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<h1 align="center">The XPM<br>
Frequently Asked Questions</h1>
This article contains the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about the
XPM format and/or library. If you don't find the answer to your problem here,
then you can mail either to lehors@sophia.inria.fr or to the mailing list


<li><a href="#Q1">How do I convert my images to or from XPM ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q2">Why are my XPM files said to be invalid ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q3">Why does my program core dumps using XPM ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q4">Why does my program core dumps using XPM with a widget ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q5">How can I get a non rectangular icon using XPM ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q6">What exactly triggers the creation of a mask when using XPM ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q7">How should I use the mask ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q8">Is there a string to pixmap converter somewhere ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q9">How can I edit XPM icons ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q10">Is there a collection of icons somewhere ?</a>
<li><a href="#Q11">The documentation fails to print out. Why ?</a>
<li><a href="#copy">Copyright</a>

<h2><a name="Q1">1. How do I convert my images to or from XPM ?</a></h2>
  Netpbm is surely the best image conversion package that I know of. It defines
  formats for color, gray and monochrome images and provides a set of filters.
  Thus a GIF image can be converted to XPM with something like:
  $ giftoppm youricon.gif | ppmtoxpm > youricon.xpm
  The latest release can be found at least from wuarchive.wustl.edu
  (, directory /graphics/graphics/packages/NetPBM

<h2><a name="Q2">2. Why are my XPM files said to be invalid ?</a></h2>
  There are three official versions of the XPM format. The XPM library since
  version 3.3 can read all them but writes out only XPM 3. Also the small
  program called sxpm which is part of the XPM library package can be used to
  automatically translate XPM 1 and 2 files to XPM 3 with a command such as:
  $ sxpm -nod yourxpm1or2file -o yourxpm3file
  Also, the XPM format defines "None" to be the color name meaning
  "transparent", but IXI used to hack the XPM library in its early days to
  handle transparency as "#Transparent". This makes IXI format not compatible
  with the official XPM format, and so not readable neither by the official XPM
  library nor any of the programs built on top of it.
  The only solutions are either to stick on IXI programs which can deal with
  their format or convert your files to the standard XPM format. This can be
  done simply by changing "#Transparent" to "None".

<h2><a name="Q3">3. Why does my program core dumps using XPM ?</a></h2>
  Be sure the XpmAttributes structure you pass by reference has a valid
  valuemask. You can give NULL instead if you don't want to use an
  XpmAttributes but if you do, you MUST initialize its valuemask component to
  some valid value, at least 0, otherwise unpredictable errors can occur.
  So instead of doing something like:
      XpmAttributes attrib;

      XpmReadFileToPixmap(dpy, d, filename, &amp;pixmap, &amp;mask, &amp;attrib);
  you should do:
      XpmAttributes attrib;

      attrib.valuemask = 0;
      XpmReadFileToPixmap(dpy, d, filename, &amp;pixmap, &amp;mask, &amp;attrib);

<h2><a name="Q4">4. Why does my program core dumps using XPM with a widget ?</a></h2>
<li>First the XPM library is Xlib level, so don't pass your widget as a
    Drawable parameter. A Drawable is either a Window or a Pixmap. The widget's
    window can do the job but:

<li>Then a widget only gets a Window when realized, so passing XtWindow(widget)
    with a not yet realized widget is wrong. Either realize you widget first or
    use another window. Since the Drawable parameter is only used to specify
    the screen to which the pixmap must be created on, most of the time the
    default root window is just fine.

<h2><a name="Q5">5. How can I get a non rectangular icon using XPM ?</a></h2>
  The X Window System does not support transparent color. However there are
  several ways you can use to get the same visual effect using XPM:
<li>First you can use the None color to get a shape mask and use it as
    explained below (question 7).

<li>Second you can define a symbolic color name such as "mask" in the XPM
    format file, then use the color overriding mechanism to set this symbolic
    color to the color of the underlying object. Note that in this case the XPM
    library won't create a shape mask, and that if the color of the underlying
    object is changed then you'll have to create a new pixmap.

<h2><a name="Q6">6. What exactly triggers the creation of a mask when using XPM ?</a></h2>
  Basically a mask is created if "None" is used as one of the color of the
  pixmap. Be aware that this is not only true if it is used in the XPM of the
  pixmap since the colors can be overridden at load time. So a mask is created
  if the "None" color is used at load time, coming either from the XPM
  definition or the color overriding.

<h2><a name="Q7">7. How should I use the mask ?</a></h2>
  There are basically two ways of using the mask:
<li>Use the mask as a shapemask with the X11 Nonrectangular Saphe Window
    Extension. Typically this is what should be done when the icon is used in a

<li>Use the mask as a clipmask in the GC you pass to XCopyArea when drawing the
    pixmap. So the "transparent" pixels being not actually drawn will get the
    underlying pixels colors.

<h2><a name="Q8">8. Is there a string to pixmap converter for Motif ?</a></h2>
 Yes, Motif 2.0 or later does support XPM pixmaps as well as XBM bitmaps.

<h2><a name="Q9">9. How can I edit XPM icons ?</a></h2>
  As listed below several editors either commercial or not are supporting the
  XPM format. However, pixmap is the one I would recommend since it is freely
  available and, being fully dedicated to XPM, it allows to edit all the
  special things, such as the symbolic color names, which makes XPM different
  from all the other image formats. Pixmap can always be found by ftp from
  ftp.x.org (contrib) and avahi.inria.fr (pub/pixmap).
Last Update: 3 August 1994
<table border=1>
<caption>XPM Icon Editors</caption>
   <li><a href="ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/application/pixmap/pixmap2.6.tar.gz">ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/application/pixmap/pixmap2.6.tar.gz</a>
   <li>requires 3.4 or higher revision of Xpm lib.
   <li>supports all XPM format features
   <li>current version doesn't work on 24-plane displays
<td>Lionel Mallet<td>source<td>yes<td>3<td>NC

   <li><a href="ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/pixt.tar.Z">ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/pixt.tar.Z</a>
   <li>doesn't work on 24-plane displays
   <li>last updated November 1991
<td>J. Michael Flanery<td>source<td>yes<td>1<td>NC

   <li>part of X.desktop
   <li>current version doesn't work on 24-plane displays
<td>IXI<td>Many UNIX<td>no<td>3<td>N/A

   <li>packaged with the OLIT (OpenLook) toolkit
<td>USL<td>Sun, SVR4.2, UnixWare<td>no<td>1<td>N/A

   <li>only uses XLIB
   <li>doesn't work on 24-plane displays
<td>Daniel Dardailler<td>source<td>yes<td>3<td>NC

   <li>included with the ODT package
<td>SCO/Wing Eng<td>ODT<td>yes<td>2.8<td>N/A

   <li>written in the Icon language
<td>Icon Project<td>source<td>yes<td>3<td>NC

   <li>there is currently no support for editing the colormap
<td>Free Widget Foundation<td>source<td>yes<td>3<td>NC

   <li>requires the FWF, 8-bit pseudocolor
   <li><a href="ftp://ftp.cis.ufl.edu/pub/thoth">ftp://ftp.cis.ufl.edu/pub/thoth</a>
   <li>Alpha version (last updated April 1993)
<td>Robert Forsman<td>source<td>yes<td>?<td>NC

   <li>included with Vue3.0

<tr><td>iconedit V3<td>&nbsp;<td>SunSoft<td>Sparc/Sun3<td>yes<td>2<td>N/A

<tr><td>Pixmap Editor<td><ul>
   <li>this is a Widget, not a complete program

<tr><td>ezX<td>&nbsp;<td>Sunrise Softwarey<td>?<td>?<td>?<td>N/A

     <li>full featured, works on all displays
     <li>current release is 2.1.1 (last update January 1994)
<td>David Koblas<td>source<td>yes<td>3<td>NC

    <li>full featured, 24-bit painting program, requires Motif.
    <li><a href="ftp://nic.funet.fi/pub/graphics/packages/phoenix">ftp://nic.funet.fi/pub/graphics/packages/phoenix</a>
    <li>Beta version (last updated September 1993)

    <li>pixed is part of the TeleUSE UIMS
    <li>More info is available from service@ignite.alsys.com
<td>Alsys<td>Many UNIX<td>yes<td>3<td>N/A

   <li><a href="ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/application/ImageMagick/ImageMagick-3.2.tar.gz">ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/application/ImageMagick/ImageMagick-3.2.tar.gz</a>
   <li>lots of image conversion and manipulation features
<td>John Cristy<td>source<td>yes<td>3<td>NC

SA - Stand Alone program<br>
NC - No Charge (i.e. free); most programs are copyrighted.<br>
XPM - XPM format supported<br>
source - built from source code; likely works on all standard X platforms<br>
N/A - icon editor is normally distributed with other software

Send updates, additions, corrections, etc. to <a

<h2><a name="Q10">10. Is there a collection of icons somewhere ?</a></h2>
  At least there is one freely available: Anthony's X Icon Library. You can
  found it on several ftp servers, such as <a href="ftp://server.berkeley.edu/pub/AIcons">server.berkeley.edu/pub/AIcons</a>. It
  contains only small icons (less than about 100x100 pixels in size) which are
  stored in groups in a logical way. Color icons are stored in XPM format and
  Black & White icons in XBM.

<h2><a name="Q11">11. The documentation fails to print out. Why ?</a></h2>
  The PostScript documentation file is formatted for US letter paper. Frame
  Maker tries very hard to ensure that you have the right paper and punts if
  you don't. However, you can easily work around this problem by applying the
  following patch. If for some reason applying the patch fails, you can still
  do it by hand. Just locate the corresponding block in the PS file and remove
  the lines with a leading '-' character.
  By the way, this applies to any doc generated by Frame Maker. The
  corresponding block might be slightly different depending on which version of
  Frame Maker was used, but it is still easy to locate.

*** xpm.PS      Wed Sep 11 15:47:43 1996
--- xpm-A4.PS   Thu Nov 21 09:27:28 1996
*** 647,668 ****
        0 ne /edown exch def 
        /yscale exch def
        /xscale exch def
-       FMLevel1 {
-               manualfeed {setmanualfeed} if
-               /FMdicttop countdictstack 1 add def 
-               /FMoptop count def 
-               setpapername 
-               manualfeed {true} {papersize} ifelse 
-               {manualpapersize} {false} ifelse 
-               {desperatepapersize} {false} ifelse 
-               { (Can't select requested paper size for Frame print job!) FMFAILURE } if
-               count -1 FMoptop {pop pop} for
-               countdictstack -1 FMdicttop {pop end} for 
-               }
-               {{1 dict dup /PageSize [paperwidth paperheight]put setpagedevice}stopped
-               { (Can't select requested paper size for Frame print job!) FMFAILURE } if
-                {1 dict dup /ManualFeed manualfeed put setpagedevice } stopped pop }
-       ifelse 
        FMPColor {
--- 647,652 ----

<h2><a name="copy">Copyright (C) 1989-95 GROUPE BULL</a></h2>
Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy
of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to
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The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
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