New Network Engineering users often use screenshots (images) for configurations, logs, etc.

  • Why is using such images a problem?
  • Isn't that why we have the option to upload images?
  • What to do to show configurations so readers get a better understanding of the question?

(This question is based on this Stack Overflow Meta question).

  • This should be a FAQ entry. (short answer: text is text, don't make it a 100 orders of magnitude larger image.)
    – Ricky
    Oct 5, 2022 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


You should not post configurations, logs, error messages, debugs, or anything else that is represented in textual form as an image because:

  • Images cannot be copied and pasted into an editor and tested/debugged.
  • Images are large and hard to read on mobile devices, and often cost mobile users valuable data that is limited.
  • Images are often blocked by corporate proxies, and therefore the configuration is not available to those readers. (This can also apply to some non-US countries that do not allow access to some sites, including image sites.)
  • Images cannot be searched and therefore are not useful to future readers.
  • Images are harder to read than text.
  • For larger configurations, you may require multiple images one by one, which may break the continuation, readability & extensibility. However, a very large configuration text can easily be placed in a pre-formatted text format.
  • Posting images of your configuration is more difficult than copying/pasting the actual configuration and formatting it.
  • You're asking us to volunteer our time for free to solve your problem, and you should make it as easy as possible for us to do so.
  • Images cannot be interpreted by screen readers, which is a major usability problem for those with visual impairments.
  • Hosted image URLs often become stale and unavailable, breaking future ability to read the post.
  • Images show a limited number of configuration lines. For moderately complex questions, you cannot fit all the required configuration on a single screen, even when you have created the most minimal example possible to reproduce the issue at hand.
  • Others cannot improve your question by editing your image.
  • Others cannot see if an error in your configuration is caused by invisible characters or misuse of Unicode characters that look the same.
  • Images require more bandwidth than text: a simple 200 byte text snippet costs a thousand times less bandwidth than a 200 KB image.
  • Some people are using the dark theme to browse the site. A white background in an image may hurt their eyes when browsing at late hours. Also, an image with a transparent background might be perfectly visible in the light theme but hardly visible in the dark theme!

Images should only be used to illustrate problems that can't be made clear in any other way, such as to provide screenshots of a user interface.

Instead of using images, paste the actual text into your question, select it, and hit the Preformatted text button in the toolbar (it looks like {} and is next to the Image button) or press Ctrl+K. (If you wish to format it by hand, you can insert four spaces before each line.)

Questions that contain images for text may be closed for lack of clarity and/or details. Once they are edited to include configurations, etc. in plain text form, they can be re-opened.

(This answer is based on this Stack Overflow Meta answer.)

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