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[FAQ] ASCII Art - answers to frequently asked questions

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Mar 4, 2011, 3:05:38 PM3/4/11

Archive-name: arts/ascii
X-Archive-name: ascii-art/faq
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Last-changed: 2007-06-27 cjr
Compiler: CJRandall <>
Copyright: Public display of this document in proportional-fonts is forbidden

| | : : :: \ \ ;;
J J : : :: \ \ ;;
L L : : __ _ _________ \ \ ;;
| | : : / |`| |`|___ ___|`-.\ \ ;;
J J : : / . | | | `-.| |`-. `-.`\ \ ;;
L L : : / /| | | | | | `-. `-\ \ ;;
| | : : / /_| | | | | | `-. \ \. ;;
J J : : / ___ | | | | | `-\ \`-.
L L : : / /`-.| | | |___ | | _ \ \-.`-._
| | : : /_/____|_|_|_____|_|_|_(_) _ \ \ `-._`:
J J : : |__________________________| `-. \ \-.,-'
L L : : _ _ _ _ _ ___ `-. `-. \ \ |
| | :_: /\(_`/ `-| |`-_/\-| )-_| `-. `-. `-. \ \|
J J | | /--\_)\_,_|_|__/--\|_\__|__ `-. `-._`-\ \
L L|_| |___________________________|`-. `-._ `-.\ \
| | | _____ ___ ___ `-.`-._ `-._ \ ,!`-.
J J | | ___|`/ _ \`-._/ _ \`--. `-._`--._`-'||`-'
L L | | |_ / /_\ \ / / \ \ `-._ `--. `-,+.`-._
__-------_ | _|`/ _____ \ \ \_/ /_._ `--._ `-.|X||-./
| |/|_|_./_/_____\_\_\_____/=\`-._ `-. |X||.|
| _,--------------.____ -========\_(A)`-.._ `-|X||\
Ool | _| ` |_`--. `-- |X||/
[Subject:] (FAQ) Welcome to ASCII art

__ __ __ _,
\\ \\ / ___ '|| ___ ___ __ _ _ ___ _/|_ ___
\\ /\\ / //_\) || // \)// \\ ||'||'|| //_\) || // \\
\/ \/ \\__,_||_\\__,\\_//_||_||_||_\\__, \|_\\_//

___ ___ ____ ____
/\ (( / // | || || ___ _,_ _/|_
/_\\ \\ (( || || __\\'||\) ||
_/ _\\_/__)) \\__,_||_ _||_ ((_||_||_ \|_

Answers to frequently asked questions about ASCII art
On the Web, the FAQ and other useful documents can be found in the
ASCII art Documentation Archive (ADA), at the following locations:-
*** There is a wealth of information about ASCII Art ***
*** in the ASCII Documents Archive ***
International Mirrors
======================================================================== (Lulea, Sweden) (London, UK) (Calgary, Canada)
[1] What's alt.ascii-art?
[2] What is ASCII art?
[3] What does ASCII mean?
[4] Why do all the pictures look strange?
[5] What font do you use for ASCII art?
[6] What program do you use for ASCII art?
[7] How do I draw my own ASCII art?
[8] Can someone do me some kewl lettering?
[9] Where can I find Figlet's address?
[10] Can I copy or post that ASCII picture for myself?
[11] What way works best to ask for a picture of something?
[12] What should I know before posting to alt.ascii-art?
[13] What to NOT post to alt.ascii-art? [da roolz]
[14] Have a picture or graphic and would like it Asciified?
[15] How do I convert a picture or graphic to ASCII art?
[16] How do I put ASCII art on a webpage?
[17] What are ASCII art signature files?
[18] What is ASCII art animation?
[19] What does ObAscii mean?
[20] The ASCII Art Rough-Guide to m$.Outlook?
[21] Where can I find pictures/tutorials/infos/chatrooms/experts?
[22] Historacle's What types of ASCII art are there?
[X1] The Ascii Art 10-Commandments

[1] What's alt.ascii-art? What's going on here?
You're probably reading this because it's been posted to
news:alt.ascii-art, news:alt.ascii-art.animation or rec.arts.ascii.
If you're not, jump in and take a look. In these Usenet groups
people discuss ASCII art, request ASCII art, post ASCII art, post
improved versions or variations of other people's ASCII art, and
generally have fun.

[2] What is ASCII art?
ASCII art is any sort of pictures or diagrams drawn with the
printable characters in the ASCII character set.
(For a definition of ASCII, see Question 3.)

:-) Probably the most common ASCII art picture is the smiley (-:
=) but it can get a lot more sophisticated than that. (=
.-" +' "-. Here's a small ASCII picture of
/.'.'A_'*`.\ a snow-scene paperweight,
|:.*'/\-\. ':| drawn by Joan Stark:
\:~^~^~^~^:/ If this picture looks very strange and
/`-....-'\ you can't really tell what it is,
jgs / \ don't panic -- see Question 5.

People use ASCII art for a number of reasons. Here are some of them.
* It is the most universal computer art form in the world --
every computer system capable of displaying multi-line text can
display ASCII art, without needing to have a graphics mode or
support a particular graphics file format.
* An ASCII picture is hundreds of times smaller in file size
than its GIF or BMP equivalent, while still giving a good idea
of what something looks like.
* It's easy to copy from one file to another (just cut and paste).
* It's fun!

[3] What does ASCII mean?
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
7-bit as defined in ISO-646 is a basic set of 128 numbered symbols
which almost all kinds of computer can display. Here are the ones
that are used for ASCII art:

032 [space] 048 0 064 @ 080 P 096 ` 112 p
033 ! 049 1 065 A 081 Q 097 a 113 q
034 " 050 2 066 B 082 R 098 b 114 r
035 # 051 3 067 C 083 S 099 c 115 s
036 $ 052 4 068 D 084 T 100 d 116 t
037 % 053 5 069 E 085 U 101 e 117 u
038 & 054 6 070 F 086 V 102 f 118 v
039 ' 055 7 071 G 087 W 103 g 119 w
040 ( 056 8 072 H 088 X 104 h 120 x
041 ) 057 9 073 I 089 Y 105 i 121 y
042 * 058 : 074 J 090 Z 106 j 122 z
043 + 059 ; 075 K 091 [ 107 k 123 {
044 , 060 < 076 L 092 \ 108 l 124 |
045 - 061 = 077 M 093 ] 109 m 125 }
046 . 062 > 078 N 094 ^ 110 n 126 ~
047 / 063 ? 079 O 095 _ 111 o

There are other characters in the set (with the numbers 0 - 31 and
127), but they can do bad stuff to Usenet readers, so PLEASE DON'T
USE THEM in your pictures (except characters 10 and or 13 which
are used to insert a new-line by a variety of Operating Systems).

[4] Why do the pictures look strange?
If one particular picture posted to this group looks faulty, but the
rest of them look fine, then its most likely a problem with that
particular picture, or with the poster's Usenet program. But if
*all* the pictures look bad, then your Usenet reader may be set to
display messages in a proportional font (see Question 5).

* If there are a lot of almost-blank lines in the picture, then
the message is probably suffering from `wrapping'. This
wrapping may be being done by your newsreader; see if it has an
option called `wrap long lines' or similar, and make sure it is
turned off. If this doesn't work, then the wrapping was probably
done by the news program of the person who sent the picture, in
which case there's not much you can do -- everybody else will be
seeing the same thing.

* If there are a lot of < and > symbols in the picture, with
words like HTML, FONT COLOR, B, I, and so on inside them, then
the picture has been sent in HTML format and your newsreader
does not understand HTML (most newsreaders don't).

[5] What font do you use for ASCII art?
ASCII art is created using a fixed-width font (like on a traditional
typewriter), because this is the only way to make it portable.
However, several Usenet readers now display messages in a
proportional font (where different characters are different widths).

The following two lines tell you which kind of font you're using.
The arrow ends up in a different place for different font types and
is right most of the time:

You are using a [Proportional] [Monospaced] font
................................. --^--

Also, to see what your program is doing, look at these two lines:
If they look the same length, you're using a fixed-width font and
all should be ok. If the second line is longer than the first, you
need to change your settings to use a fixed-width font.

In Netscape Messenger, this option is set in
Edit > Preferences > Mail & Newsgroups.
In Outlook Express, the option is set in
View > Options > Fonts (see Question 20)
In Forte Agent, the option is set in
Options > Display Preferences > Fonts
and Free Agent, the option is set in
Options > General Preferences > Fonts
The AOL newsreader can not, at the time of writing,
display Usenet messages in a fixed-width font at all.

Detailed information on how to configure other Usenet readers is
available at the:
ASCII-Art Documentation Archive (see the beginning of this FAQ).
If all else fails, copy the text of the picture from
your program and paste it into a text editor (such as Notepad).
It's a hassle, but at least you'll get to see the pictures.

[6] What program do you use for ASCII art?
You can create ASCII art in any text editor, [jorn barger]
such as: Notepad in Windows,
SimpleText or BBEdit in MacOS,
nedit, vi, vim, or pico in Unix, _+m"m+_
BEd or AZ in AmigaOS, edit in DOS, Jp qh
or any of the various Emacs editors. O O
Yb dY
A 'quick-start' program for learning "Y5m2Y"
is JavE, a free Java program, that can be
obtained from:-

Some editors have features which make them more
suitable for ASCII art than others, but that is
largely a matter of personal opinion. Features which
are both useful for ASCII art and available in many
text editors, include the following:-

* Overtype, also known as overstrike: removes the need for
you to constantly realign characters using the Backspace,
Space, and Delete keys. Try the Insert key if there is one
on your keyboard, or your program's Options or Preferences.

* Rectangular copy and paste: allows you to select rectangular
sections of text (not just rows or parts of rows). On programs
which have this feature, it is usually done by holding down a
key such as Ctrl while selecting text.

* Find/Change: allows you to change all the characters of one
value to another (eg: change all the ~s to "s).

[7] How do I draw my own ASCII art?
Unfortunately, there aren't many text books on the subject. :-)
A good way to learn is to study how someone has made a picture.
What characters are chosen and how the characters are laid out.
How a texture is made.

########:::::::::::######## The best way to learn is to Practise.
#########:::::::::######### Draw your cat, your toaster, your
##########:::::::########## partner, your musical instruments,
###########,---.########### anything that will sit still long
##########/`---'\########## enough. Practice makes, if not
#########/ \######### perfect, then at least pretty good.
########/ \######## Whether you do small drawings (less
#######:`-._____.-':####### work involved) or large ones (easier
######::::: ( ) |::::###### to make recognizable) is up to you.
#####:::::: ) ( o:::::##### If you're interested in tutorials,
####::::: .-(_)-. :::::#### there are many available from the
###:::::: '=====' ::::::### ASCII-art Documentation Archive.
A good way to begin drawing is to \`"-.
type a row of spaces for however ) _`-.
wide you want your picture, and , : `. \
then copy this row and paste it : _ ' \
for however many rows high you ; *` _. `--._
think the picture will get. `-.-' `-.
Turn Overtype on and place the | ` `.
cursor somewhere in the middle :. . \
and begin drawing. This can save | \ . : .-' .
using Delete, Backspace, Enter : )-.; ; / :
and Space-bar keystrokes. : ; | : : ;-.
Saving this empty `canvas' as a ; / : |`-: _ `- )
read-only file for future use can ,-' / ,-' ; .-`- .' `--'
save you even more time later. `--' `---' `---' bug

Another method is by tracing a picture either onto clear-plastic
and sticking it onto the screen then opening an editor to trace
under or using an editor which allows the loading of a background
image to trace over, a process known as `water-mark'.

You can also modify existing art. Take a piece of art you think
could be improved. Make a copy. Now work on it. When you are
good at that, try to improve a really good pic. Then see if you
can fix a damaged file. Now take some small pics and put them
together into a big composite image.

When drawing ASCII art be aware that there are a few characters
that differ in size, shape and position among fonts:
' apostrophe -- tilts southwest-northeast or vertical
^ caret -- differs in size and shape
~ tilde -- appears in the middle or top
I aye -- straight line in sans-serif, with strokes in serif
try using the vertical bar (|) instead.
# hash -- hash symbol on most, currency on some old computers.

[8] Can someone do me some kewl lettering?
There is a program called Figlet which does that sort of thing
automatically -- you type in `Jane Smith', and you get back

___ __,
( / ( o _/_ /
/ __, _ _ `. _ _ , / /_
_/_(_/(_/ /_(/_ (___)/ / /_(_(__/ /_

in this and a whole lot of other fonts (see Question 9).
The ASCII art text produced by Figlet can be quite stunning,
so try it first before asking for help from the newsgroups.

IF, however, Figlet doesn't produce the kind of results you want,
THEN post to alt.ascii-art or rec.arts.ascii with your request and
ensure that you include:
* that you have already tried Figlet or don't have access to it
otherwise you will probably just get told to use it.
* a description of the kind of lettering you want, along with
any other symbols or logos which you would like incorporated
into it.

[9] Where can I find Figlet ?
The Figlet home page is at:-
and links to the FTP site:-
where you can download
versions of the program or source-code for many different platforms.

You can run Figlet on the Web by going to one of the following sites
and choosing your text and options on the Web page. Different sites
offer different options (e.g. multiple fonts at once, justification,
and limited line length). Some of these sites also provide an e-mail
Figlet service for people with browsers which don't support forms.


[10] Can I copy or post that ASCII picture for myself?
/ \ Don't assume that if somebody posts
| | something to a Usenet group, that gives
|.| you the right to use it however you like,
|.| copyright laws still apply.
|:| __ For more information, see the article:-
,_|:|_, / ) Copyright Myths FAQ:
(Oo / _I_ `10 big myths about copyright explained'
+\ \ || __| in news:news.announce.newusers.
\ \||___|
\ /.:.\-\ It is also available at:-
|.:. /-----\
/ |:<_T_>:| Generally, ASCII artists don't mind
|_____\ ::: / if you copy their pictures and
| | \ \:/ re-post them or put them on your own
| | | | Web site, as long as you don't
[nosig] \ / | \__ make any money out of them.
/ | \____\
Here are a few important considerations:-

* If the picture contains a few letters in one corner which don't
seem to be part of the picture, they're the artist's initials.
DO NOT remove these initials -- would you cut away the part of
a Van Gogh painting containing his name? Leaving the initials
on is a small price to pay for being able to use the picture
for free.

* If you're going to use a picture in your signature file, or in
a place (such as a log-in screen) which means you're going to
be using it a lot, you should really e-mail the artist (or post
to the newsgroup, if you don't know their address) and ask for
permission, because otherwise people may get the mistaken
impression that you were the one who drew the picture.

* If you find a picture you want to use, or post, but it doesn't
have initials on it, a common method of marking has been to use
the tag: Unknown. More recently the tag: [nosig] has been used.

As for posting other people's ASCII art,
after a discussion in news:alt.ascii-art _ ___
the following rules were agreed upon: #_~`--'__ `===-,
1. If an ASCII ART picture has initials `.`. `#.,//
on it, leave them on when posting it ,_\_\ ## #\
2. If an ASCII ART picture doesn't have `__.__ `####\
initials on it, mention that you ~~\ ,###'~
didn't draw it when posting it. \##'
3. If somebody posts a picture without [nosig]
initials and you have an original copy
with initials on, feel free to re-post the original version.
* The re-post ought not to be taken personally, as we all
know that ASCII art often loses proper credits.
Responses to the re-post are not necessary.

One contributor, name of Krogg, suggested the following:

1.) Ultra polite:...ya make yer own ascii and use it.
2.) Very polite:...Ya contact the author and ask if ya
can use it...
3.) polite:...Ya use it but you keep the Credits
in there like they should be.
4.) rude:...Ya use it and strip credits.
5.) Very rude:...Ya use it and claim that it Is
_Your_ very own creation...

You choose ... I think the default choice is #3 but you should
make up yer own mind....

[11] What way works best to ask for a picture of something?
Give your request the subject: `REQ:' or `[req]'
Whatever you're looking for a picture of, in the message describe
more exactly what you're looking for. Generally, the more specific
you are, the more likely you are to get some response.
If you just say something like:
`can someone draw me a fish, please'
then you may not get many replies, because people may not know
what size or feel they're wasting their time by drawing something
you won't want. If you don't have Web access, mention this fact,
otherwise you may get replies consisting only of URLs for the
kind of pictures you're looking for.
If someone is rude back to you directly, then please be patient,
since it may just be a troll trying to wind you up.
.' )) __-:!:- If you have a picture
.' .' )) and want it Ascii-fied
((__,' .' .ASCII! -:!:- see Question 14 and 15.
-:!:- ((__,'^*

[12] What should I know before posting to alt.ascii-art?
It doesn't matter if your ASCII art isn't particularly good; we'd
like to see it anyway. We won't be rude about it (although you'd
better tell us what it is, or we might ask :-), but if it shows
potential, you may find that other people will `re-diddle' it --
change a few characters, make it a bit better, and re-post it.

HOWEVER, there are a few things you should check before you
post to news:alt.ascii-art any piece of ASCII art
(see also Question 13).

* Are you sending it as PLAIN TEXT?
Turn off "send MIME message" and select "PLAIN TEXT only".

* Is it under 72 characters wide? Most news readers can only show
lines which are under either 72, 76, or 80 characters wide, so
if your picture is wider than 72 characters it may get wrapped
[see Question 4]. Also remove any unnecessary space characters
from the end of each line of the picture, to prevent lines from
being too long (and getting wrapped) without your realizing.

* If it IS over 72 characters wide?
Then a warning in the subject line [wide:110] or whatever the
original picture width and Check Your Post Output Line-Wrap
settings. [for Outlook see Question 20]
Previous versions of this FAQ used a system to prefix posts
such as: [pic] [info] [req] [big] which may be used as a guide
when providing warnings.

* Have you used any TAB characters or Control Codes?
Inserting control codes (ASCII characters 0 to 31) in a picture
can sometimes achieve interesting effect on your computer screen
or news reader, such as reversing text or changing its colour.
DO NOT post any of these pictures to news:alt.ascii-art, post to instead for two reasons:-

1. the effects that the control codes have on your news reader
are almost certainly going to be different from those on
the thousands of other news readers that other people use

2. on some news readers, control codes can cause messed up
displays, messages not appearing, or (in some cases) the
news reader crashing.

* If your first line starts with one or more spaces, stick a
dummy line (such as -- or .) above it, to prevent the spaces
from being ignored by your news program (this only applies to
some news programs, and only to the first line of the

If you're not sure about whether your message will turn out ok,
post it to a test group (such as news:alt.test or news:misc.test)
first and make sure that you can read it ok, also using a different
newsreader, if you can.

[See Question 10 for advice on posting someone else's ASCII art.]

[13] What to NOT post to alt.ascii-art? [da roolz]
[13.1] ASCII art is a very simple medium.

/\ / /\ / / /\ /\ /
\/\ \ /\ \/\ \/\ \ \ \ __ \/\ \/_ /\
\ \/ \ o \ / \/ \ \ \ \ \
_ _ _ _
___ (~ )( ~) The following List of Items (~ )( ~) ___
/ \_\ \/ / should NOT be posted to \ \/ /_/ \
| D_ ]\ \/ the Usenet groups:- \/ /[ _G |
| D _]/\ \ / /\[_ G |
\___/ / /\ \ news:alt.ascii-art / /\ \ \___/
mark (_ )( _) news:alt.ascii-art.animation (_ )( _) JavE
~ ~ news:alt.ascii-art.endless.blabla ~ ~

NOTE: supports posting of ASCII
software tools or fonts (in ZIP format) and binary images
of ASCII or other FontSet (in GIF format) and any other
ASCII art related material, but no Spam, in relation to
discussions in the alt.ascii-art newsgroups.
Use the subject header: [abpa] for easy identification.

-= List of Items =-

* Binaries, Trojans, Zombies, Virus, Spam.

* ANSI,`extended ASCII' or `high ASCII', and non-Western font art.
Post it to news:rec.arts.ascii (see Section[13.2]).
Many computer systems have an extended character set of 256 or
more characters, based on the ANSI, Unicode or BIG5 character
sets and having the first 128 characters possibly identical to
ASCII. These characters should not be sent to news:alt.ascii-art
because many computer system types do not display them properly,
even those that do, do not display them in a standard way, for
example, the Windows ANSI character set is different to the
Macintosh ANSI character set. Capture and send a GIF of it to or put it on a Web page and
post a reference to it to news:alt.ascii-art.

* HTML (HyperText Markup Language) which Web pages are written in
can be read by some Usenet readers, particularly those built-in
to Web browsers, allowing colours and animations in ASCII art,
however, few newsreaders support it and to many appears as a
jumble of <TAGS> and are totally unrecognizable,
If you have a picture which uses HTML for a particular feature
such as colors or animation, put it on a Web page and post
the URL address of the page to news:alt.ascii-art.

* JAVA, JavaScript, Flash, GIF or whatever animated ASCII art.
This relies, not only on the newsreader being able to display
HTML, but also being able to run Java or JavaScript.
Put it on a Web page and post the address to
news:alt.ascii-art.animation and news:alt.ascii-art

* Proportional Font ASCII art screws up on many readers' displays
Post it to news:rec.arts.ascii (see Section[13.2]).
Send a GIF of it to or put it
on a Web page and post a reference to it to news:alt.ascii-art

Finally, do not use any control codes, non-ASCII characters,
or word-processor-type formatting in your postings. These are
particular to your editor or computer system they will almost
certainly not have the intended effect on the systems the rest
of us use (they may even crash some Usenet readers).

[13.2] What can I post to rec.arts.ascii?

/\ / / /\ /\ / / /\ / /
\/_ \/ \ \/\ \/_ /\ \/\ \/\ \/\ \ \ \
\ \/ \/ o \ \ \ / o \ / \/ \ \

The official charter for rec.arts.ascii, as sent in the newsgroup
control message, is:

The group news:rec.arts.ascii will be an appropriate group for
postings to include, but not be limited to, the following:

o All forms of ASCII art including, but not limited to:
- Standard ASCII art.
- Animations.
- ANSI color graphics.
o Discussion about pieces of art.
o Requests for specific pieces of art, and their fulfilment.
o Questions and answers covering:
- Creating and viewing ASCII art.
- Locating FTP sites for ASCII art and related files.
o Discussion about artists in the field.

rec.arts.ascii is a moderated group meaning that all posts are
reviewed before being sent to the group. That work is done by a
robo-moderator which filters Spam and checks the posts have the
correct format before approving them. It can also target a
specific poster's traffic for human moderator approval.

Subjects must be tagged either:
[PIC] for pictures
[REQ] for requests for others to draw pictures
(people replying with pictures change the tag to [PIC])
[DIS] for general ascii art related discussion and replies.
[ADMIN] for the moderator to post important information.

>> NOTE: Please read:- (guidelines.txt)

>> for concise up-to-date list of permitted subject tags
>> and usage before posting.

The robo-mod also checks that the posts are in PLAIN TEXT only,
that line length is set to LESS than 80 characters UNLESS the
phrase [long lines] is in the BODY of the post, when the LIMIT
is then raised to 200 characters.

Cross-posting is permitted provided that:
o - it is to no more than three groups
o - the followup-to header is set to only one group.
Cross-posting to other moderated groups is NOT permitted.

[14] I have a picture and I would like it Asciified?
In this case, post a request to news:alt.ascii-art asking for
someone to `asciify' it, but
to save downloading time for people reading the messages,
if possible give the URL (Web address) of the picture instead.

If you saw the picture on a Web page, you can find out its URL by
right-clicking on it (on the Macintosh, right-clicking,
Ctrl-clicking, or holding down the mouse button) and selecting
`Open this image' (or its equivalent for your Web browser), then
copy the URL from the Location bar to your news program (make sure
you copy it exactly).

If the picture is not on a Web site anywhere, put it up on your own
site (if you have one), or get a friend to put it up on their site,
and post the URL to alt.ascii-art. If you can't do this, post your
request to the newsgroups and wait for someone to reply, then post
the picture to or e-mail to them.

[15] How do I convert a picture to ASCII art?
[15.1] programs:
There are computer programs available which convert graphics files
of a variety of formats (often GIF) to ASCII art. They go by names
such as ascgif, gifa, gifscii, and gif2ascii. Do a Web search for
any of these programs to find places where you can download them.

Try: <== new

Many think that you just put a GIF into a converter program and
out comes a perfect ASCII pic. Here are some things you can do
to improve the chances of getting a good conversion:-

o Use an 8 bit grey scale or color image instead of a 2 bit B&W.
o Use an image with a wide, even distribution of tones.
o Keep it simple, like a face or close-up of an object.
o Avoid busy backgrounds. Generally avoid bright backgrounds.
o Use an image that is tightly cropped, without a lot of waste.
o Be prepared to quickly run through a series of conversions,
you will probably not like 9 to 11 out of 12.
o It helps to do touch-up work on the converted picture,
concentrate on the focal points and important areas.

[15.2] tracing:
Another method is by tracing a picture, either onto clear-plastic
and sticking it onto the screen then opening an editor to trace
under or using an editor which allows the loading of a background
image to trace over, a process known as `water-mark'.

[15.3] image2html:
There are computer programs and web-servers available which convert
graphics files of a variety of formats (often GIF) to HTML colored
TEXT art for use on web-pages. Do a quick search on your favourite
web search-engine.

[16] How do I put ASCII art on a webpage?
HTML <CODE>, the language used in Web pages, can display ASCII art
using the "pre-formatted text" tags <PRE> </PRE> like this:-

<TITLE> Ascii art on a webpage
: __ :
: =='_)) __-:!:- (your ascii here) :
: ,:' .' ))-:!:- :
: ((_,' .'-:!:- :
: ~^~~~^~~^~~~^~ :

HTML </CODE> can be used to add special effects such as colours,
font size, and blinking text.
For full instructions on how to do this see:-

[17] What should I know about signature files?
A signature file (or `sig' for short; not to be confused with the
initials added to an ASCII picture) is a small, personalized text
file which an e-mail or news program can add to the end of every
message a person sends -- the equivalent of a letterhead for dead
tree (paper) mail (or snail-mail). Usually it contains little more
than the person's name, organization and e-mail address, maybe an
inspirational quote of some sort and some people like to incorporate
ASCII art into their signature files as well.

_ _ _ _ _ _ ___ ___ \|/ ____ \|/
| | | ___| | (_) \| | __/ __| @~/ ,. \~@
|_ _|___| |__| | .` | _|\__ \ /_( \__/ )_\ Mike
|_| |____|_|_|\_|___|___/[Figlet] \__U_/ Jittlov

The lack of importance in relation to global warming, violence in
society, and so on, can be the subject of heated arguments. To be
brief, (almost) no-one will complain if your signature file is four
lines long or fewer -- and it is quite possible to draw good ASCII
pictures which are that small.
(@) (@) `) There are a lot of web-pages on this with )
^ < > ^ ( google search ascii sig. _______)
=== `----Richard James-----------------'

Some e-mail/news programs don't allow you to have a signature file
which is longer than four lines, while others just complain. Five or
six lines may be acceptable, but any longer, and you're starting to
take the risk that your signature will be longer than some of your
e-mail messages; this wouldn't really make sense on paper, so it
isn't really acceptable in cyberspace either. The exception is in
messages posted to news:alt.ascii-art itself -- we're used to seeing
long sigs, so we won't complain.


But, no matter what the length of your signature, make sure it's
fewer than 72 characters wide, otherwise it may end up a horrible
mess (see Question 8).

[18] What is ascii-animation?
An animated image produced by a sequence of changing ASCII pictures.
The speed will depend on the system you are using.
o \ o / _ o __| \ / |__ o _ \ o / o
/|\ | /\ __\o \o | o/ o/__ /\ | /|\
/ \ / \ | \ /) | ( \ /o\ / ) | (\ / | / \ / \
Ascii-Animation transports vary a lot. The earliest known portable
types used the Control-Codes of the (often .VT or .ANS) terminal
screens for either `paging' or `direct cursor addressing'.
Sometimes found as c-code in .sigs, which, when compiled and run
produce moving patterns or images.
o _ _ _
_o /\_ _ \\o (_)\__/o (_)
_< \_ _>(_) (_)/<_ \_| \ _|/' \/
(_)>(_) (_) (_) (_) (_)' _\o_
Most Web Ascii-Animation uses Java or Javascript.

* To find out how to animate ASCII art using JavaScript, see:-

* To find out how to animate ASCII art using Java, see:-

[19] What does ObAscii mean?
ObAscii = Obligatory Ascii

Obligatory: [adj] compulsory (of a ruling) having binding force

Ascii: [slang] ascii-art picture

A funny way to remind people to put a drawing in their post.

This means an ascii in every post! (especially off-topic threads)
Failure to comply can result in flaming! This implies that if you
don't include an ascii in your post you deserve to get flamed!

The concept of ObAscii has been around since the creation of the
usenet group news:alt.ascii-art and it's purpose is to provide some
on-topic content to an otherwise off-topic posting.

*NOT* The 1st ever! ObAscii :
From: Matthew Thomas <>
Date: Thu, 08 Oct 1998 13:50:09 +1300
Organization: University of (opinions are my own)

,' \ [snip - 3rd party flame ]
J |
J L I am staying out of this as much as
| | . , possible, Colin, because I really ...
| | `v_L.'
// ,>'--\'_ :.
\`' \ - /-. [snip - rant/rave]
/ /`""| :.
),' `-
( ,-' \ Anyway, I think a lot of this
) ,' ,' h flaming would decrease if everyone
/ / / `)--.. was required to post a (different)
\/ / \ <) obligatory ASCII pic in each message
< , L<' -- at the very least, it would slow
F/ _/ ,' the flames down.
L ,-' \
| ___L So, to start the trend, here's my
/ ( F
J ___,' L ObAscii: the Statue of Liberty.
| ,' |
F ,' |
(_,--..__ mt-2|_
,' `"`--.._\
,' / \
/ (_
[snip - .sig of Matthew Thomas]

[20] The ASCII Art Rough-Guide to m$.Outlook?
Microsoft's Outlook Express program has a number of flaws, including
* deleting spaces from the beginning of lines, and
* inserting the word `file://' in unexpected places
which make it very difficult when using it for ASCII art. Whether
these are bugs or features we don't know and a registry patch to fix
some of the flaws in Outlook Express is available from the ADA.

How to get rid of blue-lines in OE5:

1. Press the decode button twice when viewing a blue-struck image.
Because, after ROT13, OE will not parse links and so 2 x ROT13
returns everything back to normal, but without the blue lines.
2. Create a button in your toolbar so you can do it quickly.

In OE 5.5-6.0 the URL parsing code is slightly better and
doesn't foul as many images as previous versions.

How to stop Ms.Outlook giving wrapped output
or the ascii-art you are sending is wider than 72 characters:

1. Tools menu
2. Options
3. Send
4. Both of these Mail and News format
5. Plain text settings ____
6. Automatically wrap text at |____|

How to set your Outlook Express 6 to view ASCII art correctly:

1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS
2. Select the READ tab
3. International settings
4. "Use default encoding for all incoming messages" [tick]
5. Set the FONTS to display as western european.
set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to
6. Click OK, then OK again.

How to set your Outlook Express 5 to view ASCII art correctly:

1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS
2. Select the READ tab
3. Click the FONTS button near the bottom of the box
set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to
5. Click OK, then OK again.

How to set your Outlook Express 4 to view ASCII art correctly:

1. On the TOOLS menu, click OPTIONS
2. Select the READ tab
3. Click the FONTS button near the bottom of the box
set both the PROPORTIONAL font and FIXED-WIDTH font to
5. Click OK, then OK again.

NOTE : If LUCIDA CONSOLE is not available as a font, pick another
from the list of available FIXED-WIDTH fonts.

Examples of fixed-width fonts 1. ANDALE MONO
commonly available with 2. COURIER NEW

If you have followed the above steps correctly, you should now
be able to view and create ASCII art as it should be.

[21] Where do I find ASCII art pictures, tutorials and information?
There are a number of ASCII art Usenet groups:-


are English-speaking ones that are widely used.

alt.ascii-art [original ASCII art discussion group]
alt.ascii-art.animation [is about animating ASCII art]
alt.ascii-art.endless.blabla [an off-topic follow-up troll-trap] [ASCII art sofware/image drop-zone]
rec.arts.ascii [primary moderated ASCII art group]

Lots of ASCII artists put up libraries of their own and others'
ASCII art on their Web sites, as well as tutorials on how to draw
ASCII art:

The DMOZ Open Directory Project ASCII art sites:

The Ascii-Art Dictionary at:
The Ascii-Art Document Archive (address as listed in the header)
The Ascii-Art Dot Com at:
The Ascii-Art Library Archive

There is an on-line panel of experts at: The ASCIItorium

And webrings:

Also IRCascii.8bit: (irc.efnet#ascii)

[22] Historacle: from the old-old FAQ v1.2 March 14, 1994
What types of ascii-art are there?

o Linedrawing - like stickmen
o Lettering - like Figlet does
o Grey scale pictures - These create the illusion of grey shades
by using letters for their light emitting value.
Here is an example of how they break down by light intensity:
(Jorn Barger's light value scale)

Darker .'`,^:";~ Lighter
bright /|\ -_+<>i!lI? /|\ dark
letters | /\|()1{}[] | letters
on rcvunxzjft on
dark | LCJUYXZO0Q | bright
background \|/ oahkbdpqwm \|/ background
Lighter *WMB8&%$#@ Darker

o 3-D images - Can be viewable by people with similar vision in
both eyes. You try to focus as if you are looking at the back
of the monitor. The image should pop into focus and create a
3-D illusion. Other 3-D images are viewed by putting your nose
on the monitor glass.
o Geometric Article - Text is formed into meaningful shapes.
o Picture Poem - A geometric article that is also a poem.
o Page Making - Text and graphics are intermixed, as in a magazine.
o Picture Story - A story told with accompanying ASCII pictures.
o Color - You can view color ASCII pics, if you have a color screen
and 'ANSI' color compatible software, or Web access using HTML.
o Color Graphics - You can view color ASCII pics if you have color
o Animation - take a look at [dead-link snipped]
o Color Animation - take a look at [dead-link snipped]
o Scroll Animation - This is an animation that is made to be viewed
by scrolling down. The image plays out as the screen is redrawn
with the next 'page' of the image.
o Overstrike Art - It contains carriage returns without line feeds
at times. The print head can overstrike a line on the paper that
has already been printed on. This allows for darkening, and for
placing different characters at the same place on the paper.
This kind of art is obviously only printed.

-------------------THE ASCII ART FAQ TEN COMMANDMENTS-------------------

/ _ _| 1. Thou shalt read the FAQ.
(\'('\/') 2. Thou shalt not remove the
______/( >(__ initials from any ASCII art.
/`- \ \_=__| `\ 3. Thou shalt not claim ownership
/ /__( _____\ _____ of someone else's ASCII art.
/_ \.____ ," "." ",__ 4. Thou shalt read the FAQ.
| / _\__/_ - / \ 5. Thou shalt ask permission
\/ /____ \ASCII ART FAQ /// before using someone else's
) / / \__\ - | ASCII art.
'-.__|_/ ///| I VI | 6. Thou shalt not sell someone
\_ | | | else's ASCII art.
| | II VII | 7. Thou shalt read the darn FAQ.
\ | | | 8. Thou shalt not post someone
/ | III VIII | else's ASCII art without making
\ | | | clear that you didn't make it.
\_ | IV IX | 9. Thou shalt not assume that
\| | | ASCII art isn't art at all.
| V X | 10. Thou shalt read the FAQing FAQ.

|||| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | ||||
|||| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | ||||
....__ ___ ___...
:::/ |_ | . )::
::( (-| | | <:::

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