Viewing ANSI art in MS-DOS virtual machines

Frederic Cambus June 19, 2020 [Ansi Art] [DOS]

I sometimes get reports about Ansilove rendering some artworks differently than other ANSI art editors and viewers for modern platforms.

Ansilove tries to be faithful to ANSI.SYS and MS-DOS based editors and viewers rendering, as the vast majority of artworks were created during the DOS era. Most of the time, using ACiDDraw and ACiD View in DOSBox is enough, but when in doubt, it can be useful to verify how ANSI.SYS rendered a particular piece.

Once we have MS-DOS installed and working in a virtual machine, the next step is accessing files within the VM. The easiest way to do so is to create and use virtual floppy images to transfer files.

On a Linux machine, one can use mkfs.msdos to create an empty floppy image:

mkfs.msdos -C floppy.img 1440

The image can then be mounted on the host to copy the desired content, then attached to the virtual machine.

In the MS-DOS guest, we need to enable ANSI.SYS in CONFIG.SYS:


We can then render the files we want to verify:


80x50 mode can be enabled this way: