Node canvas is a Cairo backed Canvas implementation for NodeJS.
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nishidayuya and zbjornson Fix private property name.
run: git cococo sed -i -e s/originalSource/_originalSource/g lib/image.js
Latest commit 867bac3 Aug 3, 2018


This is the documentation for version 2.0.0-alpha

Alpha versions of 2.0 can be installed using npm install canvas@next.

See the changelog for a guide to upgrading from 1.x to 2.x.

For version 1.x documentation, see the v1.x branch

Canvas graphics API backed by Cairo

Build Status NPM version

node-canvas is a Cairo backed Canvas implementation for NodeJS.



$ npm install canvas

By default, binaries for macOS, Linux and Windows will be downloaded. If you want to build from source, use npm install --build-from-source.

Currently the minimum version of node required is 6.0.0


If you don't have a supported OS or processor architecture, or you use --build-from-source, the module will be compiled on your system. Unless previously installed you'll need Cairo and Pango. For system-specific installation view the Wiki.

You can quickly install the dependencies by using the command for your OS:

OS Command
OS X Using Homebrew:
brew install pkg-config cairo pango libpng jpeg giflib

Using MacPorts:
port install pkgconfig cairo pango libpng jpeg giflib
Ubuntu sudo apt-get install libcairo2-dev libjpeg-dev libpango1.0-dev libgif-dev build-essential g++
Fedora sudo yum install cairo cairo-devel cairomm-devel libjpeg-turbo-devel pango pango-devel pangomm pangomm-devel giflib-devel
Solaris pkgin install cairo pango pkg-config xproto renderproto kbproto xextproto
Windows Instructions on our wiki

Mac OS X v10.11+: If you have recently updated to Mac OS X v10.11+ and are experiencing trouble when compiling, run the following command: xcode-select --install. Read more about the problem on Stack Overflow.



const { createCanvas, loadImage } = require('canvas')
const canvas = createCanvas(200, 200)
const ctx = canvas.getContext('2d')

// Write "Awesome!"
ctx.font = '30px Impact'
ctx.fillText('Awesome!', 50, 100)

// Draw line under text
var text = ctx.measureText('Awesome!')
ctx.strokeStyle = 'rgba(0,0,0,0.5)'
ctx.lineTo(50, 102)
ctx.lineTo(50 + text.width, 102)

// Draw cat with lime helmet
loadImage('examples/images/lime-cat.jpg').then((image) => {
  ctx.drawImage(image, 50, 0, 70, 70)

  console.log('<img src="' + canvas.toDataURL() + '" />')

Know issues

  • CMYK images are not supported (#1183, #425)
  • ctx.fillText maxWidth is inconsistent (#1088, #1088)
  • Async canvas.toBuffer for PDF is not working (#821)

See all list of bugs.

Non-Standard APIs

node-canvas implements the HTML Canvas API as closely as possible. (See Compatibility Status for the current API compliance.) All non-standard APIs are documented below.


As in browsers, img.src can be set to a data: URI or a remote URL. In addition, node-canvas allows setting src to a local file path or to a Buffer instance.

const { Image } = require('canvas');

// From a buffer:
fs.readFile('images/squid.png', (err, squid) => {
  if (err) throw err
  const img = new Image()
  img.onload = () => ctx.drawImage(img, 0, 0)
  img.onerror = err => { throw err }
  img.src = squid

// From a local file path:
const img = new Image()
img.onload = () => ctx.drawImage(img, 0, 0)
img.onerror = err => { throw err }
img.src = 'images/squid.png'

// From a remote URL:
img.src = ''
// ... as above

// From a `data:` URI:
// ... as above

Note: In some cases, img.src= is currently synchronous. However, you should always use img.onload and img.onerror, as we intend to make img.src= always asynchronous as it is in browsers. See


node-canvas adds Image#dataMode support, which can be used to opt-in to mime data tracking of images (currently only JPEGs).

When mime data is tracked, in PDF mode JPEGs can be embedded directly into the output, rather than being re-encoded into PNG. This can drastically reduce filesize, and speed up rendering.

const { Image } = require('canvas');
var img = new Image();
img.dataMode = Image.MODE_IMAGE; // Only image data tracked
img.dataMode = Image.MODE_MIME; // Only mime data tracked
img.dataMode = Image.MODE_MIME | Image.MODE_IMAGE; // Both are tracked

If image data is not tracked, and the Image is drawn to an image rather than a PDF canvas, the output will be junk. Enabling mime data tracking has no benefits (only a slow down) unless you are generating a PDF.


Creates a Buffer object representing the image contained in the canvas.

canvas.toBuffer((err: Error|null, result: Buffer) => void[, mimeType[, config]]) => void canvas.toBuffer([mimeType[, config]]) => Buffer

  • callback If provided, the buffer will be provided in the callback instead of being returned by the function. Invoked with an error as the first argument if encoding failed, or the resulting buffer as the second argument if it succeeded. Not supported for mimeType raw or for PDF or SVG canvases (there is no async work to do in those cases).
  • mimeType A string indicating the image format. Valid options are image/png, image/jpeg (if node-canvas was built with JPEG support) and raw (unencoded ARGB32 data in native-endian byte order, top-to-bottom). Defaults to image/png. If the canvas is a PDF or SVG canvas, this argument is ignored and a PDF or SVG is returned always.
  • config
    • For image/jpeg an object specifying the quality (0 to 1), if progressive compression should be used and/or if chroma subsampling should be used: {quality: 0.75, progressive: false, chromaSubsampling: true}. All properties are optional.

    • For image/png, an object specifying the ZLIB compression level (between 0 and 9), the compression filter(s), the palette (indexed PNGs only), the the background palette index (indexed PNGs only) and/or the resolution (ppi): {compressionLevel: 6, filters: canvas.PNG_ALL_FILTERS, palette: undefined, backgroundIndex: 0, resolution: undefined}. All properties are optional.

      Note that the PNG format encodes the resolution in pixels per meter, so if you specify 96, the file will encode 3780 ppm (~96.01 ppi). The resolution is undefined by default to match common browser behavior.

Return value

If no callback is provided, a Buffer. If a callback is provided, none.


// Default: buf contains a PNG-encoded image
const buf = canvas.toBuffer()

// PNG-encoded, zlib compression level 3 for faster compression but bigger files, no filtering
const buf2 = canvas.toBuffer('image/png', {compressionLevel: 3, filters: canvas.PNG_FILTER_NONE})

// JPEG-encoded, 50% quality
const buf3 = canvas.toBuffer('image/jpeg', {quality: 0.5})

// Asynchronous PNG
canvas.toBuffer((err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err; // encoding failed
  // buf is PNG-encoded image

canvas.toBuffer((err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err; // encoding failed
  // buf is JPEG-encoded image at 95% quality
}, 'image/jpeg', {quality: 0.95})

// ARGB32 pixel values, native-endian
const buf4 = canvas.toBuffer('raw')
const {stride, width} = canvas
// In memory, this is `canvas.height * canvas.stride` bytes long.
// The top row of pixels, in ARGB order, left-to-right, is:
const topPixelsARGBLeftToRight = buf4.slice(0, width * 4)
// And the third row is:
const row3 = buf4.slice(2 * stride, 2 * stride + width * 4)

// SVG and PDF canvases ignore the mimeType argument
const myCanvas = createCanvas(w, h, 'pdf')
myCanvas.toBuffer() // returns a buffer containing a PDF-encoded canvas


Creates a ReadableStream that emits PNG-encoded data.

canvas.createPNGStream([config]) => ReadableStream

  • config An object specifying the ZLIB compression level (between 0 and 9), the compression filter(s), the palette (indexed PNGs only) and/or the background palette index (indexed PNGs only): {compressionLevel: 6, filters: canvas.PNG_ALL_FILTERS, palette: undefined, backgroundIndex: 0, resolution: undefined}. All properties are optional.


const fs = require('fs')
const out = fs.createWriteStream(__dirname + '/test.png')
const stream = canvas.createPNGStream()
out.on('finish', () =>  console.log('The PNG file was created.'))

To encode indexed PNGs from canvases with pixelFormat: 'A8' or 'A1', provide an options object:

const palette = new Uint8ClampedArray([
  //r    g    b    a
    0,  50,  50, 255, // index 1
   10,  90,  90, 255, // index 2
  127, 127, 255, 255
  // ...
  palette: palette,
  backgroundIndex: 0 // optional, defaults to 0


Creates a createJPEGStream that emits JPEG-encoded data.

Note: At the moment, createJPEGStream() is synchronous under the hood. That is, it runs in the main thread, not in the libuv threadpool.

canvas.createJPEGStream([config]) => ReadableStream

  • config an object specifying the quality (0 to 1), if progressive compression should be used and/or if chroma subsampling should be used: {quality: 0.75, progressive: false, chromaSubsampling: true}. All properties are optional.


const fs = require('fs')
const out = fs.createWriteStream(__dirname + '/test.jpeg')
const stream = canvas.createJPEGStream()
out.on('finish', () =>  console.log('The JPEG file was created.'))

// Disable 2x2 chromaSubsampling for deeper colors and use a higher quality
const stream = canvas.createJPEGStream({
  quality: 95,
  chromaSubsampling: false

Canvas#toDataURL() sync and async

The following syntax patterns are supported:

var dataUrl = canvas.toDataURL(); // defaults to PNG
var dataUrl = canvas.toDataURL('image/png');
canvas.toDataURL(function(err, png){ }); // defaults to PNG
canvas.toDataURL('image/png', function(err, png){ });
canvas.toDataURL('image/jpeg', function(err, jpeg){ }); // sync JPEG is not supported
canvas.toDataURL('image/jpeg', {opts...}, function(err, jpeg){ }); // see Canvas#createJPEGStream for valid options
canvas.toDataURL('image/jpeg', quality, function(err, jpeg){ }); // spec-following; quality from 0 to 1

registerFont for bundled fonts

It can be useful to use a custom font file if you are distributing code that uses node-canvas and a specific font. Or perhaps you are using it to do automated tests and you want the renderings to be the same across operating systems regardless of what fonts are installed.

To do that, you should use registerFont().

You need to call it before the Canvas is created

const { registerFont, createCanvas } = require('canvas');
registerFont('comicsans.ttf', {family: 'Comic Sans'});

var canvas = createCanvas(500, 500),
  ctx = canvas.getContext('2d');

ctx.font = '12px "Comic Sans"';
ctx.fillText('Everyone hates this font :(', 250, 10);

The second argument is an object with properties that resemble the CSS properties that are specified in @font-face rules. You must specify at least family. weight, and style are optional (and default to "normal").


Given one of the values below will alter pattern (gradients, images, etc) render quality, defaults to good.

  • fast
  • good
  • best
  • nearest
  • bilinear


Can be either path or glyph. Using glyph is much faster than path for drawing, and when using a PDF context will embed the text natively, so will be selectable and lower filesize. The downside is that cairo does not have any subpixel precision for glyph, so this will be noticeably lower quality for text positioning in cases such as rotated text. Also, strokeText in glyph will act the same as fillText, except using the stroke style for the fill.

Defaults to path.

This property is tracked as part of the canvas state in save/restore.


Like patternQuality, but applies to transformations effecting more than just patterns. Defaults to good.

  • fast
  • good
  • best
  • nearest
  • bilinear

Global Composite Operations

In addition to those specified and commonly implemented by browsers, the following have been added:

  • multiply
  • screen
  • overlay
  • hard-light
  • soft-light
  • hsl-hue
  • hsl-saturation
  • hsl-color
  • hsl-luminosity


Set anti-aliasing mode

  • default
  • none
  • gray
  • subpixel

For example:

ctx.antialias = 'none';

PDF Support

Basic PDF support was added in 0.11.0. If you are building cairo from source, be sure to use --enable-pdf=yes for the PDF backend. node-canvas must know that it is creating a PDF on initialization, using the "pdf" string:

var canvas = createCanvas(200, 500, 'pdf');

An additional method .addPage() is then available to create multiple page PDFs:

ctx.font = '22px Helvetica';
ctx.fillText('Hello World', 50, 80);

ctx.font = '22px Helvetica';
ctx.fillText('Hello World 2', 50, 80);

ctx.font = '22px Helvetica';
ctx.fillText('Hello World 3', 50, 80);

SVG Support

Just like PDF support, make sure to install cairo with --enable-svg=yes. You also need to tell node-canvas that it is working on SVG upon its initialization:

var canvas = createCanvas(200, 500, 'svg');
// Use the normal primitives.
fs.writeFileSync('out.svg', canvas.toBuffer());

SVG Image Support

If librsvg is available when node-canvas is installed, node-canvas can render SVG images to your canvas context. This currently works by rasterizing the SVG image (i.e. drawing an SVG image to an SVG canvas will not preserve the SVG data).

const img = new Image()
img.onload = () => ctx.drawImage(img, 0, 0)
img.onerror = err => { throw err }
img.src = './example.svg'

Image pixel formats (experimental)

node-canvas has experimental support for additional pixel formats, roughly following the Canvas color space proposal.

var canvas = createCanvas(200, 200);
var ctx = canvas.getContext('2d', {pixelFormat: 'A8'});

By default, canvases are created in the RGBA32 format, which corresponds to the native HTML Canvas behavior. Each pixel is 32 bits. The JavaScript APIs that involve pixel data (getImageData, putImageData) store the colors in the order {red, green, blue, alpha} without alpha pre-multiplication. (The C++ API stores the colors in the order {alpha, red, green, blue} in native-endian ordering, with alpha pre-multiplication.)

These additional pixel formats have experimental support:

  • RGB24 Like RGBA32, but the 8 alpha bits are always opaque. This format is always used if the alpha context attribute is set to false (i.e. canvas.getContext('2d', {alpha: false})). This format can be faster than RGBA32 because transparency does not need to be calculated.
  • A8 Each pixel is 8 bits. This format can either be used for creating grayscale images (treating each byte as an alpha value), or for creating indexed PNGs (treating each byte as a palette index) (see the example using alpha values with fillStyle and the example using imageData).
  • RGB16_565 Each pixel is 16 bits, with red in the upper 5 bits, green in the middle 6 bits, and blue in the lower 5 bits, in native platform endianness. Some hardware devices and frame buffers use this format. Note that PNG does not support this format; when creating a PNG, the image will be converted to 24-bit RGB. This format is thus suboptimal for generating PNGs. ImageData instances for this mode use a Uint16Array instead of a Uint8ClampedArray.
  • A1 Each pixel is 1 bit, and pixels are packed together into 32-bit quantities. The ordering of the bits matches the endianness of the platform: on a little-endian machine, the first pixel is the least- significant bit. This format can be used for creating single-color images. Support for this format is incomplete, see note below.
  • RGB30 Each pixel is 30 bits, with red in the upper 10, green in the middle 10, and blue in the lower 10. (Requires Cairo 1.12 or later.) Support for this format is incomplete, see note below.

Notes and caveats:

  • Using a non-default format can affect the behavior of APIs that involve pixel data:

    • context2d.createImageData The size of the array returned depends on the number of bit per pixel for the underlying image data format, per the above descriptions.
    • context2d.getImageData The format of the array returned depends on the underlying image mode, per the above descriptions. Be aware of platform endianness, which can be determined using node.js's os.endianness() function.
    • context2d.putImageData As above.
  • A1 and RGB30 do not yet support getImageData or putImageData. Have a use case and/or opinion on working with these formats? Open an issue and let us know! (See #935.)

  • A1, A8, RGB30 and RGB16_565 with shadow blurs may crash or not render properly.

  • The ImageData(width, height) and ImageData(Uint8ClampedArray, width) constructors assume 4 bytes per pixel. To create an ImageData instance with a different number of bytes per pixel, use new ImageData(new Uint8ClampedArray(size), width, height) or new ImageData(new Uint16ClampedArray(size), width, height).


Although node-canvas is extremely new, and we have not even begun optimization yet it is already quite fast. For benchmarks vs other node canvas implementations view this gist, or update the submodules and run $ make benchmark yourself.


Want to contribute to node-canvas? patches for features, bug fixes, documentation, examples and others are certainly welcome. Take a look at the issue queue for existing issues.


Examples are placed in ./examples, be sure to check them out! most produce a png image of the same name, and others such as live-clock.js launch an http server to be viewed in the browser.


If you have not previously, init git submodules:

$ git submodule update --init

Install the node modules:

$ npm install

Build node-canvas:

$ node-gyp rebuild

Unit tests:

$ make test

Visual tests:

$ make test-server


(The MIT License)

Copyright (c) 2010 LearnBoost, and contributors <>

Copyright (c) 2014 Automattic, Inc and contributors <>

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the 'Software'), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.