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I am looking for a way to change the DPI on PNG image files. Using ImageMagick this is easy:

$ convert -density 150 -units pixelsperinch file.png file.png

The problem is that I will run this command from my application, running on multiple VMs, which don't have ImageMagick installed. I can push the upgrade packages to these VMs, but in case of ImageMagick that would add about 30MB to an upgrade bundle, which is a bit too much for my use case.

Long story short: is there a way I can change the DPI on a PNG file using a small (as in package size) command-line tool?

Optionally, changing bytes in a raw image file would be okay too, if someone knows where to look for them...

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Is 2.10 MB small enough? If yes, use NConvert and a batch command like:

nconvert -out png -dpi 150 -keepdocsize -keepfiledate mysource.png

What is NConvert for?

XnView is a GUI-based application, you can change and manipulate images using a graphical user interface. NConvert has about the same capabilities as XnView, but it is a command line tool and has no graphical user interface. You can use NConvert in Batch scripts or another application can call it.

Helpful links

  • Beginner guide and Wiki with some examples to start
  • Help file to see what command line parameters are available (Uploaded on pastebin)
  • A graphical front-end using Nconvert is XnConvert. Use this to create & export Nconvert batch files
  • Forum for Xnconvert and Nconvert for
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Thanks, looks great and will probably come handy in the future! In this case I ended up studying PNG format (which was fortunately simple enough) and changing the images through a small custom app (15 lines in PHP). –  johndodo Sep 25 '13 at 8:22
@johndodo This sounds interesting. May you want to share your application with us? –  nixda Sep 25 '13 at 8:59
Unfortunately I am not at liberty to do that, but you can do the same by reading a (great!) specification of PNG file format and making an app that changes the pHYs chunk. It really is simple once you know what you are doing. –  johndodo Oct 16 '13 at 12:31
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Well, you could potentially use a python script.

im = Image.open("in.png")
nx, ny = im.size
im2 = im.resize((int(nx*1.5), int(ny*1.5)), Image.BICUBIC)


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The Python 3.3.2 installer (not including source code) is 19.3 MB, and the Python 2.7.5 installer is 15.5 MB. –  druciferre Sep 27 '13 at 9:39
That will resize the image, not change the DPI. –  Bobby Sep 27 '13 at 10:54
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You mentioned you would be running this command "from your application," and this leads me to believe that you have written this application, or are maintaining it. That said, there are ImageMagick API's for several languages, and you could use one of them to add the functionality right into your existing program. The increase in package size would depend on what language your application is written in and whether you link the library statically or dynamically, but I would imagine it would be significantly smaller than a 30 MB increase.

Another option is not to include the entire ImageMagick package. You can download the ImageMagick Zip file (which is only 13 MB BTW), and extract just the convert tool and it's dependencies and distribute that to your VM's. There is a tool called Dependency Walker that you can use to determine what the dependencies of the convert tool are.

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