How to view images from Linux terminal

Linux has many GUI applications for viewing images. But I have never tried any CLI applications to see it.

Fortunately while working with the ImageMagick tool I got a command to view an image from the terminal.

The command name is “display”, which is part of the ImageMagick tool. This is a great tool that allows NIX users to view images from the terminal.

Also, I got another great tool called FIM for this purpose. We will show you how to install and use it to view images from the Linux terminal.

These commands use the system’s framebuffer to display images directly from the command line.

How to View Images from Terminal Using display Command

ImageMagick is a free and open source, feature-rich, command-line based image manipulation tool. It used to create, edit, compose, or convert bitmap images.

It can read and write images in a variety of formats (over 200) including PNG, JPEG, GIF, PDF, SVG and etc,.

It can resize, mirror, rotate, transform images, adjust image colors, apply various special effects, etc,. It supports batch process, which allow you to processes all images at once.

How to Install ImageMagick?

The ImageMagick package is included in the official repository of most Linux distributions. Use the distribution package manager to install it.

Make a note: Make sure you already have “Development Tools” installed on your Linux system as a prerequisite for this.

For RHEL/CentOS 6/7 systems, use the yum command to install ImageMagick.

$ sudo yum install -y ImageMagick ImageMagick-devel

For RHEL/CentOS 8 and Fedora systems, use the dnf command to install ImageMagick.

$ sudo dnf install -y ImageMagick ImageMagick-devel

For Debian/Ubuntu systems, use the apt command or apt-get command to install ImageMagick.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install imagemagick

For openSUSE systems, use the zypper command to install ImageMagick

$ sudo zypper install -y ImageMagick

To view any image file, run display command as follows. You can close the image by pressing the “Esc/q” button.

$ display bird.jpg

If you want to open the image with the specified size of the window, use the “-geometry” flag.

$ display -geometry 1000x600 ~/Downloads/bird.jpg

You can also input position information of the image with display command. The below command open your image 800 pixels from the top and 800 pixels from the top left corner of your desktop.

$ display -geometry 1000x600+800+800 ~/Downloads/bird.jpg

If you want to resize the image with the display command, use the following format.

$ display -resize 600x400 ~/Downloads/

Alternatively, you can use percentage to resize the image.

$ display -resize 50% ~/Downloads/bird.jpg

How to View Images from the Terminal Using fim Command

FIM is a lightweight global image viewer designed specifically for Linux. But it is not limited to Linux and can be configured to run on other OS such as MS-Windows.

It’s highly customizable and scriptable image viewer for users who are familiar with software like the VIM text editor.

It displays the image in full screen and can be easily controlled using the keyboard shortcuts. It is very lightweight tool because it only depends on certain libraries.

It can open many file formats and it can display images in the following video modes.

  • Graphically, with the Linux framebuffer device
  • Graphically, under X/Xorg, using the SDL library
  • Graphically, under X/Xorg, using the Imlib2 library
  • Rendered as ASCII Art in any textual console, using the AAlib library

The right video mode gets auto-detected or selected at runtime, and may be opted in/out before build at configure time, if desired. FIM stands for Fbi IMproved, which is the fork of the Fbi Image viewer.

FIM can be easily installed on Debian/Ubuntu based systems as the package is available in the distribution official repository. For other distributions, you may need to compile it from the source.

$ sudo apt install fim

Once installed, you can display an image using the following command.

$ fim bird.jpg

You can automatically zoom an image using the “-a” option.

$ fim -a bird.jpg

If you want to open multiple image files in the current directory, use the wildcard to open them all. Use the “Pageup/Down” keyboard shortcuts to move to the next or previous image.

$ fim -a *.jpg

To view the image in ASCII format, you can use the “-t” flag.

$ fim -t bird.jpg

The below keyboard shortcuts allow you to control the images.

  • PageUp/Down : Prev/Next image
  • +/- : Zoom in/out
  • a : Autoscale
  • w : Fit to width
  • ESC/q : Quit

About Magesh Maruthamuthu

Love to play with all Linux distribution

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