Python Imaging Library

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Python Imaging Library
Original author(s)Fredrik Lundh
Developer(s)Secret Labs AB
Initial release1995; 24 years ago (1995)[1]
Stable release
1.1.7 / November 15, 2009; 10 years ago (2009-11-15)[3]
Preview release
1.2a0[2] / 2011; 8 years ago (2011)
Written inPython, C
TypeLibrary for image processing
LicensePython Imaging Library license[1]

Python Imaging Library (abbreviated as PIL) (in newer versions known as Pillow) is a free library for the Python programming language that adds support for opening, manipulating, and saving many different image file formats. It is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The latest version of PIL is 1.1.7, was released in September 2009 and supports Python 1.5.2–2.7, with Python 3 support to be released "later".[3]

Development appears to be discontinued with the last commit to the PIL repository coming in 2011.[2] Consequently, a successor project called Pillow has forked the PIL repository and added Python 3.x support.[4] This fork has been adopted as a replacement for the original PIL in Linux distributions including Debian[5] and Ubuntu (since 13.04).[6]


Pillow offers several standard procedures for image manipulation. These include:

  • per-pixel manipulations,
  • masking and transparency handling,
  • image filtering, such as blurring, contouring, smoothing, or edge finding,
  • image enhancing, such as sharpening, adjusting brightness, contrast or color,
  • adding text to images and much more.

File formats[edit]

Some of the file formats supported are PPM, PNG, JPEG, GIF, TIFF, and BMP. It is also possible to create new file decoders to expand the library of file formats accessible.[7]

Usage example[edit]

This example loads an image from the hard drive and blurs it.

1 from PIL import Image, ImageFilter  # imports the library
3 original ="file.ppm") # load an image from the hard drive
4 blurred = original.filter(ImageFilter.BLUR) # blur the image
6 # display both images


The Python Imaging Library (PIL) is

 Copyright © 1997-2011 by Secret Labs AB
 Copyright © 1995-2011 by Fredrik Lundh

Based on [1]


  1. ^ a b "Software License". Secret Labs AB. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "effbot / pil-2009-raclette". Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Python Imaging Library". Secret Labs AB. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  4. ^ "Pillow: a modern fork of PIL". Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "Details of package python-imaging in sid". Software in the Public Interest. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  6. ^ "Details of package python-imaging in raring". Canonical Ltd. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  7. ^ "D. Writing Your Own File Decoder". Retrieved 2014-01-28.

External links[edit]