PGM (short for Portable Gray Map) is a file format associated with Netpbm, a bitmap graphics package.
PGM files store 8- or 16-bit grayscale images. A single PGM file can store multiple such images. Each pixel can take a value from 0 (black) to 65 536 (white).
PGM files can saved data in the following formats:
- text (file header with P2 value), which can only store a single image,
- binary (file header with P5 value), which is capable of storing several images in a single file.
File header also defines height, width, and color depth of the image. He body of the file contains values for each image pixel.
File with PGM extension is an example of PNM (Portable Anymap) standard implementation. PGM files are chiefly used as an image interchange format. Besides PGM, other implementations are available:
- PBM for storing black-and-white images,
- PPM for storing color images (RGB).
The list that follows enumerates programs compatible with PGM files, divided into 3 categories based on operating system on which they are available. Files with PGM suffix can be copied to any mobile device or system platform, but it may not be possible to open them properly on target system.
There can be multiple causes why you have problems with opening PGM files on given system. Fortunately, most common problems with PGM files can be solved without in-depth IT knowledge, and most importantly, in a matter of minutes. The following is a list of guidelines that will help you identify and solve file-related problems.
The most common reason for such problems is the lack of proper applications that supports PGM files installed on the system. This issue can be addressed by downloading and installing GIMP or different compatible program, such as ACDSee, PaintShop Pro, Canvas. The full list of programs grouped by operating systems can be found above. If you want to download GIMP installer in the most secured manner, we suggest you visit The GIMP Team website and download from their official repositories.
If you already have GIMP installed on your systems and PGM files are still not opened properly, check if you have the latest version of the software. Software developers may implement support for more modern file formats in updated versions of their products. If you have an older version of GIMP installed, it may not support PGM format. The most recent version of GIMP is backward compatible and can handle file formats supported by older versions of the software.
If you have the latest version of GIMP installed and the problem persists, select it as the default program to be used to manage PGM on your device. The method is quite simple and varies little across operating systems.
Change the default application in Windows
Change the default application in Mac OS
You closely followed the steps listed in points 1-3, but the problem is still present? You should check whether the file is a proper PGM file. Problems with opening the file may arise due to various reasons.
Should it happed that the PGM is infected with a virus, this may be that cause that prevents you from accessing it. Immediately scan the file using an antivirus tool or scan the whole system to ensure the whole system is safe. If the scanner detected that the PGM file is unsafe, proceed as instructed by the antivirus program to neutralize the threat.
Did you receive the PGM file in question from a different person? Ask him/her to send it one more time. It is possible that the file has not been properly copied to a data storage and is incomplete and therefore cannot be opened. When downloading the file with PGM extension from the internet an error may occurred resulting in incomplete file. Try downloading the file again.
Some files require elevated access rights to open them. Log in using an administrative account and see If this solves the problem.
The operating systems may note enough free resources to run the application that support PGM files. Close all running programs and try opening the PGM file.
Up-to-date system and drivers not only makes your computer more secure, but also may solve problems with Portable Gray Map Image file. Outdated drivers or software may have caused the inability to use a peripheral device needed to handle PGM files.
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