Professional graphics and photo editing at the command line

Tutorial – ImageMagick

Article from Issue 269/2023

The free ImageMagick graphics toolbox brings the feature set of a full-blown image processor to the command line.

For more than 30 years, a group of about 30 people has been developing the ImageMagick [1] graphics toolbox and offering it for free under the Apache 2 license. It is not a single program, but a set of compact tools for the command line. In addition to a Linux version, there are variants for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and other operating systems. ImageMagick supports over 200 file formats and reliably processes images with resolutions in the gigapixel and terapixel range.

You can install the program collection using your choice of distribution's package manager. At the time of going to press, only Arch Linux had the latest 7.1 version on board. Debian 11 (including Testing and Unstable) and Fedora 37 still offered version 6.9. On Debian-based systems such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint, you need to use the command from line 2 of Listing 1 to install. On Fedora, use the command from line 4. On Arch-based systems such as Manjaro, set up ImageMagick using the command from line 6.

After doing so, you will find the command-line programs listed in Table 1 on your computer. Many instructions on the Internet still refer to old commands where users always had to type magick followed by the command string. The newer versions have dropped this, meaning that magick convert has been simplified to a plain convert.


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