What Is ASCII Text Art?

ASCII art consists entirely of carefully placed computer text

The American Standard of Coded Information Interchange (ASCII) is the most common text character set used by English-language computer keyboards.

ASCII art images are generated entirely by computer text characters. The process involves the clever placement of typed characters to form a visual shape that is usually spread over multiple lines of text. You see these ASCII text art pictures in email signatures, online discussion forums, and online game chats.

Pizza image being slowly drawn on a computer screen using ASCII characters
Lifewire / Grace Kim

ASCII Art Examples

The level of ASCII art sophistication can be as simple as these single-line emoticons:

(''')>^,.,^<(''') <---angry kitty

t('.'t)          <---fists up to fight

@>-->----    <---a rose

ASCII art can also be sophisticated multiline ASCII text art shapes like these:

( '.')   <--- bunny!!
(='.'=)  <-- different bunny
| A UPS Truck |||""'|""\__,_
| _____________ l||__|__|__|) |
..... ___//___?____\________
...../--o--POLICE------@} ....


Creating and displaying simple ASCII text art is not difficult. With a little practice and experimentation — and using the keyboard shortcuts CTRL+and CTRL+V on your keyboard to copy and paste — you could be a beginning ASCII artist within 30 minutes.

Some ASCII art is extremely complex. These creations are generated by software made especially for this purpose. Examples of complex ASCII text art include:

ASCII Art Software

If you want to make complex ASCII art, you need to research ASCII software choices. These software packages convert digital photographs into complex ASCII portraits that consist entirely of text characters. By using an ASCII software package, you can create spectacular ASCII images quickly. ASCII Art software programs include:

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