Tux Paint
version 0.9.21

Options Documentation

Copyright 2002-2009 by Bill Kendrick and others
New Breed Software


May 31, 2009

Tux Paint Config.

As of Tux Paint version 0.9.14, a graphical tool is available that allows you to change Tux Paint's behavior. However, if you'd rather not install and use this tool, or want a better understanding of the available options, please continue reading.

Configuration File

You can create a simple configuration file for Tux Paint, which it will read each time you start it up.

The file is simply a plain text file containing the options you want enabled:

Linux and Unix Users

The file you should create is called ".tuxpaintrc" and it should be placed in your home directory. (a.k.a. "~/.tuxpaintrc" or "$HOME/.tuxpaintrc")

System-Wide Configuration File

Before this file is read, a system-wide configuration file is read. (By default, this configuration has no settings enabled.) It is located at:


You can disable reading of this file altogether, leaving the settings as defaults (which can then be overridden by your ".tuxpaintrc" file and/or command-line arguments) by using the command-line option:


Mac OS X Users

The file you should create is called "tuxpaint.cfg" and it should be placed in your home folder, under the sub-folder: Library/Application Support/TuxPaint

System-Wide Configuration File

Before this file is read, a system-wide configuration file is read. (By default, this configuration has no settings enabled.) It is located at:

/Library/Application Support/TuxPaint/tuxpaint.cfg

Windows Users

The file you should create is called "tuxpaint.cfg" and it should be placed in Tux Paint's folder.

You can use NotePad or WordPad to create this file. Be sure to save it as Plain Text, and make sure the filename doesn't have ".txt" at the end...

Available Options

The following settings can be set in the configuration file. (Command-line settings will override these. See the "Command-Line Options" section, below.)

Run the program in full screen mode, rather than in a window.
Run the program in full screen mode. Additionally, assume the screen's current resolution (set by the operating system).

Run the program at a different size (in windowed mode) or at a different screen resolution (in fullscreen mode), rather than the default (usually 800x600).

The SIZE value should be presented in pixels, in 'width-by-height' format, with an "x" (lowercase X) between the values. The size can be anything that's at least 640 wide, and at least 480 tall.

Some examples:

  • 640x480
  • 1024x768
  • 768x1024
  • 1600x1200


Swaps the width/height options given to Tux Paint, useful for rotating the window on portait displays, such as a tablet PC that's in tablet orientation.


When running Tux Paint in fullscreen mode, this assumes the screen's current resolution (overriding any "windowsize" option), as set by the operating system.


By default, Tux Paint prevents your system's screensaver from starting up. You can override this by using the "allowscreensaver" option. Note: This requires version 1.2.12 or higher of the SDL library. (You can also do this by setting the "SDL_VIDEO_ALLOW_SCREENSAVER" environment variable on your system to "1".)

Disable sound effects. (Note: Pressing [Alt] + [S] cannot be used to reenable sounds if they were disabled using this option.)

Disable the on-screen "Quit" button and prevent the [Escape] key from quitting Tux Paint.

Using the [Alt] + [F4] keyboard combination or clicking the window's close button (assuming you're not in fullscreen mode) still works to quit Tux Paint.

You can also use the following keyboard combination to quit: [Shift] + [Control] + [Escape].

Disable the printing feature.
Restrict printing so that printing can occur only once every SECONDS seconds.

(Linux and Unix only)

Use the command COMMAND to print a PostScript format file when the 'Print' button is clicked. If this option is not specifically not set, the default command is:


Note: Versions of Tux Paint prior to 0.9.15 sent PNG format data to the print command (which defaulted to "pngtopnm | pnmtops | lpr").

If you set an alternative printcommand in the configuration file prior to version 0.9.15, you will need to change it.


(Linux and Unix only)

Use the command COMMAND to print a PostScript format file when the 'Print' button is clicked while the [Alt] modifier key is being held. (This is typically used for providing a print dialog, similar to when pressing [Alt]+'Print' in Windows and Mac OS X.)

If this option is not specifically not set, the default command is KDE's graphical print dialog:


(Windows and Mac OS X only)

Tux Paint will use a printer configuration file when printing. Push the [Alt] key while clicking the 'Print' button in Tux Paint to cause a Windows print dialog window to appear.

(Note: This only works when not running Tux Paint in fullscreen mode.) Any configuration changes made in this dialog will be saved to the file "userdata/print.cfg", and used again, as long as the "printcfg" option is set.


This causes Tux Paint to always show the printer dialog (or, on Linux/Unix, run the "altprintcommand") when the 'Print' button is clicked. In other words, it's like clicking 'Print' while holding [Alt], except you don't need to hold [Alt] every time.


This prevents Tux Paint from ever showing the printer dialog (or, on Linux/Unix, run the "altprintcommand") when the 'Print' button is clicked. In other words, it makes the [Alt] key have no effect when clicking the 'Print' button.


This is the normal, default behavior. Tux Paint shows a printer dialog (or, on Linux/Unix, runs the "altprintcommand"), when the [Alt] key is pressed while the 'Print' button is clicked. Clicking 'Print' without holding [Alt] prints without showing a dialog.


(Platforms that use Tux Paint's internal PostScript generator — not Windows, Mac OS X or BeOS.)

Tell Tux Paint what size PostScript to generate. If none is specified, Tux Paint first checks your $PAPER environment variable, then the file /etc/papersize, then uses the the 'libpaper' library's default paper size.

Valid paper sizes include: letter, legal, tabloid, executive, note, statement, a0, a1, a2, a3, a4, a5, a6, a7, a8, a9, a10, b0, b1, b2 b3, b4, 10x14, 11x17, halfletter, halfexecutive, halfnote, folio, quarto, ledger, archA, archB, archC, archD, archE, flsa, flse, csheet, dsheet, esheet.


By default, Tux Paint uses what's known as a 'lockfile' to prevent it from being launched more than once in 30 seconds. (This is to avoid accidentally running multiple copies; for example, by double-clicking a single-click launcher, or simply impatiently clicking the icon multiple times.)

To make Tux Paint ignore the lockfile, allowing it to run again, even if it was just launched less than 30 seconds ago, enable this setting in the configuration file, or run Tux Paint with the '--nolockfile' option on the command-line.

By default, the lockfile is stored in "~/.tuxpaint/" under Linux and Unix, and "userdata\" under Windows.

Disable the rotation step of the 'Shape' tool. Click, drag and release is all that will be needed to draw a shape.
All text will be rendered only in uppercase (e.g., "Brush" will be "BRUSH"). Useful for children who can read, but who have only learned uppercase letters so far.

Tux Paint will attempt to 'grab' the mouse and keyboard, so that the mouse is confined to Tux Paint's window, and nearly all keyboard input is passed directly to it.

This is useful to disable operating system actions that could get the user out of Tux Paint [Alt]-[Tab] window cycling, [Ctrl]-[Escape], etc. This is especially useful in fullscreen mode.


This disable keyboard shortcuts (e.g., [Ctrl]-[S] for save, [Ctrl]-[N] for a new image, etc.)

This is useful to prevent unwanted commands from being activated by children who aren't experienced with keyboards.

This disables support for the wheel on mice that have it. (Normally, the wheel will scroll the selector menu on the right.)

Prior to Tux Paint 0.9.15, the middle and right buttons on a mouse could also be used for clicking. In version 0.9.15, it was changed so that only the left mouse button worked, so as to not train children to use the wrong button.

However, for children who have trouble with the mouse, this distinction between the two or three buttons on a mouse can be disabled (returning Tux Paint to its old behavior) by using this option.


This disables the fancy mouse pointer shapes in Tux Paint, and uses your environment's normal mouse pointer.

In some enviornments, the fancy cursors cause problems. Use this option to avoid them.


This completely hides the mouse pointer shapes in Tux Paint.

This is useful for touchscreen devices, such as tablet PCs.


In this mode, much simpler outlines and 'rubber-band' lines are displayed when using the Lines, Shapes, Stamps and Eraser tools.

This can help when Tux Paint is run on very slow computers, or displayed on a remote X-Window display.


This option causes Tux Paint to attempt to load fonts (for use in the Text tool) from your operating system. Normally, Tux Paint will only load the ones that came bundled with Tux Paint.


Prior to version 0.9.21, Tux Paint loaded all fonts in its own fonts directory, including locale-specific ones (e.g., the one for Tibetan, which had no latin characters). As of 0.9.21, the only font loaded from the locale-specific subdirectory, if any, is one matching the locale Tux Paint is running on.

To load all locale-specific fonts (the old behavior), set this option.


This option tells Tux Paint to not load any rubber stamp images, which in turn ends up disabling the Stamps tool.

This can speed up Tux Paint when it first loads up, and reduce memory usage while it's running. Of course, no stamps will be available at all.

Some images in the Stamps tool can be mirrored, flipped, and/or have their size changed. This option disables the controls, and only provides the basic stamps.
Some Magic tools have the option of acting like a paintbrush, or affecting the entire canvas at once. This option disables the controls, and only provides the default functionality (usually paint-mode).

For stamps that can be mirrored, this option sets them to their mirrored shape by default.

This can be useful for people who prefer things right-to-left, rather than left-to-right.


Use this option to force Tux Paint to set the starting size of all stamps. The SIZE value should be between 0 (smallest) and 10 (largest). The size is relative to the available sizes of the stamp, which depends on the stamp itself, and Tux Paint's current canvas size.

Specifc "default" to let Tux Paint decide (it's standard behavior).


This allows the keyboard arrow keys to be used to control the mouse pointer. (e.g., for mouseless environments.)

The [Arrow] keys move the mouse pointer. [Space] acts as the mouse button.


Use this option to change where Tux Paint's "saved" directory/folder is located, which is where Tux Paint saves and opens pictures.

If you do not override it, the default location is:

  • Linux & Unix — Under a hidden directory named ".tuxpaint" in your home directory (aka "~" or "$HOME")
    Example: "/home/username/.tuxpaint/saved/"

  • Windows — Inside a folder named "TuxPaint" in your "Application Data" folder.
    Example: "C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\TuxPaint\saved\"

  • Mac OS X — Inside a folder named "TuxPaint" in your "Application Support" folder.
    Example: "/Users/Username/Library/Application Support/TuxPaint/saved/"

Note: When specifying a Windows drive (e.g., "H:\"), you must also specify a subdirectory.

Note: Prior to version 0.9.18, Tux Paint would also use the setting or default for "savedir" as the place to search for personal data files (brushes, stamps, starters and fonts). As of version 0.9.18, they may be specified separately (see the "datadir" option, below).

Example: savedir=Z:\tuxpaint\


Use this option to change where Tux Paint looks for personal data files (brushes, stamps, starters and fonts specific to the current user).

Tux Paint will search for subdirectories/subfolders named "brushes", "stamps", "starters" and "fonts" under the data directory.

If you do not override it, the default location is:

  • Linux & Unix — Under a hidden directory named ".tuxpaint" in your home directory (aka "~" or "$HOME")
    Example: "/home/username/.tuxpaint/brushes/"

  • Windows — Inside a folder named "TuxPaint" in your "Application Data" folder.
    Example: "C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\TuxPaint\brushes\"

  • Mac OS X — Inside a folder named "TuxPaint" in your "Application Support" folder.
    Example: "/Users/Username/Library/Application Support/TuxPaint/brushes/"

Note: Prior to version 0.9.18, Tux Paint would use the same setting or default as for "savedir" to search for data files. As of version 0.9.18, they may be specified separately.

Note: When specifying a Windows drive (e.g., "H:\"), you must also specify a subdirectory.

Example: datadir=/home/johnny/tuxpaint-data/

This disables the "Save over the old version...?" prompt when saving an existing file. With this option, the older version will always be replaced by the new version, automatically.
This also disables the "Save over the old version...?" prompt when saving an existing file. This option, however, will always save a new file, rather than overwrite the older version.

(This option is redundant, since this is the default.)

When saving an existing drawing, you will be first asked whether to save over the older version or not.
This disables Tux Paint's ability to save files (and therefore disables the on-screen "Save" button). It can be used in situations where the program is only being used for fun, or in a test environment.
This prevents Tux Paint from asking whether you want to save the current picture when quitting, and assumes you do.
This causes Tux Paint to display a blank canvas when it first starts up, rather than loading the last image that was being edited.

You may override Tux Paint's default color palette by creating a plain ASCII text file that describes the colors you want, and pointing to that file using the colorfile option.

The file should list one color per line. Colors are defined in terms of their Red, Green and Blue values, each from 0 (off) to 255 (brightest). (For more information, try Wikipedia's "RGB color model" article.)

Colors may be listed using three decimal numbers (e.g., "255 68 136") or a 6- or 3-digit-long hexadecimal 'triplet' (e.g., "#ff4488" or "#F48").

After the color definition (on the same line) you may enter text to describe the color. Tux will display this text when the color is clicked. (For example, "#FFF White as snow.")

As an example, you can see the default colors currently used in Tux Paint in: "default_colors.txt".

NOTES: You must separate decimal values with spaces, and begin hexadecimal values with a pound/number-sign character ("#"). In 3-digit hexadecimal, each digit is used for both the high and low halves of the byte, so "#FFF" is the same as "#FFFFFF", not "#F0F0F0".


Run Tux Paint in one of the supported languages. Possible choice for LANGUAGE currently include:

english american-english  
basque euskara  
belarusian bielaruskaja  
brazilian-portuguese portuges-brazilian brazilian
breton brezhoneg  
british-english british  
catalan catala  
chinese simplified-chinese  
croatian hrvatski  
czech cesky  
danish dansk  
dutch nederlands  
finnish suomi  
french francais  
gaelic gaidhlig irish-gaelic
galician galego  
german deutsch  
gronings zudelk-veenkelonioals  
hungarian magyar  
icelandic islenska  
indonesian bahasa-indonesia  
italian italiano  
klingon tlhIngan  
lithuanian lietuviu  
mexican-spanish espanol-mejicano mexican
norwegian nynorsk  
ojibwe ojibway  
polish polski  
portuguese portugues  
russian russkiy  
scottish ghaidhlig scottish-gaelic
shuswap secwepemctin  
slovenian slovensko  
spanish espanol  
swedish svenska  
walloon walon  
welsh cymraeg  
miahuatlan-zapotec   zapotec

Overriding System Config. Options using .tuxpaintrc

(For Linux and Unix users)

If any of the above options are set in "/etc/tuxpaint/tuxpaint.config", you can override them in your own "~/.tuxpaintrc" file.

For true/false options, like "noprint" and "grab", you can simply say they equal 'no' in your "~/.tuxpaintrc" file:


Or, you can use options similar to the command-line override options described below. For example:


Command-Line Options

Options can also be issued on the command-line when you start Tux Paint.
--savedir DIRECTORY
--datadir DIRECTORY
--colorfile FILE
These enable or correspond to the configuration file options described above.
These options can be used to override any settings made in the configuration file. (If the option isn't set in the configuration file(s), no overriding option is necessary.)
--locale LOCALE

Run Tux Paint in one of the support languages. See the "Choosing a Different Language" section below for the locale strings (e.g., "de_DE" for German) to use.

(If your locale is already set, e.g. with the "$LANG" environment variable, this option is not necessary, since Tux Paint honors your environment's setting, if possible.)


Under Linux and Unix, this prevents the system-wide configuration file, "/etc/tuxpaint/tuxpaint.conf", from being read.

Only your own configuration file, "~/.tuxpaintrc", if it exists, will be used.

Command-Line Informational Options

The following options display some informative text on the screen. Tux Paint doesn't actually start up and run afterwards, however.

Display the version number and date of the copy of Tux Paint you are running. The "--verbose-version" also lists what compile-time options were set. (See INSTALL.txt and FAQ.txt).
Show brief license information about copying Tux Paint.
Display the list of available command-line options.
Display brief help on using Tux Paint.
--lang help
Display a list of available languages in Tux Paint.

Choosing a Different Language

Tux Paint has been translated into a number of languages. To access the translations, you can use the "--lang" option on the command-line to set the language (e.g. "--lang spanish") or use the "lang=" setting in the configuration file (e.g., "lang=spanish").

Tux Paint also honors your environment's current locale. (You can override it on the command-line using the "--locale" option; see above.)

Use the option "--lang help" to list the available language options available.

Available Languages

Locale Code Language
(native name)
(English name)
Input Method Cycle Key Combination
C   English  
af_ZA   Afrikaans  
ar_SA   Arabic  
ast_ES   Asturian  
az_AZ   Azerbaijani  
be_BY Bielaruskaja Belarusian  
bg_BG   Bulgarian  
bo_CN (*)   Tibetan  
br_FR Brezhoneg Breton  
ca_ES Català Catalan  
cs_CZ Cesky Czech  
cy_GB Cymraeg Welsh  
da_DK Dansk Danish  
de_DE Deutsch German  
et_EE   Estonian  
el_GR (*)   Greek  
en_AU   Australian English  
en_CA   Canadian English  
en_GB   British English  
en_ZA   South African English  
eo   Esperanto  
es_ES Español Spanish  
es_MX Español-Mejicano Mexican Spanish  
eu_ES Euskara Basque  
fi_FI Suomi Finnish  
fo_FO   Faroese  
fr_FR Français French  
ga_IE Gàidhlig Irish Gaelic  
gd_GB Ghaidhlig Scottish Gaelic  
gl_ES Galego Galician  
gos_NL Zudelk Veenkelonioals Gronings  
gu_IN   Gujarati  
he_IL (*)   Hebrew  
hi_IN (*)   Hindi  
hr_HR Hrvatski Croatian  
hu_HU Magyar Hungarian  
id_ID Bahasa Indonesia Indonesian  
is_IS Íslenska Icelandic  
it_IT Italiano Italian  
ja_JP (*)   Japanese right [Alt]
ka_GE   Georgian  
km_KH   Khmer  
ko_KR (*)   Korean right [Alt] or left [Alt]
ku_TR   Kurdish  
lt_LT Lietuviu Lithuanian  
lv_LV   Latvian  
mk_MK   Macedonian  
ms_MY   Malay  
nb_NO Norsk (bokmål) Norwegian Bokmål  
nl_NL   Dutch  
nn_NO Norsk (nynorsk) Norwegian Nynorsk  
nr_ZA   Ndebele  
oc_FR   Occitan  
oj_CA   Ojibwe Ojibway
pl_PL Polski Polish  
pt_BR Portugês Brazileiro Brazilian Portuguese  
pt_PT Portugês Portuguese  
ro_RO   Romanian  
ru_RU Russkiy Russian  
rw_RW   Kinyarwanda  
shs_CA Secwepemctin Shuswap  
sk_SK   Slovak  
sl_SI   Slovenian  
son   Songhay  
sq_AL   Albanian  
sr_YU   Serbian  
sv_SE Svenska Swedish  
sw_TZ   Swahili  
ta_IN (*)   Tamil  
te_IN (*)   Telugu  
th_TH (*)   Thai  
tl_PH (*)   Tagalog  
tlh tlhIngan Klingon  
tr_TR   Turkish  
twi_GH   Twi  
uk_UA   Ukrainian  
ve_ZA   Venda  
vi_VN   Vietnamese  
wa_BE   Walloon  
wo_SN   Wolof  
xh_ZA   Xhosa  
zh_CN (*)   Chinese (Simplified)  
zh_TW (*)   Chinese (Traditional)  
zam   Zapotec (Miahuatlan)  

(*) - These languages require their own fonts, since they are not represented using a Latin character set, like the others. See the "Special Fonts" section, below.

Note: Tux Paint provides an alternative input method for entering characters with the Text tool in some locales. The key comibation(s) listed can be used to cycle through the supported input methods while the Text tool is active.

Setting Your Environment's Locale

Changing your locale will affect much of your environment.

As stated above, along with letting you choose the language at runtime using command-line options ("--lang" and "--locale"), Tux Paint honors the global locale setting in your environment.

If you haven't already set your environment's locale, the following will briefly explain how:

Linux/Unix Users

First, be sure the locale you want to use is enabled by editing the file "/etc/locale.gen" on your system and then running the program "locale-gen" as root.

Note: Debian users may be able to simply run the command "dpkg-reconfigure locales" as root to bring up a configuration dialog. Ubuntu users may be able to run "sudo dpkg-reconfigure localeconf" (the "localeconf" package may need to be installed first), or may need to edit the file "/var/lib/locales/supported.d/local" first, and add locales they want, from the list found in "/usr/share/i18n/SUPPORTED".

Then, before running Tux Paint, set your "$LANG" environment variable to one of the locales listed above. (If you want all programs that can be translated to be, you may wish to place the following in your login script; e.g. ~/.profile, ~/.bashrc, ~/.cshrc, etc.)

For example, in a Bourne Shell (like BASH):

export LANG=es_ES ; \

And in a C Shell (like TCSH):

setenv LANG es_ES ; \

Windows Users

Tux Paint will recognize the current locale and use the appropriate files by default. So this section is only for people trying different languages.

The simplest thing to do is to use the '--lang' switch in the shortcut (see "INSTALL.txt"). However, by using an MSDOS Prompt window, it is also possible to issue a command like this:

set LANG=es_ES

...which will set the language for the lifetime of that DOS window.

For something more permanent, try editing your computer's 'autoexec.bat' file using Windows' "sysedit" tool:

Windows 95/98
  1. Click on the 'Start' button, and select 'Run...'.
  2. Type "sysedit" into the 'Open:' box (with or without quotes).
  3. Click 'OK'.
  4. Locate the AUTOEXEC.BAT window in the System Configuration Editor.
  5. Add the following at the bottom of the file:
    set LANG=es_ES
  6. Close the System Configuration Editor, answering yes to save the changes.
  7. Restart your machine.
To affect the entire machine, and all applications, it is possible to use the "Regional Settings" control panel:
  1. Click on the 'Start' button, and select 'Settings | Control Panel'.
  2. Double click on the "Regional Settings" globe.
  3. Select a language/region from the drop down list.
  4. Click 'OK'.
  5. Restart your machine when prompted.

Special Fonts

Some languages require special fonts be installed. These font files (which are in TrueType format (TTF)), are much too large to include with the Tux Paint download, and are available separately. (See the table above, under the "Choosing a Different Language" section.)

Note: As of version 0.9.18, Tux Paint uses the "SDL_Pango" library, which utilizes the "Pango" library to render text in the user interface, rather than using "SDL_ttf" directly. Unless your copy of Tux Paint was built without Pango support, special fonts should no longer be necessary.

When running Tux Paint in a language that requires its own font, Tux Paint will try to load the font file from its system-wide "fonts" directory (under a "locale" subdirectory). The name of the file corresponds to the first two letters in the 'locale' code of the language (e.g., "ko" for Korean, "ja" for Japanese, "zh_tw" for Traditional Chinese).

For example, under Linux or Unix, when Tux Paint is run in Korean (e.g., with the option "--lang korean"), Tux Paint will attempt to load the following font file:


You can download fonts for supported languages from Tux Paint's website, http://www.tuxpaint.org/. (Look in the 'Fonts' section under 'Download.')

Under Unix and Linux, you can use the Makefile that comes with the font to install the font in the appropriate location.