UNIX/Cygwin/MinGW/MSYS2 Compilation

Archive Formats

GraphicsMagick is distributed in a number of different archive formats. The source code must be extracted prior to compilation as follows:


7-Zip archive format. The Z-Zip format may be extracted under Unix using '7za' from the P7ZIP package (http://p7zip.sourceforge.net/). Extract similar to:

7za x GraphicsMagick-1.3.7z


BZip2 compressed tar archive format. Requires that both the bzip2 (http://www.sourceware.org/bzip2/) and tar programs to be available. Extract similar to:

bzip2 -d GraphicsMagick-1.3.tar.bz | tar -xvf -


Gzip compressed tar archive format. Requires that both the gzip (http://www.gzip.org/) and tar programs to be available. Extract similar to:

gzip -d GraphicsMagick-1.3.tar.gz | tar -xvf -


Lzip compressed tar archive format. Requires that both the lzip (http://lzip.nongnu.org/lzip.html) and tar programs to be available. Extract similar to:

lzip -d -c GraphicsMagick-1.3.tar.gz | tar -xvf -


LZMA compressed tar archive format. Requires that LZMA utils (http://tukaani.org/lzma/) and tar programs to be available. Extract similar to:

xz -d GraphicsMagick-1.3.tar.xz | tar -xvf -


PK-ZIP archive format. Requires that the unzip program from Info-Zip (http://www.info-zip.org/UnZip.html) be available. Extract similar to:

unzip GraphicsMagick-1.3.zip

The GraphicsMagick source code is extracted into a subdirectory similar to 'GraphicsMagick-1.3'. After the source code extracted, change to the new directory (using the actual directory name) using a command similar to:

cd GraphicsMagick-1.3

Build Configuration

Use 'configure' to automatically configure, build, and install GraphicsMagick. The configure script may be executed from the GraphicsMagick source directory (e.g ./configure) or from a separate build directory by specifying the full path to configure (e.g. /src/GraphicsMagick-1.3/configure). The advantage of using a separate build directory is that multiple GraphicsMagick builds may share the same GraphicsMagick source directory while allowing each build to use a unique set of options. Using a separate directory also makes it easier to keep track of any files you may have edited.

If you are willing to accept configure's default options (static build, 8 bits/sample), and build from within the source directory, type:


and watch the configure script output to verify that it finds everything that you think it should. If it does not, then adjust your environment so that it does.

By default, 'make install' will install the package's files in '/usr/local/bin', '/usr/local/man', etc. You can specify an installation prefix other than '/usr/local' by giving 'configure' the option '--prefix=PATH'. This is valuable in case you don't have privileges to install under the default paths or if you want to install in the system directories instead.

If you are not happy with configure's choice of compiler, compilation flags, or libraries, you can give 'configure' initial values for variables by specifying them on the configure command line, e.g.:

./configure CC=c99 CFLAGS=-O2 LIBS=-lposix

Options which should be common to packages installed under the same directory heirarchy may be supplied via a 'config.site' file located under the installation prefix via the path ${prefix}/share/config.site where ${prefix} is the installation prefix. This file is used for all packages installed under that prefix. As an alternative, the CONFIG_SITE environment variable may be used to specify the path of a site configuration file to load. This is an example config.site file:

# Configuration values for all packages installed under this prefix
LDFLAGS='-L/usr/local/lib -R/usr/local/lib'

When the 'config.site' file is being used to supply configuration options, configure will issue a message similar to:

configure: loading site script /usr/local/share/config.site

The configure variables you should be aware of are:


Name of C compiler (e.g. 'cc -Xa') to use


Name of C++ compiler to use (e.g. 'CC')


Compiler flags (e.g. '-g -O2') to compile C code


Compiler flags (e.g. '-g -O2') to compile C++ code


Include paths (-I/somedir) to look for header files


Library paths (-L/somedir) to look for libraries Systems that support the notion of a library run-path may require an additional argument in order to find shared libraries at run time. For example, the Solaris linker requires an argument of the form '-R/somedir', some Linux systems will work with '-rpath /somedir', while some other Linux systems who's gcc does not pass -rpath to the linker require an argument of the form '-Wl,-rpath,/somedir'.


Extra libraries (-lsomelib) required to link

Any variable (e.g. CPPFLAGS or LDFLAGS) which requires a directory path must specify an absolute path rather than a relative path.

The build now supports a Linux-style "silent" build (default disabled). To enable this, add the configure option --enable-silent-rules or invoke make like 'make V=0'. If the build has been configured for silent mode and it is necessary to see a verbose build, then invoke make like 'make V=1'.

Configure can usually find the X include and library files automatically, but if it doesn't, you can use the 'configure' options '--x-includes=DIR' and '--x-libraries=DIR' to specify their locations.

The configure script provides a number of GraphicsMagick specific options. When disabling an option --disable-something is equivalent to specifying --enable-something=no and --without-something is equivalent to --with-something=no. The configure options are as follows (execute 'configure --help' to see all options).

Optional Features


disable reading and writing of gzip/bzip stream files

Normally support for being able to read and write gzip/bzip stream files (files which are additionally compressed using gzip or bzip) is a good thing, but for some formats it is necessary to decompress an entire input file before it may be validated and read. Decompressing the file may take a lot of time and disk space. If input files are not trustworthy, an apparently small file can take much more resources than expected. Use this option to reject such files.


enable 'prof' profiling support (default disabled)


enable 'gprof' profiling support (default disabled)


enable 'gcov' profiling support (default disabled)


disable building an installed GraphicsMagick (default enabled)


enable broken/dangerous file formats support


disable support for large (64 bit) file offsets


disable use of OpenMP (automatic multi-threaded loops) at all


enable OpenMP for algorithms which sometimes run slower


enable prefixing library symbols with "Gm"


install ImageMagick utility shortcuts (default disabled)


enable additional Makefile rules which update generated files included in the distribution. Requires GNU make as well as a number of utilities and tools.


shared library name includes quantum depth to allow shared libraries with different quantum depths to co-exist in same directory (only one can be used for development)

Optional Packages/Options


number of bits in a pixel quantum (default 8). Also see '--enable-quantum-library-names.'


enable building dynamically loadable modules


disable POSIX threads API support


enable frozen delegate paths


disable build/install of Magick++


enable build/install of PerlMagick


use specified Perl binary to configure PerlMagick


options to pass on command-line when generating PerlMagick's Makefile from Makefile.PL


disable BZLIB support


disable Display Postscript support


enable FlashPIX support


disable JBIG support


disable WEBP support


disable JPEG v2 support


enable JPEG-XL support


disable JPEG support


disable JPEG v2 support


disable lcms (v2.X) support


disable LZMA support


disable PNG support


disable TIFF support


disable TRIO library support


disable TrueType support


enable Google perftools tcmalloc (minimal) memory allocation library support


enable Solaris mtmalloc memory allocation library support


enable Solaris libumem memory allocation library support


disable WMF support


prepend to default font search path


directory containing Ghostscript fonts


directory containing MS-Windows fonts


disable XML support


disable ZLIB support


disable Zstd support


use the X Window System


Alternate path to share directory (default share/GraphicsMagick)


use libstdc++ in DIR (for GNU C++)

GraphicsMagick options represent either features to be enabled, disabled, or packages to be included in the build. When a feature is enabled (via --enable-something), it enables code already present in GraphicsMagick. When a package is enabled (via --with-something), the configure script will search for it, and if is is properly installed and ready to use (headers and built libraries are found by compiler) it will be included in the build. The configure script is delivered with all features disabled and all packages enabled. In general, the only reason to disable a package is if a package exists but it is unsuitable for the build (perhaps an old version or not compiled with the right compilation flags).

Several configure options require special note:


The shared libraries are built and support for loading coder and process modules is enabled. Shared libraries are preferred because they allow programs to share common code, making the individual programs much smaller. In addition shared libraries are required in order for PerlMagick to be dynamically loaded by an installed PERL (otherwise an additional PERL (PerlMagick) must be installed. This option is not the default because all libraries used by GraphicsMagick must also be dynamic libraries if GraphicsMagick itself is to be dynamically loaded (such as for PerlMagick).

GraphicsMagick built with delegates (see MAGICK PLUG-INS below) can pose additional challenges. If GraphicsMagick is built using static libraries (the default without --enable-shared) then delegate libraries may be built as either static libraries or shared libraries. However, if GraphicsMagick is built using shared libraries, then all delegate libraries must also be built as shared libraries. Static libraries usually have the extension .a, while shared libraries typically have extensions like .so, .sa, or .dll. Code in shared libraries normally must compiled using a special compiler option to produce Position Independent Code (PIC). The only time this is not necessary is if the platform compiles code as PIC by default.

PIC compilation flags differ from vendor to vendor (gcc's is -fPIC). However, you must compile all shared library source with the same flag (for gcc use -fPIC rather than -fpic). While static libraries are normally created using an archive tool like 'ar', shared libraries are built using special linker or compiler options (e.g. -shared for gcc).

Building shared libraries often requires subtantial hand-editing of Makefiles and is only recommended for those who know what they are doing.

If --enable-shared is not specified, a new PERL interpreter (PerlMagick) is built which is statically linked against the PerlMagick extension. This new interpreter is installed into the same directory as the GraphicsMagick utilities. If --enable-shared is specified, the PerlMagick extension is built as a dynamically loadable object which is loaded into your current PERL interpreter at run-time. Use of dynamically-loaded extensions is preferable over statically linked extensions so --enable-shared should be specified if possible (note that all libraries used with GraphicsMagick must be shared libraries!).


static archive libraries (with extension .a) are not built. If you are building shared libraries, there is little value to building static libraries. Reasons to build static libraries include: 1) they can be easier to debug; 2) the clients do not have external dependencies (i.e. libMagick.so); 3) building PIC versions of the delegate libraries may take additional expertise and effort; 4) you are unable to build shared libraries.


By default the GraphicsMagick build is configured to formally install into a directory tree. This is the most secure and reliable way to install GraphicsMagick. Specifying --disable-installed configures GraphicsMagick so that it doesn't use hard-coded paths and locates support files by computing an offset path from the executable (or from the location specified by the MAGICK_HOME environment variable. The uninstalled configuration is ideal for binary distributions which are expected to extract and run in any location.


The implementation of file format support for some formats is incomplete or imperfectly implemented such that file corruption or a security exploit might occur. These formats are not included in the build by default but may be enabled using --enable-broken-coders. The existing implementation may still have value in controlled circumstances so it remains but needs to be enabled. One of the formats currently controlled by this is Adobe Photoshop bitmap format (PSD).


Image coders and process modules are built as loadable modules which are installed under the directory [prefix]/lib/GraphicsMagick-X.X.X/modules-QN (where 'N' equals 8, 16, or 32 depending on the quantum depth) in the subdirectories 'coders' and 'filters' respectively. The modules build option is only available in conjunction with --enable-shared. If --enable-shared is not also specified, then support for building modules is disabled. Note that if --enable-shared is specified, the module loader is active (allowing extending an installed GraphicsMagick by simply copying a module into place) but GraphicsMagick itself is not built using modules.

Use of the modules build is recommended where it is possible to use it. Using modules defers the overhead due to library dependencies (searching the filesystem for libraries, shared library relocations, initialized data, and constructors) until the point the libraries are required to be used to support the file format requested. Traditionally it has been thought that a 'static' program will be more performant than one built with shared libraries, and perhaps this may be true, but building a 'static' GraphicsMagick does not account for the many shared libraries it uses on a typical Unix/Linux system. These shared libraries may impose unexpected overhead. For example, it was recently noted that libxml2 is now often linked with the ICU (international character sets) libraries which are huge C++ libraries consuming almost 30MB of disk space and that simply linking with these libraries causes GraphicsMagick to start up much more slowly. By using the modules build, libxml2 (and therefore the huge ICU C++ libraries) are only loaded in the few cases (e.g. SVG format) where it is needed.

When applications depend on the GraphicsMagick libraries, using the modules build lessens the linkage overhead due to using GraphicsMagick.


The GraphicsMagick libraries may contain symbols which conflict with other libraries. Specifify this option to prefix "Gm" to all library symbols, and use the C pre-processor to allow dependent code to still compile as before.


Normally GraphicsMagick installs only the 'gm' utility from which all commands may be accessed. Existing packages may be designed to invoke ImageMagick utilities (e.g. "convert"). Specify this option to install ImageMagick utility compatibility links to allow GraphicsMagick to substitute directly for ImageMagick. Take care when selecting this option since if there is an existing ImageMagick installation installed in the same directory, its utilities will be replaced when GraphicsMagick is installed.


This option allows the user to specify the number of bits to use per pixel quantum (the size of the red, green, blue, and alpha pixel components. When an image file with less depth is read, smaller values are scaled up to this size for processing, and are scaled down from this size when a file with lower depth is written. For example, "--with-quantum-depth=8" builds GraphicsMagick using 8-bit quantums. Most computer display adaptors use 8-bit quantums. Currently supported arguments are 8, 16, or 32. The default is 8. This option is the most important option in determining the overall run-time performance of GraphicsMagick.

The number of bits in a quantum determines how many values it may contain. Each quantum level supports 256 times as many values as the previous level. The following table shows the range available for various quantum sizes.


Valid Range (Decimal)

Valid Range (Hex)










Larger pixel quantums cause GraphicsMagick to run more slowly and to require more memory. For example, using sixteen-bit pixel quantums causes GraphicsMagick to run 15% to 50% slower (and take twice as much memory) than when it is built to support eight-bit pixel quantums. Regardless, the GraphicsMagick authors prefer to use sixteen-bit pixel quantums since they support all common image formats and assure that there is no loss of color precision.

The amount of virtual memory consumed by an image can be computed by the equation (QuantumDepth*Rows*Columns*5)/8. This is an important consideration when resources are limited, particularly since processing an image may require several images to be in memory at one time. The following table shows memory consumption values for a 1024x768 image:


Virtual Memory







GraphicsMagick performs all image processing computations using floating point or non-lossy integer arithmetic, so results are very accurate. Increasing the quantum storage size decreases the amount of quantization noise (usually not visible at 8 bits) and helps prevent countouring and posterization in the image.

Consider also using the --enable-quantum-library-names configure option so that installed shared libraries include the quantum depth as part of their names so that shared libraries using different quantum depth options may co-exist in the same directory.


Disable building Magick++, the C++ application programming interface to GraphicsMagick. A suitable C++ compiler is required in order to build Magick++. Specify the CXX configure variable to select the C++ compiler to use (default "g++"), and CXXFLAGS to select the desired compiler opimization and debug flags (default "-g -O2"). Antique C++ compilers will normally be rejected by configure tests so specifying this option should only be necessary if Magick++ fails to compile.


Normally external program names are substituted into the delegates.mgk file without full paths. Specify this option to enable saving full paths to programs using locations determined by configure. This is useful for environments where programs are stored under multiple paths, and users may use different PATH settings than the person who builds GraphicsMagick.


By default, the GraphicsMagick library is compiled to be fully thread safe by using thread APIs to implement required locking. This is intended to allow the GraphicsMagick library to be used by multi-threaded programs using native POSIX threads. If the locking or dependence on thread APIs is undesireable, then specify --without-threads. Testing shows that the overhead from thread safety is virtually unmeasurable so usually there is no reason to disable multi-thread support. While previous versions disabled OpenMP support when this option was supplied, that is no longer the case since then OpenMP locking APIs are used instead.


By default, GraphicsMagick is compiled with support for large (> 2GB on a 32-bit CPU) files if the operating system supports large files. Applications which use the GraphicsMagick library might then also need to be compiled to support for large files (operating system dependent). Normally support for large files is a good thing. Only disable this option if there is a need to do so.


By default, GraphicsMagick is compiled with support for OpenMP (http://www.openmp.org/) if the compilation environment supports it. OpenMP automatically parallizes loops across concurrent threads based on instructions in pragmas. OpenMP was introduced in GCC 4.2. OpenMP is a well-established standard and was implemented in some other compilers in the late '90s, long before its appearance in GCC. OpenMP adds additional build and linkage requirements. GraphicsMagick supports OpenMP version 2.0 and later, primarily using features defined by version 2.5, but will be optionally using features from version 3.1 in the future since it is commonly available.

By default, GraphicsMagick enables as many threads as there are CPU cores (or CPU threads). According to the OpenMP standard, the OMP_NUM_THREADS environment variable specifies how many threads should be used and GraphicsMagick also honors this request. In order to obtain the best single-user performance, set OMP_NUM_THREADS equal to the number of available CPU cores. On a server with many cores and many programs running at once, there may be benefit to setting OMP_NUM_THREADS to a much smaller value than the number of cores, and sometimes values as low as two (or even one, to disable threading) will offer the best overall system performance. Tuning a large system with OpenMP programs running in parallel (competing for resources) is a complex topic and some research and experimentation may be required in order to find the best parameters.


On some systems, memory-bound algorithms run slower (rather than faster) as threads are added via OpenMP. This may be due to CPU cache and memory architecture implementation, or OS thread API implementation. Since it is not known how a system will behave without testing and pre-built binaries need to work well on all systems, these algorithms are now disabled for OpenMP by default. If you are using a well-threaded OS on a CPU with a good high-performance memory architecture, you might consider enabling this option based on experimentation.


Use this option to include PerlMagick in the GraphicsMagick build and test suite. While PerlMagick is always configured by default (PerlMagick/Makefile.PL is generated by the configure script), PerlMagick is no longer installed by GraphicsMagick's ''make install''. The procedure to configure, build, install, and check PerlMagick is described in PerlMagick/README.txt. When using a shared library build of GraphicsMagick, it is necessary to formally install GraphicsMagick prior to building PerlMagick in order to achieve a working PerlMagick since otherwise the wrong GraphicsMagick libraries may be used.

If the argument ''--with-perl=/path/to/perl'' is supplied, then /path/to/perl will be taken as the PERL interpreter to use. This is important in case the 'perl' executable in your PATH is not PERL5, or is not the PERL you want to use. Experience suggests that static PerlMagick builds may not be fully successful (at least for executing the test suite) for Perl versions newer than 5.8.8.

As a convenience, the Makefile targets 'perl-build', 'install-exec-perl', and 'perl-check' are provided. In order to assure that library dependencies and search paths are correct, it is necessary to first install GraphicsMagick via 'make install', then build PerlMagick using 'make perl-build', then install PerlMagick using 'sudo make install-exec-perl', and then 'make perl-check' to make sure that it actually works.


The PerlMagick module is normally installed using the Perl interpreter's installation PREFIX, rather than GraphicsMagick's. If GraphicsMagick's installation prefix is not the same as PERL's PREFIX, then you may find that PerlMagick's 'make install' step tries to install into a directory tree that you don't have write permissions to. This is common when PERL is delivered with the operating system or on Internet Service Provider (ISP) web servers. If you want PerlMagick to install elsewhere, then provide a PREFIX option to PERL's configuration step via "--with-perl-options=PREFIX=/some/place". Other options accepted by MakeMaker are 'LIB', 'LIBPERL_A', 'LINKTYPE', and 'OPTIMIZE'. See the ExtUtils::MakeMaker(3) manual page for more information on configuring PERL extensions.


By default, GraphicsMagick will use X11 libraries if they are available. When --without-x is specified, use of X11 is disabled. The display, animate, and import sub-commands are not included. The remaining sub-commands have reduced functionality such as no access to X11 fonts (consider using Postscript or TrueType fonts instead).


Specify the directory containing the Ghostscript Postscript Type 1 font files (e.g. "n019003l.pfb") also known as the "URW Fonts" so that they can be rendered using the FreeType library. These fonts emulate the standard 35 fonts commonly available on printers supporting Adobe Postscript so they are very useful to have. If the font files are installed using the default Ghostscript installation paths (${prefix}/share/ghostscript/fonts), they should be discovered automatically by configure and specifying this option is not necessary. Specify this option if the Ghostscript fonts fail to be located automatically, or the location needs to be overridden.

The "Ghostscript" fonts (also known as "URW Standard postscript fonts (cyrillicized)") are available from


These fonts may are often available as a package installed by a package manager and installing from a package manager is easier than installing from source:

URW Font Packages


Package Name

Fonts Installation Path




Debian Linux



Gentoo Linux












OS X/Homebrew


[ TBD ]

Red Hat Linux



Ubuntu Linux




Specify the directory containing MS-Windows-compatible fonts. This is not necessary when GraphicsMagick is running under MS-Windows.


The GNU libc malloc and some other mallocs exhibits poor concurrency in multi-threaded OpenMP programs and this can severely impact OpenMP speedup. The 'tcmalloc' library provided as part of Google gperftools has been observed to perform far better than the default GNU libc memory allocator for multi-threaded use, and also for single-threaded use. Overall benchmark performance improvements of up to a factor of two are observed for some algorithms (even with just 12 cores) and it is expected that the improvements will become much more apparent with larger numbers of cores (e.g. 64 cores). Using tcmalloc may improve performance dramatically for some work-loads on modern multi-core systems.


The default Solaris memory allocator exhibits poor concurrency in multi-threaded programs and this can impact OpenMP speedup under Solaris (and systems derived from it such as Illumos). Use this convenience option to enable use of the umem memory allocation library, which is observed to be more performant in multi-threaded programs. There is a port of umem available for Linux so this option is not specific to Solaris.


The default Solaris memory allocator exhibits poor concurrency in multi-threaded programs and this can impact OpenMP speedup under Solaris (and systems derived from it such as Illumos). Use this convenience option to enable use of the mtmalloc memory allocation library, which is more performant in multi-threaded programs than the default libc memory allocator, and more performant in multi-threaded programs than umem, but is less memory efficient.


JPEG XL seems to be a work in progress, with previous APIs being deprecated, and replacement APIs introduced. We have taken an approach to use the latest recommended APIs. For development testing with it (0.7.0 or later) we build it as described on its git page (https://github.com/libjxl/libjxl), but configure and build it like:

git clone https://github.com/libjxl/libjxl.git --recursive --shallow-submodules
cd ./libjxl
mkdir build
cd ./build
export CC=clang-12 CXX=clang++-12
cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=RelWithDebInfo -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr/local ..
cmake --build . -- -j$(nproc)
make test
[ check for 100% tests passed ]
make install

While the JPEG XL project recommends using Clang, it is observed to work without known issues when compiled using GCC 9.4.0.

Building under Cygwin

GraphicsMagick may be built under the Windows '95-XP Cygwin Unix-emulation environment available for free from


It is suggested that the X11R6 package be installed since this enables GraphicsMagick's X11 support (animate, display, and import sub-commands will work) and it includes the Freetype v2 DLL required to support TrueType and Postscript Type 1 fonts. Make sure that /usr/X11R6/bin is in your PATH prior to running configure.

If you are using Cygwin version 1.3.9 or later, you may specify the configure option '--enable-shared' to build Cygwin DLLs. Specifying '--enable-shared' is required if you want to build PerlMagick under Cygwin because Cygwin does not provide the libperl.a static library required to create a static PerlMagick. Note that older Cygwin compilers may not generate code which supports reliably catching C++ exceptions thrown by DLL code. The Magick++ library requires that it be possible to catch C++ exceptions thrown from DLLs. The test suite make check includes several tests to verify that C++ exceptions are working properly.

Building under MinGW & MSYS2

GraphicsMagick may easily be built using the free MSYS2 distribution which provides GCC compilers, libraries, and headers, targeting native Windows along with a Unix-like command shell and a package manager ('Pacman') to install pre-compiled components. Using the pre-compiled packages, it is almost as easy to compile GraphicsMagick under MSYS2 as it is under Linux!

When using MSYS2, requesting to install these packages using 'pacman -S' should result in getting up to speed very quicky with a featureful 64-bit build:

mingw-w64-x86_64-toolchain, mingw-w64-x86_64-bzip2, mingw-w64-x86_64-freetype, mingw-w64-x86_64-ghostscript, mingw-w64-x86_64-jasper, mingw-w64-x86_64-jbigkit, mingw-w64-x86_64-lcms2, mingw-w64-x86_64-libheif, mingw-w64-x86_64-libjpeg-turbo, mingw-w64-x86_64-libpng, mingw-w64-x86_64-libtiff, mingw-w64-x86_64-libtool, mingw-w64-x86_64-libwebp, mingw-w64-x86_64-libwmf, mingw-w64-x86_64-libxml2, mingw-w64-x86_64-zlib

and/or use the following to add support for a 32-bit build:

mingw-w64-i686-toolchain, mingw-w64-i686-bzip2, mingw-w64-i686-freetype, mingw-w64-i686-ghostscript, mingw-w64-i686-jasper, mingw-w64-i686-libheif, mingw-w64-i686-jbigkit, mingw-w64-i686-lcms2, mingw-w64-i686-libjpeg-turbo, mingw-w64-i686-libpng, mingw-w64-i686-libtiff, mingw-w64-i686-libtool, mingw-w64-i686-libwebp, mingw-w64-i686-libwmf, mingw-w64-i686-libxml2, mingw-w64-i686-zlib

GraphicsMagick may also be built using the free MinGW ("Minimalistic GNU for Windows") package, available from


or from


which consist of GNU-based (GCC) compilation toolsets plus headers and libraries required to build programs which are entirely based on standard Microsoft Windows DLLs so that they may be used for proprietary applications. MSYS provides a Unix-style console shell window with sufficient functionality to run the GraphicsMagick configure script and execute 'make', 'make check', and 'make install'. GraphicsMagick may be executed from the MSYS shell, but since it is a normal Windows application, it will work just as well from the Windows command line.

Unlike the Cygwin build which creates programs based on a Unix-emulation DLL, and which uses Unix-style paths to access Windows files, the MinGW build creates native Windows console applications similar to the Visual C++ build. Run-time performance is similar to the Microsoft compilers.

The base MinGW (or MinGW-w64) package and the MSYS package should be installed. Other MinGW packages are entirely optional. Once MSYS is installed a MSYS icon (blue capital 'M') is added to the desktop. Double clicking on this icon starts an instance of the MSYS shell.

Start the MSYS console and follow the Unix configure and build instructions. The configure and build for MinGW is the same as for Unix. Any additional delegate libraries (e.g. libpng) will need to be built under MinGW in order to be used. These libraries should be built and installed prior to configuring GraphicsMagick. While some delegate libraries are easy to configure and build under MinGW, others may be quite a challenge.

Lucky for us, the most common delegate libraries are available pre-built, as part of the GnuWin32 project, from


The relevant packages are bzip2, freetype, jbigkit, libintl, jpeg, libpng, libtiff, libwmf and zlib. However, note that for freetype to be detected by configure, you must move the freetype directory out of GnuWin32\include\freetype2 and into GnuWin32\include.

Note that older MinGW compilers may not generate code which supports reliably catching C++ exceptions thrown by DLL code. The Magick++ library requires that it be possible to catch C++ exceptions thrown from DLLs. The test suite (make check) includes several tests to verify that C++ exceptions are working properly. If the MinGW you are using fails the C++ exception tests, then the solution is to either find a MinGW with working C++ exceptions, configure a static build with --disable-shared, or disable building Magick++ with --without-magick-plus-plus.

Note that the default installation prefix is MSYS's notion of /usr/local which installs the package into a MSYS directory. To install outside of the MSYS directory tree, you may specify an installation prefix like /c/GraphicsMagick which causes the package to be installed under the Windows directory C:\GraphicsMagick. The installation directory structure will look very much like the Unix installation layout (e.g. C:\GraphicsMagick\bin, C:\GraphicsMagick\lib, C:\GraphicsMagick\share, etc.). Paths which may be embedded in libraries and configuration files are transformed into Windows paths so they don't depend on MSYS.

Cross-compilation On Unix/Linux Host

Given a modern and working MinGW32 or mingw-w64 installation, it is easy to cross-compile GraphicsMagick from a Unix-type host to produce Microsoft Windows executables.

This incantation produces a static WIN32 gm.exe executable on an Ubuntu Linux host with the i686-w64 cross-compiler installed:

./configure '--host=i686-w64-mingw32' '--disable-shared'

and this incantation produces a static WIN64 gm.exe executable on an Ubuntu Linux host with the x86_64-w64 cross-compiler installed:

./configure '--host=x86_64-w64-mingw32' '--disable-shared'

For a full-fledged GraphicsMagick program, normally one will want to pre-install or cross-compile the optional libraries that GraphicsMagick may depend on and install them where the cross-compiler will find them, or add extra CPPFLAGS and LDFLAGS options so that the compiler searches for header files and libraries in the correct place.

Configuring for building with shared libraries (libGraphicsMagick, libGraphicsMagickWand, and libGraphicsMagick++ DLLs) and modules (coders as DLLs) is also supported by the cross-builds. A cross-built libtool libltdl needs to be built in advance in order to use the --with-modules modules option.

After configuring the software for cross-compilation, the software is built using make as usual and everything should be as with native compilation except that make check is likely not available (testing might be possible on build system via WINE, not currently tested/supported by GraphicsMagick authors).

Use of the DESTDIR approach as described in the Build & Install section is recommended in order to install the build products into a formal directory tree before preparing to copy onto the Windows target system (e.g. by packaging via an installer).

Dealing with configuration failures

While configure is designed to ease installation of GraphicsMagick, it often discovers problems that would otherwise be encountered later when compiling GraphicsMagick. The configure script tests for headers and libraries by executing the compiler (CC) with the specified compilation flags (CFLAGS), pre-processor flags (CPPFLAGS), and linker flags (LDFLAGS). Any errors are logged to the file 'config.log'. If configure fails to discover a header or library please review this log file to determine why, however, please be aware that errors in the config.log are normal because configure works by trying something and seeing if it fails. An error in config.log is only a problem if the test should have passed on your system. After taking corrective action, be sure to remove the 'config.cache' file before running configure so that configure will re-inspect the environment rather than using cached values.

Common causes of configure failures are:

  1. A delegate header is not in the header include path (CPPFLAGS -I option).

  2. A delegate library is not in the linker search/run path (LDFLAGS -L/-R option).

  3. A delegate library is missing a function (old version?).OB

  4. The compilation environment is faulty.

If all reasonable corrective actions have been tried and the problem appears to be due to a flaw in the configure script, please send a bug report to the configure script maintainer (currently bfriesen@graphicsmagick.org). All bug reports should contain the operating system type (as reported by 'uname -a') and the compiler/compiler-version. A copy of the configure script output and/or the config.log file may be valuable in order to find the problem. If you send a config.log, please also send a script of the configure output and a description of what you expected to see (and why) so the failure you are observing can be identified and resolved.

Makefile Build Targets

Once GraphicsMagick is configured, these standard build targets are available from the generated Makefiles:


Build the package

'make install'

Install the package

'make check'

Run tests using the uninstalled software. On some systems, 'make install' must be done before the test suite will work but usually the software can be tested prior to installation.

The test suite requires sufficient RAM memory to run. The memory requirement is 128MB for the Q8 build, or 256MB for the Q16 build, or 512MB for the Q32 build.

'make clean'

Remove everything in the build directory created by 'make'

'make distclean'

Remove everything in the build directory created by 'configure' and 'make'. This is useful if you want to start over from scratch.

'make uninstall'

Remove all files from the system which are (or would be) installed by 'make install' using the current configuration. Note that this target does not work for PerlMagick since Perl no longer supports an 'uninstall' target.

Build & Install

Now that GraphicsMagick is configured, type


to build the package and

make install

to install it.

To install under a specified directory using the install directory tree layout (e.g. as part of the process for packaging the built software), specify DESTDIR like

make DESTDIR=/my/dest/dir install

Verifying The Build

To confirm your installation of the GraphicsMagick distribution was successful, ensure that the installation directory is in your executable search path and type

gm display

The GraphicsMagick logo should be displayed on your X11 display.

Verify that the expected image formats are supported by executing

gm convert -list formats

Verify that the expected fonts are available by executing

gm convert -list fonts

Verify that delegates (external programs) are configured as expected by executing

gm convert -list delegates

Verify that color definitions may be loaded by executing

gm convert -list colors

If GraphicsMagick is built to use loadable coder modules, then verify that the modules load via

gm convert -list modules

Verify that GraphicsMagick is properly identifying the resources of your machine via

gm convert -list resources

For a thorough test, you should run the GraphicsMagick test suite by typing

make check

Note that due to differences between the developer's environment and your own, it is possible that some tests may be indicated as failed even though the results are ok. Such failures should be rare, and if they do occur, they should be reported as a bug. Differences between the developer's environment environment and your own may include the compiler, the CPU type, and the library versions used. The GraphicsMagick developers use the current release of all dependent libraries.

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