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Simple X Image Viewer
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Simple X Image Viewer

sxiv is an alternative to feh and qiv. Its only dependencies besides xlib are imlib2, libexif and giflib. The primary goal for writing sxiv is to create an image viewer, which only has the most basic features required for fast image viewing (the ones I want). It has vi key bindings and works nicely with tiling window managers. Its code base should be kept small and clean to make it easy for you to dig into it and customize it for your needs.


  • Basic image operations, e.g. zooming, panning, rotating
  • Customizable key and mouse button mappings (in config.h)
  • Thumbnail mode: grid of selectable previews of all images
  • Ability to cache thumbnails for fast re-loading
  • Basic support for multi-frame images
  • Load all frames from GIF files and play GIF animations
  • Display image information in status bar


Image mode:


Thumbnail mode:



sxiv is built using the commands:

$ make
# make install

Please note, that the latter one requires root privileges. By default, sxiv is installed using the prefix "/usr/local", so the full path of the executable will be "/usr/local/bin/sxiv".

You can install sxiv into a directory of your choice by changing the second command to:

# make PREFIX="/your/dir" install

The build-time specific settings of sxiv can be found in the file config.h. Please check and change them, so that they fit your needs. If the file config.h does not already exist, then you have to create it with the following command:

$ make config.h


Please see the man page for information on how to use sxiv.

Download & Changelog

You can browse the source code repository on GitHub or get a copy using git with the following command:

git clone

Stable releases

v1.3.2 (December 20, 2015)

  • external key handler gets file paths on stdin, not as arguments
  • Cache out-of-view thumbnails in the background
  • Apply gamma correction to thumbnails

v1.3.1 (November 16, 2014)

  • Fixed build error, caused by delayed config.h creation
  • Fixed segfault when run with -c

v1.3 (October 24, 2014)

  • Extract thumbnails from EXIF tags (requires libexif)
  • Zoomable thumbnails, supported sizes defined in config.h
  • Fixed build error with giflib version >= 5.1.0

v1.2 (April 24, 2014)

  • Added external key handler, called on keys prefixed with Ctrl-x
  • New keybinding {/} to change gamma (by András Mohari)
  • Support for slideshows, enabled with -S option & toggled with s
  • Added application icon (created by 0ion9)
  • Checkerboard background for alpha layer
  • Option -o only prints files marked with m key
  • Fixed rotation/flipping of multi-frame images (gifs)

v1.1.1 (June 2, 2013)

  • Various bug fixes

v1.1 (March 30, 2013)

  • Added status bar on bottom of window with customizable content
  • New keyboard shortcuts \/|: flip image vertically/horizontally
  • New keyboard shortcut Ctrl-6: go to last/alternate image
  • Added own EXIF orientation handling, removed dependency on libexif
  • Fixed various bugs

v1.0 (October 31, 2011)

  • Support for multi-frame images & GIF animations
  • POSIX compliant (IEEE Std 1003.1-2001)

v0.9 (August 17, 2011)

  • Made key and mouse mappings fully configurable in config.h
  • Complete code refactoring

v0.8.2 (June 29, 2011)

  • POSIX-compliant Makefile; compiles under NetBSD

v0.8.1 (May 8, 2011)

  • Fixed fullscreen under window managers, which are not fully EWMH-compliant

v0.8 (April 18, 2011)

  • Support for thumbnail caching
  • Ability to run external commands (e.g. jpegtran, convert) on current image

v0.7 (February 26, 2011)

  • Sort directory entries when using -r command line option
  • Hide cursor in image mode
  • Full functional thumbnail mode, use Return key to switch between image and thumbnail mode

v0.6 (February 16, 2011)

  • Bug fix: Correctly display filenames with umlauts in window title
  • Basic support of thumbnails

v0.5 (February 6, 2011)

  • New command line option: -r: open all images in given directories
  • New key shortcuts: w: resize image to fit into window; W: resize window to fit to image

v0.4 (February 1, 2011)

  • New command line option: -F, -g: use fixed window dimensions and apply a given window geometry
  • New key shortcut: r: reload current image

v0.3.1 (January 30, 2011)

  • Bug fix: Do not set setuid bit on executable when using make install
  • Pan image with mouse while pressing middle mouse button

v0.3 (January 29, 2011)

  • New command line options: -d, -f, -p, -s, -v, -w, -Z, -z
  • More mouse mappings: Go to next/previous image with left/right click, scroll image with mouse wheel (horizontally if Shift key is pressed), zoom image with mouse wheel if Ctrl key is pressed

v0.2 (January 23, 2011)

  • Bug fix: Handle window resizes correctly
  • New keyboard shortcuts: g/G: go to first/last image; [/]: go 10 images back/forward
  • Support for mouse wheel zooming (by Dave Reisner)
  • Added fullscreen mode

v0.1 (January 21, 2011)

  • Initial release
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