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CTHUMB(1) General Commands Manual CTHUMB(1)


cthumb - a themable web picture album generator


cthumb -c [options] imagefile ... > file.album

cthumb [options] file.album


Cthumb creates themable web picture albums with thumbnails of all the pictures, comments for each picture, etc. Cthumb allows you to create web picture albums, i.e. collections of digital pictures, with small thumbnails of your pictures and with captions. In addition, it allows you to have several views of the collection of pictures. An album is composed of a series of pages, each composed of a collection of pictures. For each album page may optionally have two or more versions, like for instance in English, Spanish, German, French, etc. So your visitors would go into the English version of the web album, into the Spanish version, etc.

Typically (this is what I use it for and why I wrote the program), you accumulate lots and lots of digital pictures and you need to label them and sort them out. Perhaps also you have friends and family that speak different languages. This program lets you very easily make picture albums and have the same pictures labeled in one or more languages.

You can customize almost everything in the way the albums look on the screen, from the size of the thumbnails to the background and foreground colors, the border colors, whether you want film-strips and their picture, etc.


Cthumb has two modes of operation. The first one, which is active when option -c is specified, prints an album file, via stdout, comprising all the images given as arguments to the command line. This is the first thing you need to do if you have never tried this program before, just to get you started. Once you have an album file, you edit it and put comments to the pictures, titles to the album pages, etc. In this mode, all the provided options in the command line will be passed through to the album file. See the format of the album file in section ALBUM FILES below.

The second mode is the regular mode, the one that actually creates web pages, given the album file, so it is the one that does the real work of the script. Given an album file, cthumb generates web pages containing picture albums and an index with links to all the albums generated.

Cthumb creates several HTML files, one per "Page" in the album.

Check the README file (probably in /usr/share/doc/cthumb/README) for more detailed info.


Create an album file with the files listed and spit it out in standard out.
Do pages in <n> languages.
Go into film mode (<n> thumbnails per row).
Force re-generation of all thumbnails (slow).
Make thumbnail width <n>.
Make thumbnail height <n>.
In film mode, don't generate the strips.
Don't generate a main index file.
Generate text captions under the thumbnails.
Check the thumbnail width/height from the thumbnail image itself. This is slow.
Put the bytes of the main picture in the caption.


By default cthumb creates the following files (foo being the name of the album file):

The table of contents.


Album files have a simple, textual format. First, comments in the file are started by the # character and last to the end of the line. The best way to find out the format is to use the -c <files> option for album creation mode, which outputs an album file in stdout.


cthumb allows users to have their own variable settings in $HOME/.cthumbrc which is read and interpreted by perl. If perl cannot parse the file, cthumb will complain rather dryly that there is a parse error in the file.


This is cthumb version 4.2.

The latest version of cthumb can be found at this URL:


The main author Carlos Puchol <>. A couple of other people around the net contributed to this program. See the AUTHORS file.


This program is released under the GNU GPL license.


Copyright by Carlos Puchol, 1999, 2001. Warranty: the usual. No guarantee whatsoever is provided. No liability whatsoever is accepted for any loss or damage of any kind resulting from any defect or inaccuracy in this information or code.


perl(1), pnm(5), djpeg(1), rdjpgcom(1), cjpeg(1)


Option -r regenerates all thumbnails as the program sees them, i.e. one per language. If a picture is listed twice in the album, it will be generated double the amount of times. If you have a lot of thumbnails, this can get lengthy. A workaround is to delete the thumbnails you want re-generated and run cthumb without the -r option.

02/19/01 7th Edition