Turning Any Image File to An ASCII Art in PowerShell


This is something pretty cool that I have to share. With the power of PowerShell, you can turn any image file, JPG or PNG, into a plain text file that you can open in Notepad. Thanks to PowerTips.

Here is the code, start with the function.

function Convert-ImageToAsciiArt
#character height:width ratio
[float]$ratio = 1.5 )

# load drawing functionality
Add-Type -AssemblyName System.Drawing
# characters from dark to light
$characters = '$#H&@*+;:-,. '.ToCharArray()
$c = $characters.count
# load image and get image size
$image = [Drawing.Image]::FromFile($path )
[int]$maxheight = $image.Height / ($image.Width / $maxwidth) / $ratio
# paint image on a bitmap with the desired size
$bitmap = new-object Drawing.Bitmap($image ,$maxwidth,$maxheight)
# use a string builder to store the characters
[System.Text.StringBuilder]$sb = ""
# take each pixel line...
for ([int]$y=0; $y -lt $bitmap.Height; $y++)
# take each pixel column...
for ([int]$x=0; $x -lt $bitmap.Width; $x++)
# examine pixel
$color = $bitmap.GetPixel($x, $y)
$brightness = $color.GetBrightness()
# choose the character that best matches the pixel brightness
[int]$offset = [Math]::Floor($brightness*$c)
$ch = $characters[$offset]
if (-not $ch) { $ch = $characters[-1] }
# add character to line
$null = $sb.Append($ch)
# add a new line
$null = $sb.AppendLine()
# clean up and return string
$image.Dispose() $sb.ToString()

Then, here is how to use it to call the function, generate the ASCII file and display it.

$Path = "folder\imagefile.jpg"
$OutPath = "$env.temp\asciiart.txt"

Convert-ImageToAsciiArt -Path $Path -MaxWidth 150 |
Set-Content -Path $OutPath -Encoding UTF8

Invoke-Item -Path $OutPath

Now let’s give it a test run on Elias Pettersson, the rookie of the year in NHL. If you don’t know who he, here is him.

5864.vresize.350.425.medium.50 - Turning Any Image File to An ASCII Art in PowerShell
Elias Pettersson

And here is the AscII version of him, generated by PowerShell.

image 30 - Turning Any Image File to An ASCII Art in PowerShell
AscII version of Elias Pettersson

Pretty impressive.

Guess what’s more fun? Watch Rick Astley sing and dance in AscII mode.


  1. Works but you have to edit this otherwise it throws an error – very nice! :
    # clean up and return string
    $image.Dispose() $sb.ToString()

    to this
    # clean up and return string


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