ANSI and ASCII art to PNG converter in C
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         _______         ___________          ___
       __\___   \_  ____/     /\   /______ ___\_/__            /\
      /    \|     \/  _ \    /--\_____    \\   /  /\          /  \
    _/      |     /    \     \      |/     /      \ \ _ _____/    \_______
    \       |_____\____/     /      /      \____  /\/                    /
     \______|      \  \_____/\______       /\   \/  \   /\NSILOVE / C   /____ _
      \     |_______\__\___ \ \    \      /  \___\__/____
       \____|        /____/\_\/\__ /     / __/___ \     /\    ____
                     \    \ \     /     /_/ __   \/    /__\__/  _/ _____ ___
                 /\   \____\/    /     //   \    /    /    /    _>/    //__/\
                /  \           _/      \   //   /    /    /     \/    / \__\/
_ _________    /    \_______ _ \___    /_______/    /   _/ \____      \  /
           \  /                 \ \___/\       \_______/\\  \  \______/\/
            \/                   \_\  \ \_______\      \ \\/ \__\     \ \
                                    \__\/        \______\/ h7/dS!\_____\/

AnsiLove/C Build Status

This is a complete rewrite of AnsiLove/PHP in the C programming language. It converts ANSi and artscene related file formats into PNG images. The project is considered as stable, current version is 3.0.9.


AnsiLove/C is strictly using the C99 standard to achieve high portability to all major operating systems. Supported compilers are GCC and Clang, others may work but aren't tested. We use Linux and OpenBSD for AnsiLove/C development.

Why C?

There were many reasons, most notably PHP interpreter independence and performance. A solid C foundation is just perfect for creating libraries and it can easily be embedded into applications. We already mentioned portability. What else? We wanted evolution. AnsiLove/C should not be understood as a port. It takes many different approaches (like processing binary font dumps or generating @2x Retina images), it is overall improved and introduces new features. While results tend to be the same, the codebase does not have much in common with it's ancestor.


AnsiLove/C uses the CMake build system and requires the libansilove library and header files.

Installing dependencies

  • OpenBSD: pkg_add -r cmake
  • NetBSD: pkgin install cmake
  • FreeBSD: pkg install cmake
  • Mac OS X: brew install cmake
  • Alpine Linux: apk add cmake gcc make musl-dev
  • Debian / Ubuntu / Mint: apt-get install cmake
  • Solus: eopkg install -c system.devel

For now, libansilove has to be installed manually.


cmake .

You can also build the project directly from Atom. Note that the Atom Build package is necessary for this purpose.


AnsiLove/C packages are available for:


pkg_add ansilove

Pkgsrc (NetBSD, SmartOS, Mac OS X, etc.)

pkgin install ansilove


pkg install ansilove


eopkg install ansilove


The following formats are supported:

  • .ANS - ANSi (ANSI escape sequences: ANSI X3.64 standard)
  • .PCB - PCBoard Bulletin Board System (BBS) own file format
  • .BIN - Binary format (raw memory copy of text mode video memory)
  • .ADF - Artworx format, supporting custom character sets and palettes
  • .IDF - iCE Draw format, supporting custom character sets and palettes
  • .TND - TundraDraw format, supporting 24-bit color mode
  • .XB - The eXtended Binary XBin format, supporting custom character sets and palettes

Files with custom suffix default to the ANSi renderer (e.g. ICE or CIA).

AnsiLove/C is capabable of processing:

  • SAUCE records
  • DOS and Amiga fonts (embedded binary dump)
  • iCE colors

Even more:

  • Output files are highly optimized 4-bit PNGs.
  • Optionally generates additional (and proper) Retina @2x PNG.
  • You can use custom options for adjusting output results.
  • Built-in support for rendering Amiga ASCII.



   ansilove [-ehirsv] [-b bits] [-c columns] [-f font] [-m mode] [-o file]
            [-R factor] file


   -b bits     set to 9 to render 9th column of block characters (default: 8)
   -c columns  adjust number of columns for BIN files (default: 160)
   -e          print a list of examples
   -f font     select font (default: 80x25)
   -h          show help
   -i          enable iCE colors
   -m mode     set rendering mode for ANS files:
                 ced            black on gray, with 78 columns
                 transparent    render with transparent background
                 workbench      use Amiga Workbench palette
   -o file     specify output filename/path
   -r          creates additional Retina @2x output file
   -R factor   creates additional Retina output file with custom scale
   -s          show SAUCE record without generating output
   -v          show version information

There are certain cases where you need to set options for proper rendering. However, this is occasionally. Results turn out well with the built-in defaults. You may launch AnsiLove with the option -e to get a list of basic examples. Note that columns is restricted to BIN files, it won't affect other file types.


We dumped many fonts as binary data right into AnsiLove/C, so the most popular typefaces for rendering ANSi / ASCII art are available at your fingertips.

PC fonts can be (all case-sensitive):

  • 80x25 (code page 437)
  • 80x50 (code page 437, 80x50 mode)
  • baltic (code page 775)
  • cyrillic (code page 855)
  • french-canadian (code page 863)
  • greek (code page 737)
  • greek-869 (code page 869)
  • hebrew (code page 862)
  • icelandic (Code page 861)
  • latin1 (code page 850)
  • latin2 (code page 852)
  • nordic (code page 865)
  • portuguese (Code page 860)
  • russian (code page 866)
  • terminus (modern font, code page 437)
  • turkish (code page 857)

AMIGA fonts can be (all case-sensitive):

  • amiga (alias to Topaz)
  • microknight (Original MicroKnight version)
  • microknight+ (Modified MicroKnight version)
  • mosoul (Original mO'sOul font)
  • pot-noodle (Original P0T-NOoDLE font)
  • topaz (Original Topaz Kickstart 2.x version)
  • topaz+ (Modified Topaz Kickstart 2.x+ version)
  • topaz500 (Original Topaz Kickstart 1.x version)
  • topaz500+ (Modified Topaz Kickstart 1.x version)


bits can be:

  • 8 (8-bit)
  • 9 (9-bit)

Setting the bits to 9 will render the 9th column of block characters, so the output will look like it is displayed in real textmode.

Rendering Mode

mode can be (all case-sensitive):

  • ced
  • transparent
  • workbench

Setting the mode to ced will cause the input file to be rendered in black on gray, and limit the output to 78 columns (only available for ANS files). Used together with an Amiga font, the output will look like it is displayed on Amiga.

Setting the mode to workbench will cause the input file to be rendered using Amiga Workbench colors (only available for ANS files).

Settings the mode to transparent will produce output files with transparent background (only available for ANS files).

iCE Colors

iCE colors are disabled by default, and can be enabled by specifying the -i option.

When an ANSi source was created using iCE colors, it was done with a special mode where the blinking was disabled, and you had 16 background colors available. Basically, you had the same choice for background colors as for foreground colors, that's iCE colors.


columns is only relevant for .BIN files, and even for those files is optional. In most cases conversion will work fine if you don't set this flag, the default value is 160 then. So please pass columns only to BIN files and only if you exactly know what you're doing.

SAUCE records

It's fine to use AnsiLove/C as SAUCE reader without generating any output, just set option -s for this purpose.

Who pulls the strings

AnsiLove/C is developed by Stefan Vogt (@ByteProject), Brian Cassidy (@bricas) and Frederic Cambus (@fcambus).


AnsiLove/C is released under the BSD 2-Clause License. See the file LICENSE for details.



MacOS framework

If you're looking for something to implement into your MacOS applications, you might want to have a look at AnsiLove.framework. The codebase is still Cocoa, which is bad in a world that obviously moved on to Swift. The framework is not actively maintained anymore and thus considered deprecated. Drop us an email in case you're interested in taking over.