||This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2008)
In Internet culture, an image macro is an image superimposed with text for humorous effect.
Etymology and usage 
The term "image macro" originated from websites like the Something Awful forums and possibly other Internet sites. The name derived from the fact that the 'macros' were a short bit of text a user could enter that the forum software would automatically parse and expand into the code for a pre-defined image, relating to the computer science topic of a macro, defined as "a rule or pattern that specifies how a certain input sequence (often a sequence of characters) should be mapped to an output sequence (also often a sequence of characters) according to a defined procedure."
Beginning in 2007, lolcats and similar image macros (a form of Internet phenomena) spread beyond the initial communities who created them and became widely popular.
Usage on Internet forums 
On Internet forums and imageboards, image macros are used to emphasize a certain phrase (often an Internet meme) by superimposing it over a related picture. For some time on the Something Awful forums, the use of a preset "macro" text would insert a corresponding image into the forum post. This allowed the frequent use of preset text such as [img-timeline], which resulted in the "Timeline of history" image being banned from use as well as the usage of "img-timeline" to mean that "something is old news".
Although they come in many forms, the most common type of image macro is a photograph with large text superimposed in Impact font, using all upper case letters and coloured white with a thick black outline. Exaggerated, intentional spelling errors are also used frequently for humorous effect.
One of the more famous image macros is "O RLY?" O RLY is often used on the internet as an abbreviation for the phrase "Oh, really?" Originally started with a snowy owl photograph (which is the classic O RLY image macro), it spread out over the Web quickly and was followed by other macros that convey a wide range of emotions. Another style of image macro that has amassed its own separate subculture is the "lolcat", an image combining a photograph of a cat with text intended to contribute humour. The text is often idiosyncratic and grammatically incorrect, and its use in this way is known as "lolspeak" or "kitty pidgin".
See also