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asciitopgm - convert ASCII graphics into a portable graymap

asciitopgm(1) General Commands Manual asciitopgm(1)


asciitopgm - convert ASCII graphics into a portable graymap


asciitopgm [-d divisor] height width [asciifile]


Reads ASCII data as input. Produces a portable graymap with pixel values which are an approximation of the "brightness" of the ASCII characters, assuming black-on-white printing. In other words, a capital M is very dark, a period is ver light, and a space is white. Input lines which are fewer than width characters are automatically padded with spaces.
The divisor argument is a floating-point number by which the output pixels are divided; the default value is 1.0. This can be used to adjust the brightness of the graymap: for example, if the image is too dim, reduce the divisor.
In keeping with (I believe) Fortran line-printer conventions, input lines beginning with a + (plus) character are assumed to "overstrike" the previous line, allowing a larger range of gray values.
This tool contradicts the message in the pbmtoascii manual: "Note that there is no asciitopbm tool - this transformation is one-way."


The table of ASCII-to-grey values is subject to interpretation, and, of course, depends on the typeface intended for the input.


pbmtoascii(1), pgm(5)


Wilson H. Bent. Jr. (
26 December 1994 Debian Sid