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Feb 25, 2018
Jun 6, 2022

Master Build Status   1.12 Build Status   Latest Release

About • Gallery • Packages • Development

Chafa is a command-line utility that converts image data, including animated GIFs, into graphics formats or ANSI/Unicode character art suitable for display in a terminal. It has broad feature support, allowing it to be used on devices ranging from historical teleprinters to modern terminal emulators and everything in between.

The core functionality is provided by a C library with a public, well-documented API.

Both library and frontend tools are covered by the Lesser GPL license, version 3 or later (LGPLv3+).

The official web pages and C API documentation can be found online. Check out the gallery for screenshots.


Chafa is most likely packaged for your distribution, so if you're not going to hack on it, you're better off using official packages. If you want to build the latest and greatest yourself, read on.

You will need GCC, make, Autoconf, Automake, Libtool and the GLib development package installed to compile Chafa from its git repository. If you want to build the command-line tool chafa and not just the library, you will additionally need development packages for:

  • FreeType2. Often packaged as libfreetype6-dev or freetype2-devel.
  • libjpeg (optional). Look for libjpeg-dev, libjpeg62-devel or libjpeg8-devel.
  • librsvg (optional). Look for librsvg2-dev or librsvg-devel.
  • libtiff (optional). Look for libtiff5-dev or libtiff-devel.
  • libwebp (optional). Look for libwebp-dev or libwebp-devel.

If you want to build documentation, you will also need gtk-doc.

Start by cloning the repository:

$ git clone

Then cd to the toplevel directory and issue the following shell commands:

$ ./
$ make
$ sudo make install

That should do it!