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icat (Image cat) outputs images in 256-color capable terminals.

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icat - image cat

Outputs an image on a 256-color or 24-bit color enabled terminal with UTF-8 locale, such as gnome-terminal, konsole or rxvt-unicode (urxvt).


Build requirements: icat depends on imlib2.

On Ubuntu, apt-get install libimlib2-dev

On Darwin (Mac OS X), brew install imlib2

Note that for Darwin (Mac OS X), you will need to install XQuartz first, the version of the X.Org X Window System (X11) that runs on OS X.

To compile:



Run icat with a local file:

icat sample.png

or with multiple files:

icat img1.jpg img2.jpg > newfile.txt

or, if - is used as as file name, it reads from standard input:

curl -sL | icat -

The above commands results the following output in 256-color terminal, see sample.256-color.txt for the actual output:

Output of sample.png

For terminals that support 24-bit color (such as Konsole and Yakuake, see this document for more information about terminals and their color support), this can be enabled using:

icat -m 24bit sample.png


icat was written by Andreas Textor The sample icon is from the Nuvola icon theme by David Vignoni.