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Re: color depth on Windows

From: Maciej
Subject: Re: color depth on Windows
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 16:07:51 -0000
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Oct 18, 4:35 am, "Juanma Barranquero" <address@hidden> wrote:
> You surely lack the image libraries (which are not included in the
> standard distribution). They can be downloaded from GnuWin32
> (
> Take a look at
> At that site you can also download a prebuilt binary for Windows
> (including the image libraries), with some changes with respect to the
> standard distribution. I personally don't like some of the changes,
> but many Windows users seem to consider them quite useful.

Ah, that was indeed it.  I suspected the information was somewhere in
the Emacs documentation, but I was at a loss as to where to find it;
initial searches in the Emacs info pages didn't reveal anything (it
didn't help that I had a misconception of what was causing the
problem).  Anyhow, for (searchable) posterity, here are the relevant
bits, hopefully these will help out others that run into this:

Relevant bit from the README file, the one that resides in same
download directory as the Windows binary ZIP file:

* Image support

  Emacs 22.1 contains support for images, however for most image
  supporting libraries are required.  This distribution has been
  with the libraries that are distributed with GTK for Windows, and
  libraries found at The following
  formats are supported:

      PBM/PGM/PPM: Supported natively by Emacs. This format is used
      the black and white versions of the toolbar icons.

      XPM: requires a Windows port of the XPM library 3.4 or later,
      which will be named xpm4.dll, libxpm-nox4.dll or
      libxpm.dll. This format is used for the color versions of the
      toolbar icons, and other images in Emacs.

      [snipped info for remaining graphic format libraries]

Necessary steps to make the libraries available:
1. go to

2. click on "Setup" links for "Xpm" and any other of the graphic
libraries you'd like available (i.e., those mentioned in the above

3. once downloaded, run the setup programs for the libraries

4. IMPORTANT: you still have to tell Windows where to find the library
DLLs.  So you need to edit the Windows PATH environment variable to
include c:\Program Files\GnuWin32\bin (you'll need to adjust the path
if you told the installers to install the libraries in a path other
than the default).

5. runemacs.exe now comes up with proper toolbars and colour gnu logo!

Afterthought: I really wish one of the opening screens of Emacs made
mention to the missing graphics libraries, in bold/red.  IMHO it is a
general expectation for programs to "just work" right out-of-the -box
in Windows (whether this ideal is reached is another story), and
properly colored toolbar icons would seem like a standard/necessary
feature of any Windows program.  As such, this lack of the XPM library
causes the default Emacs binary to be not fully functional, and it
would thus make sense to alert the user of the problem, and how to
solve it (in a more explicit/direct way than an optional README file).

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