Your company here — click to reach over 10,000 unique daily visitors

ppmtosixel - Man Page

convert a PPM image to DEC sixel format

Examples (TL;DR)







This program is part of Netpbm(1).

ppmtosixel reads a PPM image as input and produces sixel commands (SIX) as output.  The output is formatted for color printing, e.g. for a DEC LJ250 color inkjet printer.

If RGB values from the PPM file do not have maxval=100, ppmtosixel rescales them to maxval 100.  A printer control header and a color assignment table begin the SIX file.  Image data is in a compressed format by default.  A printer control footer ends the image file.


In addition to the options common to all programs based on libnetpbm (most notably -quiet, see Common Options ), ppmtosixel recognizes the following command line options:


If you specify this, each pixel will be explicitly described in the image file.  If -raw is not specified, output will default to compressed format in which identical adjacent pixels are replaced by "repeat pixel" commands.  A raw file is often an order of magnitude larger than a compressed file and prints much slower.


If you don't specify -margin, the image will start at the left margin (of the window, paper, or whatever).  If you do specify -margin, a 1.5 inch left margin will offset the image.


Generally, sixel files must reach the printer unfiltered. Use the lpr -x option or cat filename > /dev/tty0?.


Upon rescaling, truncation of the least significant bits of RGB values may result in poor color conversion.  If the original PPM maxval was greater than 100, rescaling also reduces the image depth.  While the actual RGB values from the ppm file are more or less retained, the color palette of the LJ250 may not match the colors on your screen. This seems to be a printer limitation.

See Also



Copyright (C) 1991 by Rick Vinci.

Document Source

This manual page was generated by the Netpbm tool 'makeman' from HTML source.  The master documentation is at



26 April 1991 netpbm documentation