Chafa – terminal graphics image viewer

We’ve recently reviewed two terminal-based image viewers, viu and timg, that support the Kitty Graphics Protocol. These image viewers let you view high resolution images direct in a terminal.

This review looks at a third terminal-based image viewer that supports the Kitty Graphics Protocol. It’s named Chafa, shorthand for Character Art Facsimile. This is an image-to-text converter. It’s free and open source software written in the C programming language.

Chafa lets you view images as well as animated GIFs. Its core functionality is provided with a C library.


We first installed the Ubuntu package. At the time of writing this review, the package in Ubuntu’s repositories (Ubuntu 22.04) gives version 1.8.0 of Chafa. That isn’t the latest release of Chafa. And if you’re running an older version of Ubuntu, you get an even older version of Chafa. More importantly, basic support for the Kitty graphics protocol was not added until version 1.8.0.

Unless you’re running Ubuntu 22.04, we therefore don’t recommend installing the Ubuntu package. Instead, given that the project is releasing new versions on a very frequent basis, we prefer cloning the project’s GitHub repository and compiling the source code. It’s an easy process to follow.

If you’re installing Chafa on a vanilla Ubuntu system, you’ll need various packages installed first including libglib2.0-dev, libfreetype6-dev, autoconf, automake, libtool, pkg-config, git, make, and gcc

Next, clone the GitHub repository:

$ git clone

Now change into the project’s directory and run the script to generate the configure script:

$ cd chafa
$ ./

We can then compile the software. We are using the flag -j6 to speed up the compilation process.

$ make -j6

Install the software with the command:

$ sudo make install

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation / Summary