chafa /ˈtʃafa/ (adj): cheap, low quality; lame

The future is now

The premier UX of the 21st century just got a little better: With chafa, you can now view very, very reasonable approximations of pictures and animations without leaving the comfort of your favorite terminal emulator. The power of ANSI X3.64 compels you!



You can get fair results by using only U+2580 (upper half block). This is supported with chafa --symbols vhalf. However, the default is to combine a greater range of symbols.


Chafa packages are available for Arch, Debian, Fedora, Gentoo and Ubuntu. Check your Linux distribution's repositories, or look for it on

Chafa can also be compiled from source in a Unix-like environment, either from a tarball release or directly from the Git repository.

You need the GLib and ImageMagick development files in order to perform the build. These are usually available from your package manager.


The latest release is version 1.0.1 (2018-12-18).

  1. Download the latest release (signature).
  2. ./configure && make && sudo make install

Git repository

In order to build from Git, you will need Automake, Libtool and optionally the Docbook tools if you want to generate the documentation.

  1. git clone
  2. ./ && make && sudo make install

You may also browse the git repository.


The core functionality of Chafa is implemented as a shared library with a stable C API. It has an online reference manual. There is also a man page for the command-line tool.


chafa is written and maintained by Hans Petter Jansson ( and is licensed under the LGPLv3+.