GIMP is one of the most popular Photoshop alternatives. It’s open-source, lightweight and offers a lot of useful features. However, not all of them are available by default. To use GIMP to its full extent, you need to install gimp plugins. Today, I am going to talk about GIMP DDS plugin and will also explain the procedure to download and install it.

There are varieties of GIMP plugins available for different purposes. But exploring and installing them is not everyone’s cup of tea. This is because many of them are outdated and doesn’t work as expected. So, first, let’s understand what is GIMP DDS plugin.

What is GIMP DDS Plugin?

The GIMP DDS Plugin is an extension or add-on for the software called GIMP. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program and is a popular open-source image editing software. The DDS allows users to work with DDS files in GIMP.

DDS (DirectDraw Surface) is a file format commonly used for textures in computer graphics and game development. It is used to store 2D and 3D textures, including images with transparency and different levels of detail.

With the GIMP DDS Plugin, you can open, edit, and save DDS files directly within GIMP. It means you can modify textures used in games or other graphical applications without converting the files to a different format. The plugin provides tools and features specific to DDS files, making it easier for users to work with this type of texture format in GIMP.

Features of GIMP DDS Plugin

The GIMP DDS Plugin offers several useful for working with DDS files in GIMP. Presented below are a selection of its important features: 

1. DDS File Format Support: The plugin allows GIMP to recognize DDS files, without the need for external conversion tools.

2. Compression Options: GIMP DDS plugin provides various compression options specific to DDS files. You can choose different compression algorithms and settings to optimize the size and quality of the textures.

3. Mipmap Generation: Mipmaps are pre-calculated smaller versions of a texture used to improve rendering performance. This helps users to generate mipmaps for DDS files within GIMP.

4. Layer Support: You can work with multiple layers within a DDS file, and edit different components or elements of the texture individually.

How to Install GIMP DDS Plugin

After the removal of the GIMP Registry, finding a good and working plugin became a tedious task. There are various GIMP plugins which were very popular at a time but now being discontinued and not receiving any updates. But no worries, we have got you covered.

GIMP doesn’t support DDS file format by default. To work with Direct Draw Surface (DDS) files, you have to install a GIMP DDS plugin first. Just follow the steps below to learn how to download and install GIMP DDS plugin.

Note: I have tested this plugin on GIMP 2.8, it was working fine. But it may cause some issues with other versions.

1. Download the GIMP DDS Plugin

Just follow this link to download the required DDS plugin. The plugin hasn’t been updated after 2013 but works fine in most of the cases. Just choose the version according to your operating system (32 bit or 64 bit) and save the file.

gimp dds plugin downloads

2. Go to GIMP Plugin Folder

First of all, open This PC or My Computer (if you are running an older version of Windows). Navigate to Local Disk C -> Program Files (x86) -> GIMP 2.0 -> lib -> gimp -> 2.0 -> plug-ins.

Just verify one more time that you are in the right folder before moving to the next step.

3. Move the Downloaded File to GIMP Plug-ins Folder

Now, go the folder where you’ve downloaded the GIMP DDS plugin in the first step, unzip it and copy the dds.exe file to the GIMP plug-ins folder.

Once it’s done, you should be able to open DDS files on GIMP. If for some reason, it didn’t work. Just use the installer came with the file and follow the instructions.

How to Save Image in DDS Format?

1. Open or Create Image

First of all, use the Open or New option in the file menu to create a new image in GIMP. Also, specify the image properties and click OK to create a blank image.

2. Do Your Customizations

Then, you can use various tools and filters to draw or edit your image. Saving an image using GIMP DDS plugin is straight-forward. But if you are working with multi-layer images, you may run into issues.

So, in order to avoid any issue, combine all the layers into one. You can merge layers using Flatten Image tool available under Image menu, Merge Visible Layers tool from the layers menu or by simply deleting all layers except the final one.

3. Save Your Image

Once changes are done, go to File menu and choose Export As. Add ‘.dds’ to your file name and save it in DDS format. Alternatively, you can expand the Select File Type present at the bottom of the Export As popup and choose the DDS file type. Lastly, just verify and click on OK.

Recommended: How to Resize an Image in GIMP and How to Use Clone Tool in GIMP

Unlocking DDS Images: Using GIMP DDS Plugin

That’s it for this article. I hope you have installed the GIMP DDS plugin successfully. If you use GIMP very often, just keep a copy of useful plugins before they disappear from the Internet. If you compare Photoshop vs GIMP, you’ll find GIMP is not as user-friendly as Photoshop, but it’s free and does most of the essentials tasks without any issue, so there’s no point in complaining.


  1. This just simply doesn’t work anymore as the DDS plugin that’s downloaded from the Google Code Archive was last updated in 2013. GIMP is a great, but there’s no support for the DDS plugin as of 12/2021.


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