xpmtoppm man page

xpmtoppm — convert an X11 pixmap to a PPM image



[--alphaout={alpha-filename,-}] [-verbose]



This program is part of Netpbm(1).

xpbtoppm reads an X11 pixmap (XPM version 1 or 3) as input and produces a PPM image as output.



xpmtoppm creates a PBM file containing the transparency mask for the image.  If the input image doesn't contain transparency information, the alpha-filename file contains all white (opaque) transparency values.  If you don't specify --alphaout, xpmtoppm does not generate a transparency file, and if the input image has transparency information, xpmtoppm simply discards it.

If you specify - as the filename, xpmtoppm writes the transparency output to Standard Output and discards the image.

See pamcomp(1) for one way to use the transparency output file.

xpmtoppm can't handle a line longer than 8K characters in the XPM input.  If an input line exceeds this limit, xpmtoppm quits with an error message to that effect.  Before Netpbm 10.30 (October 2005), the limit was 2K.


xpmtoppm prints information about its processing on Standard Error.


xpmtoppm recognizes only a limited set of the features of XPM Version 3; i.e. it rejects as invalid many valid XPM images.

The only place a comment block is valid is starting in Column 1 of the line immediately after "static char ...".

In addition, ppmtoxpm properly recognizes any single-line comment that begins in Column 1 in the color table part of the file.

There must be for every pixel a default colorname for a color type visual.

Before Netpbm 10.58 (March 2012), zero bytes per pixel causes the program to fail with a message about premature EOF on input.

See Also

ppmtoxpm(1), pamcomp(1), ppm(1)


Copyright (C) 1991 by Jef Poskanzer.

Upgraded to work with XPM version 3 by Arnaud Le Hors<lehors@mirsa.inria.fr>, Tue Apr 9 1991.

Document Source

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


Referenced By

ppmtoxpm(1), sunicontopnm(1).

31 December 2011 netpbm documentation