Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Display Graphical Pictures in Your Terminal

Ubuntu 12

The terminal is a powerful tool that can be used for a wide range of tasks. Among these, displaying graphical pictures may not seem like the most obvious one. However, there are several ways to achieve this, each with its own set of features and requirements. In this article, we will explore some of the most popular methods and how to use them.

Quick Answer

Yes, it is possible to display graphical pictures in your terminal using various methods such as Viu, Kitty icat, w3m, Terminology, libsixel + mlterm/xterm, FIM, and TerminalImageViewer. Each method has its own set of features and requirements, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Viu

Viu is an image viewer that can display images in the terminal using various approaches, including kitty, iterm, libsixel, and blocky ASCII images. To use Viu, you first need to install it. You can do this by running the following command:

cargo install viu

Once installed, you can display an image by running:

viu image.jpg

In this command, image.jpg is the name of the image file you want to display.

Kitty icat

Kitty is a terminal emulator that includes the icat command, which can display images. However, it does not work within tmux. To display an image using icat, simply run:

kitty +kitten icat image.jpg

Again, image.jpg is the name of the image file you want to display.

w3m

While primarily a web browser, w3m can also be used to view images in the terminal. To use w3m for this purpose, you first need to install the w3m and w3m-img packages:

sudo apt-get install w3m w3m-img

Once installed, you can display an image by running:

w3m image.jpg

Terminology

terminology is a terminal emulator that includes tycat, which displays images similar to how cat displays text files. To use tycat, simply run:

tycat image.jpg

libsixel + mlterm/xterm

libsixel is a library that can display images in the terminal. To use it, you first need to install libsixel-bin and a compatible terminal like mlterm or xterm:

sudo apt-get install libsixel-bin mlterm

Once installed, you can display an image by running:

img2sixel image.jpg

FIM

FIM is an improved version of fbi that can display images with the framebuffer or X. To use FIM, you first need to install it:

sudo apt-get install fim

Once installed, you can display an image by running:

fim image.jpg

TerminalImageViewer

TerminalImageViewer is a small C++ tool that converts images to ANSI RGB control codes and Unicode block graphics characters. To use TerminalImageViewer, you first need to install it:

git clone https://github.com/stefanhaustein/TerminalImageViewer.git
cd TerminalImageViewer/src/main/cpp
make
sudo make install

Once installed, you can display an image by running:

tiv image.jpg

Conclusion

These are just a few of the ways to display graphical pictures in your terminal. Each method has its own set of features and requirements, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Remember, the terminal is a powerful tool, and learning to use it effectively can greatly enhance your productivity.

Can I display any type of image in the terminal using these methods?

Yes, these methods support various image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF.

Do I need to have a specific terminal emulator to display images?

Some methods like Viu and Kitty icat require specific terminal emulators, while others like w3m and terminology can be used with any terminal emulator.

Can I resize the displayed image in the terminal?

Yes, some methods like Viu and Kitty icat allow you to resize the image to fit the terminal window.

Can I view multiple images at once?

Yes, methods like Viu and Kitty icat allow you to view multiple images in separate windows or tabs.

Are there any limitations to displaying images in the terminal?

Yes, displaying images in the terminal may not provide the same level of detail and color accuracy as viewing them in a dedicated image viewer. Additionally, very large images may not display properly or may cause performance issues.

Can I use these methods on different operating systems?

Most of these methods are compatible with Linux-based systems. However, some may also work on macOS or Windows with the appropriate terminal emulator or additional software.

Can I display images in a remote terminal session?

Yes, as long as the remote terminal supports the required features and the necessary software is installed on the remote machine.

Can I automate the process of displaying images in the terminal?

Yes, you can write scripts or use command-line tools to automate the display of images in the terminal. For example, you can create a script that displays a specific image each time you open the terminal.

Can I use these methods to display animated images?

Some methods like w3m and Viu with the libsixel backend support displaying animated GIFs in the terminal.

Are there any security implications when displaying images in the terminal?

It’s important to be cautious when displaying images from untrusted sources in the terminal, as they could potentially contain malicious content. Always ensure that the images you are viewing are from reliable and trusted sources.

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