Converting an Image to a Base64 data URL with Node.JS

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Data URLs are a pretty handy way of encoding small files, or binary data, into HTML.

Sometimes you'll want to use them for adding images inline into an HTML file, so will want a handy way of converting the image to the correctly formatted URL, of the form:


A "good enough" script is to use the following, which fits into a oneliner:

node -e 'console.log(`data:image/png;base64,${fs.readFileSync(process.argv[1], "base64")}`)' /path/to/image

Or as a standalone script:

// node image.js /path/to/image
const fs = require('fs')
const contents = fs.readFileSync(process.argv[2], "base64")


Note that we've hardcoded image/png - Firefox (v91 Nightly, at the time of writing) allows either a JPEG or a PNG to be provided as such, which is great, as does Chromium (v96), but this isn't the best solution as it may not always work.

A better solution is that we use the image-type library to correctly determine the media type for the provided file:

const fs = require('fs')
const imageType = require('image-type')

const contents = fs.readFileSync(process.argv[2])
const b64 = contents.toString('base64')

const type = imageType(contents)
if (type.mime === null) {


Which can then be run as:

node image.js /path/to/image

Written by Jamie Tanna's profile image Jamie Tanna on , and last updated on .

Content for this article is shared under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International, and code is shared under the Apache License 2.0.

#blogumentation #nodejs #command-line.

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