How to Make Pictures With Keyboard Letters

Written by mallory chandler
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How to Make Pictures With Keyboard Letters
A colon and end-parenthesis make a smiling face. (Text Smiley image by wayne ruston from

Computer and typewriter-generated pictures have been around since the late 1800s, though, today, it is commonly known as ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) Art.

Back then, one error could mess up an entire image--there's no "delete" key on a typewriter. It's a little easier on computers now; whether you want to use letters and symbols to make a cat, a bird or just a happy face, there's no wrong way to do it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Reference picture
  • Word processing program

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  1. 1

    Decide what image you'd like to make. Whether it's a flower, a duck or something else entirely is up to you, but having an image to reference will help.

  2. 2

    Look at your image as though it were already made up of keyboard letters. If your image has spots, they can be represented with o's or @'s, or even ()'s. Stripes can be /'s, or x's. This is art; there's no wrong way to do it.

  3. 3

    Make use of paragraphs and rows to put things on top of each other. An _ with an | above it will have the same effect as using an L, but bigger. Experiment with multiple lines of text to create an image.

  4. 4

    Find examples of similar art. There are an infinite number of ways to make the same picture; looking at what someone else did may give you your own ideas and inspiration.

  5. 5

    Use colour. If you don't feel that your flower looks like a flower, turning the stem green and the petals pink will help it come across better.

Tips and warnings

  • The font and text size you use are going to affect the overall look of your picture. Experiment with different shapes and sizes.
  • There are also some websites that will convert an image to ASCII art for free.
  • If you decide to change your font or font size halfway through creating your image, or even when it's done, you'll have to redo some of the alignment and spacing.

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