internal GIMP Help Browser's got a problem - it always displays "Error opening file: Invalid argument". Using Firefox instead seems to work correctly, though.

Somebody got an idea?

I also renamed the en_GB file to just 'en'

C:\Program Files\GIMP 2\share\gimp\2.0\help\en

F1 and built in help menu now working. Thanks

Renaming en_GB to en works perfectly for Gimp 2.8.4. Gimp 2.8.4 browser works as well as External browser(Firefox for me) thank you to the genius who informed us of this quick fix

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