Turn Instagram and Facebook photos into ASCII art

I just learnt that Instagram and Facebook has an “easter egg” feature that converts your images into ASCII art.

Basically, you can simply turn this:Instagram photo

Into this:Instagram and Facebook photo ASCII Art

Apparently this feature has been around for a while, but has recently re-surfaced after Mathias Bynens discovered it and posted about it on Twitter a few weeks ago.

All you need to do is append .txt or .html to the URL of any image on Instagram and Facebook.  Adding .txt will convert the image into black and white ASCII art, and adding .html will convert it into coloured ASCII art (NB: It seems a little harder with Facebook as the photo needs to be set to public for this to work).

How to convert photos to ASCII in Facebook?

  1. Open a photo that has the privacy set to “public”.
  2. Right click on the image and go to “Open image in new tab”.  This will open up the image in a new tab.
  3. Go to the address bar at the top of your browser and add “.html” after “.jpg” and delete the other stuff at the end of the URL.
  4. Press enter and the image should convert into ASCII art which you can save by going to File > Save Page As… (NB: Not all images seem to work in Facebook, so it’s a bit of trial and error.  If we find a solution this post will be updated.)

How to convert photos to ASCII art in Instagram?

  1. Open a photo in Instagram.
  2. Right click on the image and go to “View Source” or “Inspect Element”.  This will open up a window with the website code.
  3. Search for the URL of your image.  The easiest way of doing this is to search for “.jpg” by going to Edit > Find… (CTRL + F / Cmd + F).If you’ve used “View Source” this should be the first image it finds and it should be associated with this line of code.
    Instagram photo - View SourceIf you used “Inspect Element” when you put you mouse over the link, it should preview the image in which you can see if it’s the correct one.
    Instagram photo - Inspect Element
  4. Copy the image URL and paste it into the address bar of your browser.
  5. Now add “.html” after “.jpg” and delete the other stuff at the end of the URL.
  6. Press enter and the image should convert into ASCII art which you can save by going to File > Save Page As…

Now I’m not sure what the purpose of this is, but it is a bit of mindless fun.  And who knows, maybe I’ll start an Instagram account posting only ASCII art created from Instagram and Facebook photos.  Stay Posted.

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