9.7. Images


Image support in the documentation is somewhat experimental. The mechanisms described here are unlikely to change, but that is not guaranteed.

To provide conversion between different image formats, the graphics/ImageMagick port must be installed. This port is not included in the textproc/docproj meta port, and must be installed separately.

A good example of the use of images is the doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/vm-design/ document. Examine the files in that directory to see how these elements are used together. Build different output formats to see how the format determines what images are shown in the rendered document.

9.7.1. Image Formats

The following image formats are currently supported. An image file will automatically be converted to bitmap or vector image depending on the output document format.

These are the only formats in which images should be committed to the documentation repository.

EPS (Encapsulated Postscript)

Images that are primarily vector based, such as network diagrams, time lines, and similar, should be in this format. These images have a .eps extension.

PNG (Portable Network Graphic)

For bitmaps, such as screen captures, use this format. These images have the .png extension.

PIC (PIC graphics language)

PIC is a language for drawing simple vector-based figures used in the pic(1) utility. These images have the .pic extension.

SCR (SCReen capture)

This format is specific to screenshots of console output. The following command generates an SCR file shot.scr from video buffer of /dev/ttyv0:

# vidcontrol -p < /dev/ttyv0 > shot.scr

This is preferable to PNG format for screenshots because the SCR file contains plain text of the command lines so that it can be converted to a PNG image or a plain text depending on the output document format.

Use the appropriate format for each image. Documentation will often have a mix of EPS and PNG images. The Makefiles ensure that the correct format image is chosen depending on the output format used. Do not commit the same image to the repository in two different formats.


The Documentation Project may eventually switch to using the SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) format for vector images. However, the current state of SVG capable editing tools makes this impractical.

9.7.2. Image File Locations

Image files can be stored in one of several locations, depending on the document and image:

  • In the same directory as the document itself, usually done for articles and small books that keep all their files in a single directory.

  • In a subdirectory of the main document. Typically done when a large book uses separate subdirectories to organize individual chapters.

    When images are stored in a subdirectory of the main document directory, the subdirectory name must be included in their paths in the Makefile and the imagedata element.

  • In a subdirectory of doc/share/images named after the document. For example, images for the Handbook are stored in doc/share/images/books/handbook. Images that work for multiple translations are stored in this upper level of the documentation file tree. Generally, these are images that can be used unchanged in non-English translations of the document.

9.7.3. Image Markup

Images are included as part of a mediaobject. The mediaobject can contain other, more specific objects. We are concerned with two, the imageobject and the textobject.

Include one imageobject, and two textobject elements. The imageobject will point to the name of the image file without the extension. The textobject elements contain information that will be presented to the user as well as, or instead of, the image itself.

Text elements are shown to the reader in several situations. When the document is viewed in HTML, text elements are shown while the image is loading, or if the mouse pointer is hovered over the image, or if a text-only browser is being used. In formats like plain text where graphics are not possible, the text elements are shown instead of the graphical ones.

This example shows how to include an image called fig1.png in a document. The image is a rectangle with an A inside it:

    <imagedata fileref="fig1"/> 1

    <literallayout class="monospaced">+---------------+ 2
|       A       |

    <phrase>A picture</phrase> 3


Include an imagedata element inside the imageobject element. The fileref attribute should contain the filename of the image to include, without the extension. The stylesheets will work out which extension should be added to the filename automatically.


The first textobject contains a literallayout element, where the class attribute is set to monospaced. This is an opportunity to demonstrate ASCII art skills. This content will be used if the document is converted to plain text.

Notice how the first and last lines of the content of the literallayout element butt up next to the element's tags. This ensures no extraneous white space is included.


The second textobject contains a single phrase element. The contents of this phrase will become the alt attribute for the image when this document is converted to HTML.

9.7.4. Image Makefile Entries

Images must be listed in the Makefile in the IMAGES variable. This variable must contain the names of all the source images. For example, if there are three figures, fig1.eps, fig2.png, fig3.png, then the Makefile should have lines like this in it.

IMAGES= fig1.eps fig2.png fig3.png


IMAGES=  fig1.eps
IMAGES+= fig2.png
IMAGES+= fig3.png

Again, the Makefile will work out the complete list of images it needs to build the source document, you only need to list the image files you provided.

9.7.5. Images and Chapters in Subdirectories

Be careful when separating documentation into smaller files in different directories (see Section 7.7.1, “Using General Entities to Include Files”).

Suppose there is a book with three chapters, and the chapters are stored in their own directories, called chapter1/chapter.xml, chapter2/chapter.xml, and chapter3/chapter.xml. If each chapter has images associated with it, place those images in each chapter's subdirectory (chapter1/, chapter2/, and chapter3/).

However, doing this requires including the directory names in the IMAGES variable in the Makefile, and including the directory name in the imagedata element in the document.

For example, if the book has chapter1/fig1.png, then chapter1/chapter.xml should contain:

    <imagedata fileref="chapter1/fig1"/> 1


The directory name must be included in the fileref attribute.

The Makefile must contain:

IMAGES=  chapter1/fig1.png

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