ASCIIASCII graphicscharacter graphicMonātext artcharacter graphicstextartartworkASCII animation
ASCII art is a graphic design technique that uses computers for presentation and consists of pictures pieced together from the 95 printable (from a total of 128) characters defined by the ASCII Standard from 1963 and ASCII compliant character sets with proprietary extended characters (beyond the 128 characters of standard 7-bit ASCII).wikipedia
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NFONFO fileNFO files
Warez groups usually release .nfo files with their software, cracks or other general software reverse-engineering releases.
Unlike README files, NFO files often contain elaborate ASCII art.


Most examples of ASCII art require a fixed-width font (non-proportional fonts, as on a traditional typewriter) such as Courier for presentation.
ASCII art usually requires a monospaced font for proper viewing, with the exception of Shift JIS art which takes advantage of the proportional characters in the MS PGothic font.

List of emoticons

emoticondizzy face emojiHundreds of different text smileys
Hundreds of different text smileys have developed over time, but only a few are generally accepted, used and understood.
Originally, these icons consisted of ASCII art, and later, Shift_JIS art and Unicode art.


MPlayer and VLC media player can display videos as ASCII art through the AAlib library.
AAlib is a software library which allows applications to automatically convert still and moving images into ASCII art.

Computer art scene

artsceneunderground computer artsceneANSI art groups
Until then, "block ASCIIs" dominated the PC Text Art Scene.
The earliest precursors to ASCII art can be found in RTTY art, that is, pictures created by amateur radio enthusiasts with teleprinters using the Baudot code.

ANSI art

ANSIANSI graphicsANSI Art Scene
There is some debate between ASCII and block ASCII artist, with "Hardcore" ASCII artists maintaining that block ASCII art is in fact not ANSI art, because it does not use the 128 characters of the original ASCII standard.
It is similar to ASCII art, but constructed from a larger set of 256 letters, numbers, and symbols — all codes found in IBM code page 437, often referred to as extended ASCII and used in MS-DOS and Unix environments.


liba52mplayer2Gnome MPlayer
MPlayer and VLC media player can display videos as ASCII art through the AAlib library.
MPlayer can also use a variety of output driver protocols to display video, including VDPAU, the X video extension, OpenGL, DirectX, Direct3D, Quartz Compositor, VESA, Framebuffer, SDL and rarer ones such as ASCII art (using AAlib and libcaca) and Blinkenlights.

VLC media player

VLCVLC playerlibVLC
MPlayer and VLC media player can display videos as ASCII art through the AAlib library. VLC, a media player software, can render any video in colored ASCII through the libcaca module.
It can also output video as ASCII art.


They are commonly referred to as 'emoticon', 'smilie', or 'smiley'.
Starting circa 1972, on the PLATO system, emoticons and other decorative graphics were produced as ASCII art, particularly with overprinting: typing a character, backing up, then typing another character.


RTTYradiotelexradio teletype
RTTY stands for Radioteletype; character sets such as Baudot code, which predated ASCII, were used.
In the 1950s through the 1970s, "RTTY art" was a popular on-air activity.

ACiD Productions

ACiDACiDDrawACiDic BBS modding
Some members left in 1990, and formed a group called "ANSI Creators in Demand" (ACiD).
Their work originally concentrated in ANSI and ASCII art, but the group later branched out into other artistic media such as tracker music, demo coding, and multimedia software development (e.g., image viewers).

Monospaced font

monospacedmonospacemonospace font
Despite this, ASCII art continued to survive through online MUDs, an acronym for "Multi-User Dungeon", (which are textual multiplayer role-playing video games), Internet Relay Chat, E-mail, message boards and other forms of online communication which commonly employ the needed fixed-width.
The failure of a proportional font to reproduce the desired boxes above motivates monospaced fonts' use in the creation and viewing of ASCII and ANSI art.


Oldskool font example from the PC, which was taken from the ASCII editor FIGlet.
FIGlet is a computer program that generates text banners, in a variety of typefaces, composed of letters made up of conglomerations of smaller ASCII characters (see ASCII art).


Popular DOS-based editors, such as TheDraw and ACiDDraw had multiple sets of different special characters mapped to the function keys to make the use of those characters easier for the artist who can switch between individual sets of characters via basic keyboard shortcuts.
TheDraw is a text editor for MS-DOS to create ANSI and animations as well as ASCII art.

International Obfuscated C Code Contest

IOCCCObfuscated C Code ContestObfuscated C Contest
In some cases, the entire source code of a program is a piece of ASCII art – for instance, an entry to one of the earlier International Obfuscated C Code Contest is a program that adds numbers, but visually looks like a binary adder drawn in logic ports.
Contributions have included source code formatted to resemble images, text, etc., after the manner of ASCII art, preprocessor redefinitions to make code harder to read, and self-modifying code.

Aces of ANSI Art

The first art scene group that focused on the extended character set of the PC in their art work was called "Aces of ANSI Art" ().


VLC, a media player software, can render any video in colored ASCII through the libcaca module.
libcaca is a software library that converts images into colored ASCII art.


While some prefer to use a simple text editor to produce ASCII art, specialized programs, such as JavE have been developed that often simulate the features and tools in bitmap image editors.
JavE (Java ASCII Versatile Editor) is a computer program that allows the user to create ASCII art.

Terminal (typeface)

TerminalTerminal font
One can view block ASCIIs with a text editor using the font "Terminal", but it will not look exactly as it was intended by the artist.
Terminal is also the font that most text pads from ASCII art should be viewed as, because Terminal is often a visual font.

ASCII stereogram

Single image random text stereogram
ASCII stereograms are a form of ASCII art based on stereograms to produce the optical illusion of a three-dimensional image by crossing the eyes appropriately using a single image or a pair of images next to each other.

List of text editors

ConTEXTtext editorsASCII and ANSI art viewers
With a special ASCII/ANSI viewer, such as ACiDView for Windows (see ASCII and ANSI art viewers), one can see block ASCII and ANSI files properly.

ASCII porn

The term ASCII porn –sometimes typographically euphemized as "ASCII pr0n" – describes pornographic images consisting of ASCII art.

Typewriter mystery game

A typewriter mystery game was a specific type of typewriter art popular in the mid-20th century.

Shift JIS art

Naturally there are many similarities between Shift_JIS artwork and ASCII art.