Image viewer for X11/Wayland

#48 Crash on sway: Buffer size not divisible by scale

~naginikaido commented on imv todo

a month ago

#60 read from stdin (imv -) not working for some images

~tianze0926 filed ticket on imv todo

a month ago

#builds.sr.ht status imv - X11/Wayland Image Viewer

imv is a command line image viewer intended for use with tiling window managers.

Project home

imv is currently seeking a new maintainer to adopt it. Please email the author if interested.


  • Native Wayland and X11 support
  • Support for dozens of image formats including:
    • PNG
    • JPEG
    • Animated GIFs
    • SVG
    • TIFF
    • Various RAW formats
    • Photoshop PSD files
  • Configurable key bindings and behaviour
  • Highly scriptable with IPC via imv-msg


Packaging status

#Example Usage

The following examples are a quick illustration of how you can use imv. For detailed documentation see the man page.

# Opening images
imv image1.png another_image.jpeg a_directory

# Opening a directory recursively
imv -r Photos

# Opening images via stdin
find . -type f -name "*.svg" | imv

# Open an image fullscreen
imv -f image.jpeg

# Viewing images in a random order
find . -type f -name "*.png" | shuf | imv

# Viewing images from stdin
curl http://somesi.te/img.png | imv -

# Viewing multiple images from the web
curl -Osw '%{filename_effective}\n' 'http://www.example.com/[1-10].jpg' | imv


imv can be used to display slideshows. You can set the number of seconds to show each image for with the -t option at start up, or you can configure it at runtime using the t and T hotkeys to increase and decrease the image display time, respectively.

To cycle through a folder of pictures, showing each one for 10 seconds:

imv -t 10 ~/Pictures/London
#Custom configuration

imv's key bindings can be customised to trigger custom behaviour:


# Delete and then close an open image by pressing 'X'
<Shift+X> = exec rm "$imv_current_file"; close

# Rotate the currently open image by 90 degrees by pressing 'R'
<Shift+R> = exec mogrify -rotate 90 "$imv_current_file"

# Use dmenu as a prompt for tagging the current image
u = exec echo "$imv_current_file" >> ~/tags/$(ls ~/tags | dmenu -p "tag")


With the default bindings, imv can be used to select images in a pipeline by using the p hotkey to print the current image's path to stdout. The -l flag can also be used to tell imv to list the remaining paths on exit for a "open set of images, close unwanted ones with x, then quit imv to pass the remaining images through" workflow.

Key bindings can be customised to run arbitrary shell commands. Environment variables are exported to expose imv's state to scripts run by it. These scripts can in turn modify imv's behaviour by invoking imv-msg with $imv_pid.

For example:

imv "$@" &
imv_pid = $!

while true; do
  # Some custom logic
  # ...

  # Close all open files
  imv-msg $imv_pid close all
  # Open some new files
  imv-msg $imv_pid open ~/new_path

  # Run another script against the currently open file
  imv-msg $imv_pid exec another-script.sh '$imv_current_file'



Library Version Notes
pthreads Required.
xkbcommon Required.
pangocairo Required.
icu Required.
X11 Optional. Required for X11 support.
GLU Optional. Required for X11 support.
xcb Optional. Required for X11 support.
xkbcommon-x11 Optional. Required for X11 support.
wayland-client Optional. Required for Wayland support.
wayland-egl Optional. Required for Wayland support.
EGL Optional. Required for Wayland support.
FreeImage Optional. Provides PNG, JPEG, TIFF, GIF, etc.
libtiff Optional. Provides TIFF support.
libpng Optional. Provides PNG support.
libjpeg-turbo Optional. Provides JPEG support.
librsvg >=v2.44 Optional. Provides SVG support.
libnsgif Optional. Provides animated GIF support.
libheif Optional. Provides HEIF support.
libjxl Optional. Provides JPEGXL support.

Dependencies are determined by which backends and window systems are enabled when building imv. You can find a summary of which backends are available in meson_options.txt

$ meson build/
$ ninja -C build/
# ninja -C build/ install

--prefix controls installation prefix. If more control over installation paths is required, --bindir, --mandir and --datadir are available. Eg. to install imv to home directory, run:

$ meson --bindir=~/bin --prefix=~/.local


imv's source is published under the terms of the MIT license.