giftrans - transform gif from gif87 to gif89, making one color transparent  


giftrans [options] [-o filename] filename  


giftrans converts any GIF file into a GIF89a. Allows for setting the transparent or background color, changing colors, adding or removing comments. Also code to analyze GIF contents.  


Print short help on stdout.
Specify the transparent color
Index of the transparent color is the background color index
Specify the transparent color's new value
Specify the background color
Change a color in the global color table
Add a comment
Remove old comment
Only list the color table
Verbose output of GIFs contents
Verbose output while converting
Redirect stdout to a file
Redirect stderr to a file

Colors may be specified as index, as rgb.txt entry or in the #rrggbb form.  


To convert the white background of a gif file to transparent, use

giftrans -t #ffffff file.gif > transparentfile.gif



This program has been tested on a HP9000/720 with HP-UX A.08.07 In this environment, neither lint -u nor gcc -Wall produce any messages. If you encounter any errors or need to make any changes to port it to another platform, please contact me.

Known bugs:

-B flag won't work if there's an Extension between the Global Color Table and the Image Descriptor (or Graphic Control Extension). If -V has been specified, a Warning Message will be displayed. Will be fixed in 2.0
Always outputs GIF89a. Shouldn't do this if version is newer.
-D option may output changed data instead of original data, use with caution, best only with then -L option.


Copyright (c) 24.2.94 by Andreas Ley <>

Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice appears in all copies. This software is provided "as is" and without any express or implied warranties.  


Version 1.11 - 21.7.94
Moved Plain Text Extension to the Extensions section where it belongs
Accept Unknown Extension Labels
Incorporated MS-DOS port by (Enzo Michelangeli)
Added -o and -e options to redirect stdout and stderr
Added -D debug flag
Version 1.10.2 - 22.6.94
Support for -DRGBTXT flag
Version 1.10.1 - 21.6.94
Different rgb.txt file FreeBSD/386BSD
Version 1.10 - 19.6.94
Added option to change a color in the global color table
Added option to change the color for the transparent color index
Version 1.9.1 - 7.6.94
Different rgb.txt files for X11 and Open Windows
Version 1.9 - 1.6.94
Fixed a bug which caused color names to be rejected.
Version 1.8 - 30.5.94
Accept #rrggbb style arguments.
Do nothing if rgb-color not found in GIF.
Version 1.7 - 16.5.94
Added -l option to only list the color table.
Added -L option for verbose output without creating a gif. Added -b option to change the background color index.
Display all matching color names for color table entries.
Fixed a bug which caused bad color names if rgb.txt starts with whitespace.
Doesn't use strdup anymore.
Fixed =& bug on dec machines.
Version 1.6 - 5.4.94
Added color names recognition.
Version 1.5 - 15.3.94
Added basic verbose output to analyze GIFs.
Version 1.4 - 8.3.94
Fixed off-by-one bug in Local Color table code.
Added option to add or remove a comment.
Transparency is no longer the default.

This man file made 9.8 from documentation in the program source code by Kai Nordlund (  


Thanx for bug reports, ideas and fixes to (Patrick Atoon) (Wes Barris) (Patrick M. Fitzgerald) (frans van hoesel) (Dan Boardman) (Ken Weiss) (Chuck Musciano) (Torsten Heycke) (Colin Law) (Joseph C. Walker) (Bjorn Borud) (CJS Vance) (Peder Langlo) (Ian Rutson) (Nicolas Pioch)
john@charles.CS.UNLV.EDU (John Kilburg) (Enzo Michelangeli)


Original distribution site is
To compile for MS-DOS, you need getopt:
MS-DOS executable can be found at
A template rgb.txt for use with the MS-DOS version can be found at
Additional info can be found on


xv(1), giftoppm(1), ppmtogif(1)




This document was created by man2html, using the manual pages.
Time: 03:34:33 GMT, August 02, 2002