Skip to content
/ durdraw Public

Versatile ASCII and ANSI Art text editor for drawing in the Linux/Unix/macOS terminal, with animation, 256 and 16 colors, Unicode and CP437, and customizable themes


Notifications You must be signed in to change notification settings


Repository files navigation


              __                __
            _|  |__ __ _____ __|  |_____ _____ __ __ __
           / _  |  |  |   __|  _  |   __|  _  |  |  |  |\
          /_____|_____|__|__|_____|__|___\____|________| | 
          \_____________________________________________\|  v 0.27.1

durdraw-0 27 0-demo-4


Durdraw is an ASCII, Unicode and ANSI art editor for UNIX-like systems (Linux, macOS, etc). It runs in modern Utf-8 terminals and supports frame-based animation, custom themes, 256 and 16 color modes, terminal mouse input, DOS ANSI art viewing, CP437 and Unicode mixing and conversion, HTML output, mIRC color output, and other interesting features.

Durdraw is heavily inspired by classic ANSI editing software for MS-DOS and Windows, such as TheDraw, Aciddraw and Pablodraw, but with a modern Unix twist.


  • Python 3 (3.10+ recommended)
  • Linux, macOS, or other Unix-like System


You can install from your OS repositories, or follow the instructions below to install from source:

Packaging status

If you just want to run it without instalilng, scroll down to the next section.

1: Download and extract, or use git to download:

   git clone  
   cd durdraw 

2: Install or upgrade using pip:

    pip install --upgrade .

Or run the installer:

    python3 install

3: Optionally, install some themes and a sample configuration file for your local user into ~/.durdraw/:


You should now be able to run durdraw. Press esc-h for help, or try durdraw --help for command-line options.


You can run Durdraw with:


To look at some included example animations:

    ./start-durdraw -p examples/*.dur


Watch the Tutorial Part 1

Watch another video


dopetrans3 durdraw-screenshot durdraw-linux-unicode-ansi eye cm-doge bsd-color-new


You can play a .dur file or series of .dur files with:

    $ durdraw -p filename.dur
    $ durdraw -p file1.dur file2.dur file3.dur ...

Other command-line options:

usage: start-durdraw [-h] [-p PLAY [PLAY ...]] [-q | -w | -x TIMES] [--256color | --16color] [-b]
                     [-W WIDTH] [-H HEIGHT] [-m] [--nomouse] [-A] [-u UNDOSIZE] [-V] [--debug]

positional arguments:
  filename              .dur or ascii file to load

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -p PLAY [PLAY ...], --play PLAY [PLAY ...]
                        Just play .dur file or files, then exit
  -q, --quick           Skip startup screen
  -w, --wait            Pause at startup screen
  -x TIMES, --times TIMES
                        Play X number of times (requires -p)
  --256color            Try 256 color mode
  --16color             Try 16 color mode
  -b, --blackbg         Use a black background color instead of terminal default
  -W WIDTH, --width WIDTH
                        Set canvas width
  -H HEIGHT, --height HEIGHT
                        Set canvas height
  -m, --max             Maximum canvas size for terminal (overrides -W and -H)
  --nomouse             Disable mouse support
  --cursor CURSOR       Cursor mode (block, underscore, or pipe)
  --notheme             Disable theme support
  --theme THEME         Load a custom theme file
  --cp437               Encode extended characters using Code Page 437 (IBM-PC/MS-DOS) encoding
                        instead of Utf-8. (Needs CP437 capable terminal and font)
  --export-ansi         Export loaded art to an ANSI file and exit
  -u UNDOSIZE, --undosize UNDOSIZE
                        Set the number of undo history states - default is 100. More requires more
                        RAM, less saves RAM.
  -V, --version         Show version number and exit


Use the arrow keys (or mouse) and other keys to edit, much like a text editor. You can use the "Esc" (or "Meta") key to access commands:

  .. Art Editing .....................   
  : F1-F10 - insert character        :   
  : esc-up - next fg color           :   
  : esc-down - prev fg color         :   
  : esc-right - next bg color (16c)  :   
  : esc-left - prev bg color         :
  : esc-/ - insert line              :   .. Animation .......................
  : esc-' - delete line              :   : esc-k - next frame               :
  : esc-. - insert column            :   : esc-j - previous frame           :
  : esc-, - delete column            :   : esc-p - start/stop payback       :
  : esc-] - next character group     :   : esc-n - clone frame              :
  : esc-[ - previous character group :   : esc-N - append empty frame       :
  : esc-S - change character set     :   : esc-d - delete frame             :
  : esc-y - eyedrop (pick up color)  :   : esc-D - set frame delay          :
  : esc-l - color character          :   : esc-+/esc-- - faster/slower      :
  : esc-c - color picker             :   : esc-R - set playback/edit range  :
  : shift-arrows - select for copy   :   : esc-g - go to frame #            :
  : esc-K - mark selection           :   : esc-M - move frame               :
  : esc-v - paste                    :   :..................................:
                                         .. UI/Misc .........................
  .. File Operations .................   : esc-m - main menu                :
  : esc-C - new/clear canvas         :   : esc-t - mouse tools              :
  : esc-o - open                     :   : esc-z - undo                     :
  : esc-s - save                     :   : esc-r - redo                     :
  :..................................:   : esc-V - view mode                :
                                         : esc-i - file/canvas info         :
  .. Canvas Size .....................   : esc-I - character inspector      :
  : esc-" - insert line              :   : tab - focus canvas or colors     :
  : esc-: - delete line              :   : ctrl-l - redraw screen           :
  : esc-> - insert column            :   : esc-h - help                     :
  : esc-< - delete column            :   : esc-q - quit                     :
  :..................................:   :..................................:

                                                            Prev   Next
                                                            Frame  Frame
                                                            |      |
Main   Frame     Speed     Frame   Play/Edit  Mouse   First | Play |  Last
Menu   Number      |       Delay   Range      Tools   Frame | Pause|  Frame
 |     |           |        |       |          |         |  |  |   |  |
[Menu] F: 1/8    <FPS>: 8   D: 0.00 R: 1/8   [Move]      |< << |> >> >|  


You can create a custom startup file where you can set a theme.

If you did not already do so during installation, you can install a sample configuration and some themes into ~/.durdraw/ with the command:


This will place durdraw.ini into ~/.durdraw/ and the themes into ~/.durdraw/themes/.

Here is an example durdraw.ini file:

; Durdraw 0.20 Configuration File
theme-16: ~/.durdraw/themes/purpledrank-16.dtheme.ini
theme-256: ~/.durdraw/themes/mutedform-256.dtheme.ini

The option 'theme-16' sets the path to the theme file used in 16-color mode, and 'theme-256' sets the theme file used for 256-color mode.

You can also load a custom theme file using the --theme command-line argument and passing it the path to a theme file, or disable themes entirely with the --notheme command line option.

Here is an example 16-color theme:

name: 'Purple Drank'
mainColor: 6
clickColor: 3
borderColor: 6
clickHighlightColor: 5
notificationColor: 4
promptColor: 4

and a 256-color theme:

name: 'Muted Form'
mainColor: 104
clickColor: 37
borderColor: 236
clickHighlightColor: 15
notificationColor: 87
promptColor: 189
menuItemColor: 189
menuTitleColor: 159
menuBorderColor: 24

The colors and theme options are as follows:

colors for 16-color mode: 1 black 2 blue 3 green 4 cyan 5 red 6 magenta 7 yellow 8 white

color codes numbers for 256-color mode can be found in Durdraw's 256-color selector.

mainColor: the color of most text
clickColor: the color of buttons (clickable items)
clickHighlightColor: the color the button changes to for a moment when clicked
borderColor: the color of the border around a drawing
notificationColor: the color of notification messages
promptColor: the color of user prompt messages
menuItemColor: the color of menu items
menuTitleColor: the color of menu titles
menuBorderColor: the color of the border around menus


* To use themes, copy durdraw.ini to ~/.durdraw/ and edit it. Durdraw
  will also check in the current directory for durdraw.ini.

* The mouse can be used for moving the cursor (even over SSH) and
  clicking buttons, if your terminal supports Xterm mouse reporting.
  In iTerm2 this is under Profiles, Terminal and Terminal Emulation.


For PNG and animated GIF export, install Ansilove ( and make sure it is is in your path. PNG and GIF export only work in 16-color mode for now.


Q: Don't TheDraw and some other programs already do ANSI animation?

A: Yes, but traditional ANSI animation does not provide any control over timing, instead relying on terminal baud rate to govern the playback speed. This does not work well on modern systems without baud rate emulation. Durdraw gives the artist fine control over frame rate, and delays per frame. Traditional ANSI animation also updates the animation one character at a time, while Durdraw updates the animation a full frame at a time. This makes it less vulnerable to visual corruption from things like errant terminal characters, resized windows, line noise, etc. Finally, unlike TheDraw, which requires MS-DOS, Durdraw runs in modern Unicode terminals.

Q: Can I run Durdraw in Windows?

A: Short answer: It's not supported, but it seems to work fine in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Long answer: Some versions run fine in Windows Command Prompt, Windows Terminal, etc, without WSL, but it's not tested or supported. If you want to help make Durdraw work better in Windows, please help by testing, submitting bug reports and submitting patches.

Q: Can I run Durdraw on Amiga, MS-DOS, Classic MacOS, iOS, Android, etc?

A: Probably not easily. Durdraw requires Python 3 and Ncurses. If your platform can support these, it will probably run. However, the file format for Durdraw movies is a plain text JSON format. It should be possible to support this format in different operating systems and in different applications. See for more details on the .dur file format.

Q: Does Durdraw support IBM-PC ANSI art?

A: Yes! IBM-PC ANSI art popular in the "ANSI Art Scene" uses Code Page 437 character encoding, which usually needs to be translated to work with modern terminals. When Durdraw encounters these files, it will convert them to Unicode and carry on. When you save ANSI files, it will ask if you want to use CP437 or Utf-8 encoding.

Q: I only see 8 colors in 16 color mode. Why?

A: Look in your terminal setting for "Use bright colors for bold," or a similarly named option. Durdraw's 16-color mode, like many vintage terminals (including MS-DOS), uses the Bold escape codes to tell the terminal the "bright" colors. This provides compatibility with many older systems. However, some terminals do not support or enable this option by default. Additionally, your terminal decides what colors to assign to the lower 16 colors.

Q: Some or all of the F1-F10 keys do not work for me! What can I do?

A: You can use ESC-1 through ESC-0 as a replacement for F1-F10. Some terminals will map this to Alt-1 through Alt-0. You can also use the following settings in some terminals to enable the F1-F10 keys:

  • GNOME Terminal: Click: Menu -> Edit -> Preferences -> General, and uncheck the box:

    • Enable the menu accelerator key (F10 by default)
  • Xfce4-Terminal: Click: Menu -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced, and check the 2 boxes:

    • Disable menu shortcut key (F10 by default)
    • Disable help window shortcut key (F1 by default)


Special thanks to the following individuals and organizations for featuring Durdraw in their content:

Linux Magazine -

Linux Voice Magazine -

Bryan Lunduke at The Lunduke Journal -

Korben -

Jill Bryant and Venn Stone at Linux Game Cast -

LinuxLinks -

Harald Markus Wirth (hmw) has made a Web .Dur Player in JavaScript:

If you write, podcast, vlog, or create content about Durdraw, or if you simply enjoy using it, I'd love to hear from you! Please reach out to me via the GitHub project page or at


Your support means a lot to Durdraw! As a free and open-source project, your donations fuel my motivation to keep improving this software. Thank you for considering a contribution to help sustain and enhance this project.

Contributions help cover essential costs like development time, domain registration, and web hosting.

You can contribute to this project using any of these platforms:

Paypal -

Buymeacoffee -

Patreon -

Other ways to support Durdraw include reporting bugs, providing feedback, and contributing code. Please refer to the file for information and guidelines.

If you need assistance or have questions about Durdraw, feel free to reach out to us on GitHub. We're happy to help!


There are community discussions on Github, where people post art made with Durdraw. Check it out:

We also have a Discord server for Durdraw users. Join us:

If you are feeling really old school, you can try the #durdraw IRC channel on


Developer: Sam Foster For a full list of contributors, see the github page below.

Home page:


ANSI and ASCII artists: cmang, H7, LDA


Durdraw is Copyright (c) 2009-2024 Sam Foster All rights reserved.

The BSD Daemon is Copyright 1988 by Marshall Kirk McKusick.

This software is distributed under the BSD 3-Clause License. See LICENSE file for details.