ppmlabel – add text to a portable pixmap
ppmlabel [-angle angle] [-background transparent | colour] [-colour
colour] [-file filename] [-size textsize] [-text ‘text
string’] [-x column] [-y row] … [ppmfile]
ppmlabel uses the text drawing facilities of ppmdraw to add text to a
portable pixmap. The location, size, baseline angle, colour of the
text and background colour (if any) are controlled by command line ar‐
guments. The text can be specified on the command line or read from
files. Any number of separate text strings can be added by one invoca‐
tion of ppmlabel, limited only by the maximum length of the command
If no ppmfile is specified, ppmdraw reads its input pixmap from stan‐
The arguments on the ppmlabel command line are not options in the
strict sense; they are commands which control the placement and appear‐
ance of the text being added to the input pixmap. They are executed
left to right, and any number of arguments may appear.
All flags can be abbreviated to their shortest unique prefix.
Sets the angle of the baseline of subsequent text. angle is
specified as an integral number of degrees, measured counter‐
clockwise from the row axis of the pixmap.
-background transparent | colour
If the argument is “transparent”, text is drawn over the
existing pixels in the pixmap. If a colour is given (see the
-colour switch below for information on how to specify
colours), rectangles enclosing subsequent text are filled
with that colour.
Sets the colour for subsequent text. The colour can be spec‐
ified in five ways:
· A name, assuming that a pointer to an X11-style colour
names file was compiled in.
· An X11-style hexadecimal specifier: rgb:r/g/b, where r
g and b are each 1- to 4-digit hexadecimal numbers.
· An X11-style decimal specifier: rgbi:r/g/b, where r g
and b are floating point numbers between 0 and 1.
· For backwards compatibility, an old-X11-style hexadec‐
imal number: #rgb, #rrggbb, #rrrgggbbb, or #rrrrgggg‐
· For backwards compatibility, a triplet of numbers sep‐
arated by commas: r,g,b, where r g and b are floating
point numbers between 0 and 1. (This style was added
before MIT came up with the similar rgbi style.)
Reads text from the file filename and draws it on successive
Sets the height of the tallest characters above the baseline
to textsize pixels.
-text ‘text string’
Draws the given text string (which must be quoted if it con‐
tains spaces). The location for subsequent text is advanced
by 1.75 times the current textsize, which allows drawing mul‐
tiple lines of text in a reasonable manner without specifying
the position of each line.
-x column Sets the column at which subsequent text will be left justi‐
fied. Depending on the shape of the first character, the ac‐
tual text may begin a few pixels to the right of this point.
-y row Sets the row which will form the baseline of subsequent text.
Characters with descenders, such as “y”, will extend below
Text strings are restricted to 7 bit ASCII. The text font used by ppm‐
draw doesn’t include definitions for 8 bit ISO 8859/1 characters.
When drawing multiple lines of text with a non-transparent background,
it should probably fill the space between the lines with the background
colour. This is tricky to get right when the text is rotated to a non-
The -size, -x, and -y options MUST precede the -text option specifying
the string they apply to, or they will be silently ignored in favor of
Copyright (C) 1995 by John Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
WWW home page: http://www.fourmilab.ch/
Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its
documentation for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, with‐
out any conditions or restrictions. This software is provided “as
is” without express or implied warranty.
14 June 1995 ppmlabel