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Cairo is a 2D graphics library with support for multiple output devices. Currently supported output targets include the X Window System (via both Xlib and XCB), Quartz, Win32, image buffers, PostScript, PDF, and SVG file output. Experimental backends include OpenGL, BeOS, OS/2, and DirectFB.

Cairo is designed to produce consistent output on all output media while taking advantage of display hardware acceleration when available (eg. through the X Render Extension).

The cairo API provides operations similar to the drawing operators of PostScript and PDF. Operations in cairo including stroking and filling cubic Bézier splines, transforming and compositing translucent images, and antialiased text rendering. All drawing operations can be transformed by any affine transformation (scale, rotation, shear, etc.)

Cairo is implemented as a library written in the C programming language, but bindings are available for several different programming languages.


API Reference Manual at Various Language Specific Tutorials at FAQ at


Download version 1.12.14 (stable)
released on 10 February 2013

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LicenseVerified byVerified onNotes
LGPLv2.1Ted Teah7 November 2006

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This entry (in part or in whole) was last reviewed on 3 January 2014.


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