Wolfram Language & System 10.0 (2014)|Legacy Documentation

This is documentation for an earlier version of the Wolfram Language.View current documentation (Version 11.2)

PNM (.pnm)

  • Import and Export fully support the PNM format.
  • Export creates binary PNM files.
  • If multiple images are present in a PNM file, Import returns the first of the images.


    MIME types: image/x-portable-anymap, image/pbm
    PNM raster image format.
    Generic format of the Portable family of image formats.
    Includes the PBM (monochrome), PGM (gray-level) and PPM (RGB color) image formats.
    Native format of the Netpbm graphics software package.
    Primarily used as an intermediate file format on Unix systems.
    PNM is an acronym derived from Portable Any Map.
    ASCII or binary format.
    Stores raster images formatted as plain text, representing each pixel as a color value.

Import and ExportImport and Export

  • Import["file.pnm"] imports a PNM file, returning an Image object.
  • Export["file.pnm",expr] exports an image, graphics, or any other expression as a raster image to PNM.
  • Export by default generates binary PNM files.
  • When exporting Wolfram Language graphics or arbitrary expressions to PNM, the resulting image has the same raster size as its displayed form.
  • Image objects are by default exported at their raster size.
  • Because PNM is a raster image format, all fonts are rasterized on export.
  • Import["file.pnm",elem] imports the specified element from a PNM file.
  • Import["file.pnm",{elem,suba,subb,}] imports a subelement.
  • Import["file.pnm",{{elem1,elem2,}}] imports multiple elements.
  • The import format can be specified with Import["file","PNM"] or Import["file",{"PNM",elem,}].
  • Export["file.pnm",expr,elem] creates a PNM file by treating expr as specifying element elem.
  • Export["file.pnm",{expr1,expr2,},{{elem1,elem2,}}] treats each as specifying the corresponding .
  • Export["file.pnm",expr,opt1->val1,] exports expr with the specified option elements taken to have the specified values.
  • Export["file.pnm",{elem1->expr1,elem2->expr2,},"Rules"] uses rules to specify the elements to be exported.
  • See the reference pages for full general information on Import and Export.
  • ImportString and ExportString support the PNM format.

Notebook InterfaceNotebook Interface

  • In the notebook front end, Insert Picture and the Open menu allow import of a PNM file into a cell.
  • Save Selection As exports the selected part of a notebook as a PNM file.


  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements" list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full list of rules for each element and option
    "Options"list of rules for options, properties, and settings
  • Data representation elements:
  • "Data"array of color values
    "Graphics"Graphics object representing an image
    "GrayLevels"array of normalized gray-level values
    "Image"raster image, given as an Image object
    "RGBColorArray"array of RGBColor objects
  • Import and Export by default use the element for PNM files.
  • Advanced Import elements:
  • "BitDepth"bits used to represent each color channel in the file
    "ColorSpace"color space of the image
    "DataType"data type used for storing pixel elements
    "ImageSize"raster dimensions


ExamplesExamplesopen allclose all

Basic Examples  (1)Basic Examples  (1)

Import a sample PNM file as an image:

Click for copyable input

Read the image size element from the file:

Click for copyable input

Show all available import elements:

Click for copyable input
Introduced in 1999
| Updated in 2012