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dcmp2pgm - Man Page

Read DICOM image and presentation state and render bitmap


dcmp2pgm [options] dcmimage-in [bitmap-out]


The dcmp2pgm utility renders a monochrome DICOM image under the control of a grayscale softcopy presentation state object into a monochrome bitmap with 8 bits/pixel. The bitmap is stored either as 'Portable Gray Map' (PGM) or as a DICOM secondary capture image object. If no presentation state is read from file, a default presentation state is created. The utility allows one to read a configuration file of the Softcopy Presentation State Viewer upon startup. In this case, the settings from the configuration file affecting the rendering of the presentation state are used, e.g. a correction of the gray scale range according to Barten's model (DICOM part 14) can be performed if the characteristic curve of the display system is available and defined in the configuration file.


dcmimage-in  input DICOM image

bitmap-out   output DICOM image or PGM bitmap


general options

  -h   --help
         print this help text and exit

         print version information and exit

         print expanded command line arguments

  -q   --quiet
         quiet mode, print no warnings and errors

  -v   --verbose
         verbose mode, print processing details

  -d   --debug
         debug mode, print debug information

  -ll  --log-level  [l]evel: string constant
         (fatal, error, warn, info, debug, trace)
         use level l for the logger

  -lc  --log-config  [f]ilename: string
         use config file f for the logger

processing options

  -p   --pstate  [f]ilename: string
         process using presentation state file

  -c   --config  [f]ilename: string
         process using settings from configuration file

  -f   --frame  [f]rame: integer
         process using image frame f (default: 1)

output format

  -D   --pgm
         save image as PGM (default)

  +D   --dicom
         save image as DICOM secondary capture

output options

  +S   --save-pstate  [f]ilename: string
         save presentation state to file



Please note that the dcmp2pgm tool does not render all aspects that are defined by the Grayscale Softcopy Presentation State (GSPS) object but only those that are supported by the underlying DCMTK classes. In particular, textual and graphical annotations will not be visible in the output image. The reason is that these aspects of a GSPS object are typically rendered by DICOMscope, the graphical user interface that is put on top of the related DCMTK classes and written in Java.

Also concepts that were introduced after the initial definition of the GSPS IOD (see Supplement 33) are ignored. This includes Supplement 120 with its extended features like e.g. Compound Graphics.


The level of logging output of the various command line tools and underlying libraries can be specified by the user. By default, only errors and warnings are written to the standard error stream. Using option --verbose also informational messages like processing details are reported. Option --debug can be used to get more details on the internal activity, e.g. for debugging purposes. Other logging levels can be selected using option --log-level. In --quiet mode only fatal errors are reported. In such very severe error events, the application will usually terminate. For more details on the different logging levels, see documentation of module 'oflog'.

In case the logging output should be written to file (optionally with logfile rotation), to syslog (Unix) or the event log (Windows) option --log-config can be used. This configuration file also allows for directing only certain messages to a particular output stream and for filtering certain messages based on the module or application where they are generated. An example configuration file is provided in <etcdir>/logger.cfg.

Command Line

All command line tools use the following notation for parameters: square brackets enclose optional values (0-1), three trailing dots indicate that multiple values are allowed (1-n), a combination of both means 0 to n values.

Command line options are distinguished from parameters by a leading '+' or '-' sign, respectively. Usually, order and position of command line options are arbitrary (i.e. they can appear anywhere). However, if options are mutually exclusive the rightmost appearance is used. This behavior conforms to the standard evaluation rules of common Unix shells.

In addition, one or more command files can be specified using an '@' sign as a prefix to the filename (e.g. @command.txt). Such a command argument is replaced by the content of the corresponding text file (multiple whitespaces are treated as a single separator unless they appear between two quotation marks) prior to any further evaluation. Please note that a command file cannot contain another command file. This simple but effective approach allows one to summarize common combinations of options/parameters and avoids longish and confusing command lines (an example is provided in file <datadir>/dumppat.txt).


The dcmp2pgm utility will attempt to load DICOM data dictionaries specified in the DCMDICTPATH environment variable. By default, i.e. if the DCMDICTPATH environment variable is not set, the file <datadir>/dicom.dic will be loaded unless the dictionary is built into the application (default for Windows).

The default behavior should be preferred and the DCMDICTPATH environment variable only used when alternative data dictionaries are required. The DCMDICTPATH environment variable has the same format as the Unix shell PATH variable in that a colon (':') separates entries. On Windows systems, a semicolon (';') is used as a separator. The data dictionary code will attempt to load each file specified in the DCMDICTPATH environment variable. It is an error if no data dictionary can be loaded.


<etcdir>/dcmpstat.cfg - sample configuration file


Fri Apr 22 2022 Version 3.6.7 OFFIS DCMTK