Krita is a raster graphics creation application that also can handle some image manipulation and editing. It is often compared to GIMP, but it is focused more on graphic design rather than photo editing.

What are raster graphics

Raster graphics (aka bitmap) are composed of pixels, and they lose quality when their size and resolution are changed. They are commonly used in Websites and apps. Digital images are also considered to be raster graphics because they are composed of pixels.

Krita’s user interface

There are four regions surrounding the canvas:

There are 11 menus (12 for Mac) in Krita. They contain all the features, functions, and links to dialogs for Krita.

Krita (Mac only):

This is a basic menu for any Mac application that has a link to launch the About dialog for the application. It also contains the link to the Preferences dialog that is found in the Help menu of Krita running on other operating systems.


This is the menu users go to to save a document, open a document, or export it.


The menu has cut, copy, and paste. It also has items for filling and clearing paint strokes and design steps.


This allows users to show and hide the different assistance features. Users can view the application in full screen or see the canvas without seeing the toolbars, menus, and dockers. It also has settings for snapping objects and showing or hiding rules and guides.


As the name implies, this menu has items for editing and manipulating images. This includes adjusting background color and transparency and rotating the image. There are also items for making changes to the canvas.


Complex graphic design documents are often composed of several layers. This menu has items for adding layers and modifying ones that already exist. There are also items for combining layers.


The menu has various items for selecting or deselecting objects on the canvas or the entire canvas itself. The items include Select All, Edit Selection, and Scale (the selection).


The main items in this menu are sub-menus of various filters, such as Artistic and Blur. There are also items for applying the filters again.


The only item in this menu is a Script sub-menu. There are eight tool items. Each one will launch a different dialog. The items include Color Space, Scripter, and Ten Brushes.


This menu has items for toolbars and dockers. Users can configure toolbars. Show and hide different dockers, which are panes with different controls, settings, and items in them. It also allows for themes to be changed and for the application language to be changed.


Users can launch a new window from this menu. They can select from a variety of workspaces, switch between open Krita documents, and launch a new window.


Access the Krita handbook and report an application bug through this menu. There are also about links in this menu. For those using Windows or a Linux distro, there are About KDE and About Krita links. Mac users will find the About Krita link in the Krita menu. However, they have a search field for menu items that users of other operating systems don’t have.

Top toolbar

The top-level toolbar, located just below the menu, contains several different icons for different functions. Users can save their documents, create a new one, and they also have opacity settings and settings for brushes and colors.

Some of the items are:

  • New
  • Save
  • Gradients
  • Blending Mode
  • Opacity


There are several dockers that can be used, a few of them appear by default. They are Toolbox, which is on the left side of the canvas by default, and the following that appear on the right side:

  • Advanced Color Selector
  • Brush Preset History
  • Brush Presets
  • Channels
  • Layers
  • Overview
  • Snapshot Docker
  • Tool Options
  • Toolbox

The other dockers can be made visible through the Settings menu. All the Dockers are in the Dockers sub-menu.

By default, most of them appear on the right side of the canvas. However, many of them can be detached from their position and moved anywhere on the screen.

Users also can hide the dockers and focus on the canvas, menus, and top-toolbar by clicking Show dockers to toggle between showing and hiding them.

Status bar

The Status bar gives basic information about the object, tool, and layer that is selected. It is located below the canvas.

Operating systems

Krita is available on nearly everything. It even has a version on the Google Play store for Chromebooks and Android devices. Sorry iPhone and iPad users, the word nearly does not yet include you.

Desktop operating systems:

Most graphic designers will use Krita on a laptop or desktop. The current version of the application is available for Windows, Mac OS, and most Linux distros. Older versions and nightly builds, called Krita Next, are also available to these operating systems.


Krita is available in a portable version, as well as the traditional version that is installed. Both 32-bit and 64-bit system users can choose between the two versions. The portable version can be placed on an external drive and taken from computer to computer to use.

There also is a shell extension that can be installed separately, though it is included with the installed versions. It allows KRA thumbnails to appear in your file browser.

Mac OS:

Mac users can install the latest version on their Intel-based machines, or they can install a nightly build. Krita Plus versions, nightly updates that only contain bug fixes, are only available for Windows and Linux distros.

Linux distros:

Krita is available in the PPA, or software manager, for most Linux distros. It is available to operating systems designed to work on Intel/AMD chips and ARM chips, so it will work on Raspberry Pi.

A 64-bit AppImage version can be downloaded from the Krita Website. There also is a Flatpak version that can be installed by using the following command in a Terminal application:

flatpak install flathub org.kde.krita