Create ASCII Charts in a Gui using asciio

📅 September 19, 2017
Are you seeking an easy way to create ASCII illustrations for use in text files? Yes? Then, there is a program for you! Explore the fun with asciio!

If you have ever found the need to insert serious or silly ASCII art or ASCII flowcharts into a plain text file in order to illustrate concepts but dreaded the thought of laboriously entering the art from the keyboard, then you might want to try asciio.

asciio is a handy GUI that lets you create ASCII illustrations and then save them into a text file for copy and paste into other text files. Simply choose elements from premade stencils, and then drag, drop, and move them around on the canvas for perfect alignment


Install asciio from Synaptic or from the command line since it is probably not installed by default.

sudo apt install asciio

The man Page

asciio is self-explanatory, but if you need help, the man page is a good place to start.

man asciio

asciio man page. No, asciio is not as complicated as this screenshot appears.

Using asciio

A GUI will greet you. Each cell is one character space, and elements are aligned at the character level, not the pixel level.

Blank canvas awaiting your creative genius.

Right-click the canvas to open the context menu, and from the menu, choose stencils to select elements to add.

Simple test. stencils > asciio > axis will add arrow lines to the canvas. The arrow lines can be dragged so they point in any direction, including vertical.

A variety of elements added to the canvas.

Right-click the canvas for a menu of installed elements (called stencils). The computers were instantly added to the canvas be selecting the console, computer_small, and workstation items. No manual typing was necessary. Items can be dragged around and aligned in order to produce a pretty output.

Right-click to save to a plain text file. Here is the result of asciio shown in the gedit text editor.

You can even create diagrams and abstract flowcharts using asciio.

When ready to save, right-click the canvas and choose File > save or save as. The resulting text file will contain the same text complete with the same spacing and alignment. Note that the top left cell (0,0) is the first character of the plain text file.

Here is the resulting plain text file in glorious…….text! Simply copy and paste to any other text file as needed or use as-is.


asciio is a fun program to play with, and it certainly speeds up the ASCII art creation process.

Have fun!


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