Information Systems Department

xv is a simple application for viewing image files such as jpegs and gifs. xv can also: perform simple image-processing such as colour editing and resizing; change images from one format to another; export to postscript and print.

Document History

  1. First draught: 2001 June 28, Simon Hood.
  2. Minor changes: 2001 October 22, Simon Hood.


While ISD has taken great care in the preparation of this document, it assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for problems resulting from the use of the information contained therein.


Copyright © 2001, Information Systems Department, UMIST, Manchester, England.

What is xv?

Quoting from the xv Web site:

xv is an interactive image manipulation program for the X Window System. It can operate on images in the GIF, JPEG, TIFF, PBM, PGM, PPM, XPM, X11 bitmap, Sun Rasterfile, Targa, RLE, RGB, BMP, PCX, FITS, and PM formats on all known types of X displays. It can generate PostScript files, and if you have ghostscript (version 2.6 or above) installed on your machine, it can also display them.

xv is available for many different flavours of Unix including Solaris, Irix and Linux; it is also available for Windows, but only for Windows machines running an X Windows server, for example eXceed but we offer no support for xv on MS Windows.

Using xv (at UMIST)

At UMIST, xv is installed only on Cosmos --- the general unix server. To start xv on Cosmos just type
at the command line (or, perhaps better, xv &). The full path is
which may be necessary if /usr/local/bin is not on your path (look at your PATH environment variable). Alternatively, you can load up an image file immediately by typing
    xv my_file.jpeg
for example --- the corresponding image is displayed on-screen. If an imagefile is not specified the xv logo is displayed:

Getting xv for Your Machine

xv is easy to install on Linux and Solaris. The binary distribution almost certainly came with your Linux distribution, e.g., for RedHat simply locate the RPM and install, for example:
    rpm -ivh xv-3.10a.rpm
For Solaris, download the appropriate pkg file from http://sunfreeware.com/, uncompress it and install using pkgadd, for example:
    pkgadd -d ./xv-3.10a-sol8-sparc-local

Processing a Loaded/Displayed Image

To process a displayed image, right-click on it and the xv Controls Panel will be launched --- if the logo is displayed, click on that:

Most, if not all, of the control panel and its image-manipulation facilities are self-explanatory (though see the pointers to futher documentation below). They include: changing image size and aspect ratio; blurring, sharpening...the image; editing image colours; cropping the image; "grabbing" an image (from a rectangular area on screen, or an open window); and setting the "desktop" image.

Detailed Usage --- More Documentation

xv is very simple to use. The main Web site can be found at www.trilon.com. Full documentation is available. This is available on-line, as gzipped tarred downloadable HTML, as postscript and as PDF.

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