CLI image viewer


Giving your terminal the ability to view images may seem counter productive. After all, one of the great things about the command line is that you're not distracted by things like images. But adding this kind of ability could be immensely useful, especially if you happen to be running a remote terminal and you work with images. It could be ideal when working with a web server, for example, and you're trying to track down a specific image in a folder of obscure file names. Or when you process images on the command line and you want to see whether the process has worked as intended – or simply for the convenience of not having to reach for your mouse.

But surely getting meaningful images to display using ASCII text is impossible? Surprisingly not, thanks to sixel, a bitmap graphics format designed specifically for terminals that can build complex images out of 64 different ASCII characters, each containing a different arrangement of pixels. It's close to being able to set individual pixels within a terminal, while only using the text characters the terminal can display. And this is what lsix does. It's an ls command for images that displays image thumbnails just as ls displays file and folder names. The only caveat is that you need a terminal that supports sixel, and several – such as Konsole – do not. The easy solution is to run xterm (with xterm -ti vt340). But lsix is really just a well-commented Bash script that's using ImageMagick's convert command to do the magic, so it's worth looking inside if there are other changes you'd potentially like to make. It's a simple, easy-to-use command that genuinely helps if you need to see images on the command line.

Project Website

View images on the command line.

Video editor

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Free Software Projects

    Linux is a wonderful and underrated audio production platform, with great applications for every audio task. MuseScore and LilyPond bring elegance and sophistication to score writing, and Chordii is a wonderfully simple guitar sheet-music maker.

  • FOSSPicks

    Graham has been playing with the source code to the amazing Mutable Instruments Eurorack modules. The company is closing, but every firmware to every product is open source. Merci, Émilie Gillet.

  • Kick-start Your Brain with Scribble
  • Lakka

    With the right software, you can turn the Raspberry Pi into a versatile console for retro games.

  • MusE 4

    MusE, a digital audio workstation, offers a free software solution for MIDI projects on Linux.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

Subscribe to our Linux Newsletters
Find Linux and Open Source Jobs
Subscribe to our ADMIN Newsletters
Find SysAdmin Jobs