ATE-Ansi Text Editor by Roy/SAC

ATE-Ansi Text Editor

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My attempt to write my own ANSI Art Editing Tool. I already wrote converters (link 2) and latest a Font Tool for the old MS-DOS ANSI Editor TheDraw, so it was only a natural progression to write something like this editor.

If you have no clue what I am talking about here, I'd suggest to pay a visit to my ASCII Art Academy and also to check out my various art galleries :).

You might also want to check out my officiaL blog post about the editor beta release.

Technical Stuff
Native .ATEF Font File Format Specifications V1.0 2014-07


Tool Summary

Tool Name
Current Version
Programming Language Used
Short Description
Latest Version Download


Please Note! ... that all of my tools posted on my web site are using the Free Art License (FAL) 1.3 (Copy left Attitude), which means its free to use, share and even modify and redistribute, as long as your modified version is still free and not commercially distributed. If you want to exploit the software commercially, you would have to contact me and negotiate terms.

Needless to say, but better safe than sorry.... using my tools does not make me liable for any direct or indirect caused damages or losses, because of the use of them. You use them at your own risk. If you are paranoid, don't use them, if you are not understanding what I am saying here, don't use them either.



Main Screen Font Manager (Animated) Font Selection
Edit Tools (Animated) Font Manager - Edit (Animated) Re-Map Colors
Settings Screen Extra Tools (Animated) Splash Screen
Font Manager
Font Properties
Sauce Meta Set Canvas Width
System Font Manager & Glyph Editor System Font View Colors Used (Animated)
Ansi Font Mgr Context Menu Export Menu and Font Menu ATE Help
Custom Character Set Editor Keys Sets Manager/Editor Custom Palette Editor
Extended Palette Color Selection


What the Hell is This?

The latest Instable Beta Version of a new ANSI Editing tool like PabloDraw, ACiDDraw, TheDraw, TundraDraw or TetraDraw or AnsiDraw for Windows 32/64 Bit Systems.

ATE has a full font system very similar to the one of TheDraw (except for the "outline" font type) coming already with over 3.500!!! ready to use ANSI and ASCII fonts.

Import and Export of TheDraw ANSI fonts is supported as well as import and export of the native .ATEF format (file type specifications are included).

Also supported is the import of Figlet ASCII fonts.

For backwards compatibility the import of the .AFNT files from the first beta of this editor is also supported (no export though).

You will recognize many features from the mentioned editors. This tool has some unique features of its own though, such as:

  • ANSI Font System similar to the one provided by TheDraw (but without the limitations in width/height).
  • Several dozen font styles, including most major DOS Code Pages, C64 Set 1 and 2 (PETSCII), Several Amiga Sets and Atari 800 (ATASCII)
  • Many Saving and Export options, including various bitmap formats, HTML Web (ANSI & ASCII) or Unicode Text (ASCII).
  • Alternative Colors and iCE Colors Support
  • Smart Vertical & Horizontal Flip Tool
  • Color Gradient Fill Tool
  • ... and more

Supported Text Formats (Load and Save):
.ANS, .ASC, .PCB (PC Board), .WC2 (Wildcat 2.X), .WC3 (Wildcat 3.X), .AVT (Avatar), .BIN, .TXT (Unicode), .PNG (Bitmap)*, .XB (XBin), .TND (TundraDraw), .ADF (Artworx), .IDF (iCEDraw)

* ANSIs or ASCIIs that were saved as Bitmap using the default 8x16 Pixels PC System Font can be imported and are automatically converted to ANSI text.

Supported Image Formats (Export):

Additional Export Formats:
Unicode Text: UTF16 and UTF8 (Text) and .HTML Web (ANSI & ASCII)
For ANSI Animations: Animated .GIF, .AVI, .WMV, .MP4, .FLV, .MKV, .MPG, .VOB

General Features

  • Free Drawing Tool
  • Gradient and Solid Fill Functions
  • Re-Coloring Tool for ANSI Screens and for Fonts
  • Smart Horizontal and Vertical Flip Functions
  • Color Masks, Paint Tool and More
  • Several dozen font styles, including most major DOS Code Pages, C64 Set 1 and 2 (PETSCII), Several Amiga Sets and Atari 800 (ATASCII) Build in System Font Manager to Add New or Delete/Change existing fonts.
  • Grid Overlay Feature
  • Add Ansi Sizes Supported (Beyond 80 or 160 wide)
  • ANSIs over 100 Lines supported
  • Alternative Colors and iCE Colors Support (Blinking On/Off)
  • Build in Color Palette Editor +Import/Export
  • Customizable Keyboard Function Keys +Import/Export
  • Build in Custom Font Editor +Import/Export


  • Photo/Picture to ANSI Converter Tool. The Converter has currently no settings for tweaking anything, but it generates very decent results in most cases IMHO.
  • Build-in art pack browser, which supports ASCII, ANSI, ANSI-ANIMATION, .S3M/.XM/.MOD Tracker Module Support, Bitmap support, including the old formats .PCX and .IFF/.LBM
  • Separate ANSI Viewer too, with the same features as the 16Colors Browser plus Video support, .TDF TheDraw and .ATEF Font file preview.
  • TheDraw TDF Fonts Management Tool (See My TheDraw Fonts Tool Page)
  • System Fonts Converter/Editor (See My System Font Converter/Editor Tool Page)

As I already mentioned. This tool is currently in BETA status and not running Stable (so SAVE your work frequently ;)). But I decided to make it public anyway, because it is already very useful IMHO, despite the instabilities.

Notes: This Version is in Large Parts a rewrite of code. Many things are faster now and most stuff is now done in real-time (especially the switching between different system fonts)

Check it out, it's free!


Opening & Importing

Open Text Art Files

The "Open Files" dialog already filters files to only include supported formats. (Reading and Writing is supported for all Text Art formats below!)

  • .ADF - ArtWorx ANSI Text File
  • .ANS - ANSI Text File
  • .ASC/.NFO/.DIZ - ASCII Text File
  • .AVT - Avatar ANSI Screen
  • .BIN - Binary ANSI Text File
  • .IDF - iCEDraw ANSI Text File
  • .PCB - PCBoard BBS ANSI Screen
  • .TND - TundraDraw ANSI Text File
  • .WC2 - Wildcat 2.X BBS ANSI Screen
  • .WC3 - Wildcat 3.X BBS ANSI Screen
  • .XB - XBinary ANSI Text File

.PNG - Portable Network Graphics, is also an option. This is only meant for ANSI screens that where exported as .PNG image. The tool will attempt to recognize the used characters and colors to re-create the original ANSI text screen from the image. This is only experimental and only supports images where the ANSI was saved using a 8x16 pixels PC code page character set. There is certainly much to improve upon in the future, but it's off for a good start already IMHO.

Picture Import

Conversion of Pictures/Photographs to ANSI Text.

There are currently no options for tweaking the conversion results. The convert performs some automatic adjustments though, which results in pretty decent results in most cases IMHO. The converter was kind of a case-study of mine, proof of concept so to speak, but I might extend on it in the future.



Video/Animated Gif Export

For opened ANSI Animations, the Export Menu will be extended by a bunch of additional options.

How does the conversion works?

Individual video frames are written to a temporay folder in .PNG format and then converted to either Video or Animated Gif using the free command line tool 'ffmpeg.exe'. The results differ from format to format. The Animated GIF have good quality but are HUGE. I first used by own Animated GIF Encoder, which produced similar quality results, but only a fraction of the size. However, the time to generate the GIF using this encoder is as much longer as the result is smaller. I deemed it to be unacceptable to include it in the program, but still plan to tweak on it for a future version to reduce processing time.

HTML Web Export

The Web export is unique and something that I took over from my other tool, the ANSI/ASCII Text Converter. It saves ASCII's as well as ANSIs using Unicode entity encoding, HTML with tricky CSS 3.0 style sheets to render the colored ANSI or plain ASCII in a modern browser and close to authentic as possible. The results will unfortunately vary between different browsers. Internet Explorer will show the results different than Google Chrome and both of those also won't be the same as Mozilla Firefox results.

It's using "Lucida Console" as font for Internet Explorer and "Terminal, Monospace" for all other browsers, which in effect will trigger the use of whatever font the current brower is using as default for monospaced text formating.

The export to .HTML supports ICE colors as well as blinking. "Blinking" requires a browser which is capable of CSS 3.0, to support the CSS-ANIMATION feature used.

For real old browsers its using the "text-decoration: blink; (CSS 1.0) syntax, which is ignored since, I don't know how many years, by virtually all major browsers (Do you remember, the "good old times" with all the "Flashing" and "Blinking" web sites?! No?! Well, lucky you hehe.

Meaning, either you have a pretty up-to-date browser or a very very old browser in order for the blinking to work. Browser versions in "between" might not render it correctly.

Unicode Text Export

If you select this type, the system will ask in an additional dialog, which of the two possible Unicode encoding you would like to use.

  • UTF-8
  • Unicode (UTF-16)

Unicode encoding does not preserve any color information, so you should only use it for ASCII text files. The Unicode text documents are then usually readable by most 32/64 bit applications, including Word processors. To still get good (even if not 100% authentic) looking results, use a good mono-spaced True-Type (.TTF) font for display.

I personally prefer the font "Lucida Console" or "Lucida Typewriter", but also fonts like "Courier New" or "Monaco" should do the trick. "Terminal" won't work anymore (for folks opening the file in "Notepad" afterwards. That font only works with the original DOS/ASCII encoded text files.


Export Examples

I only provided examples for HTML/Web and Unicode Text Export. There are plenty examples of exporting ANSIs/ASCIIs to bitmap formats across my website.

HTML and Unicode Text
Blinking Ansi (HTML)  Block ASCII (HTML)  Unicode (UTF-16 Text)  Unicode (UTF-8 Text) 


Previous Versions