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Manual Reference Pages  -  DCMCONV (1)


dcmconv - Convert DICOM file encoding



dcmconv [options] dcmfile-in dcmfile-out


The dcmconv utility reads a DICOM file (dcmfile-in), performs an encoding conversion and writes the converted data to an output file (dcmfile-out).


dcmfile-in DICOM input filename to be converted

dcmfile-out DICOM output filename to write to


    general options

-h --help print this help text and exit

--version print version information and exit

--arguments print expanded command line arguments

-q --quiet quiet mode, print no warnings and errors

-v --verbose verbose mode, print processing details

-d --debug debug mode, print debug information

-l --log-level [l]evel: string constant (fatal, error, warn, info, debug, trace) use level l for the logger

-l --log-config [f]ilename: string use config file f for the logger

    input options

input file format:

+f --read-file read file format or data set (default)

+fo --read-file-only read file format only

-f --read-dataset read data set without file meta information

input transfer syntax:

-t= --read-xfer-auto use TS recognition (default)

-td --read-xfer-detect ignore TS specified in the file meta header

-te --read-xfer-little read with explicit VR little endian TS

-tb --read-xfer-big read with explicit VR big endian TS

-ti --read-xfer-implicit read with implicit VR little endian TS

parsing of file meta information:

+ml --use-meta-length use file meta information group length (default)

-ml --ignore-meta-length ignore file meta information group length

parsing of odd-length attributes:

+ao --accept-odd-length accept odd length attributes (default)

+ae --assume-even-length assume real length is one byte larger

handling of non-standard VR:

+vr --treat-as-unknown treat non-standard VR as unknown (default)

-vr --assume-implicit try to read with implicit VR little endian TS

handling of undefined length UN elements:

+ui --enable-cp246 read undefined len UN as implicit VR (default)

-ui --disable-cp246 read undefined len UN as explicit VR

handling of defined length UN elements:

-uc --retain-un retain elements as UN (default)

+uc --convert-un convert to real VR if known

handling of private max-length elements (implicit VR):

-sq --maxlength-dict read as defined in dictionary (default)

+sq --maxlength-seq read as sequence with undefined length

general handling of parser errors:

+Ep --ignore-parse-errors try to recover from parse errors

-Ep --handle-parse-errors handle parse errors and stop parsing (default)

other parsing options:

+st --stop-after-elem [t]ag: "gggg,eeee" or dictionary name stop parsing after element specified by t

automatic data correction:

+dc --enable-correction enable automatic data correction (default)

-dc --disable-correction disable automatic data correction

bitstream format of deflated input:

+bd --bitstream-deflated expect deflated bitstream (default)

+bz --bitstream-zlib expect deflated zlib bitstream

    output options

output file format:

+F --write-file write file format (default)

+Fm --write-new-meta-info write file format with new meta information

-F --write-dataset write data set without file meta information

output transfer syntax:

+t= --write-xfer-same write with same TS as input (default)

+te --write-xfer-little write with explicit VR little endian TS

+tb --write-xfer-big write with explicit VR big endian TS

+ti --write-xfer-implicit write with implicit VR little endian TS

+td --write-xfer-deflated write with deflated explicit VR little endian TS

post-1993 value representations:

+u --enable-new-vr enable support for new VRs (UN/UT) (default)

-u --disable-new-vr disable support for new VRs, convert to OB

group length encoding:

+g= --group-length-recalc recalculate group lengths if present (default)

+g --group-length-create always write with group length elements

-g --group-length-remove always write without group length elements

length encoding in sequences and items:

+e --length-explicit write with explicit lengths (default)

-e --length-undefined write with undefined lengths

+eo --write-oversized write oversized explicit length sequences and items with undefined length (default)

-eo --abort-oversized abort on oversized explicit sequences/items

data set trailing padding (not with --write-dataset):

-p= --padding-retain do not change padding (default if not --write-dataset)

-p --padding-off no padding (implicit if --write-dataset)

+p --padding-create [f]ile-pad [i]tem-pad: integer align file on multiple of f bytes and items on multiple of i bytes

deflate compression level (only with --write-xfer-deflated):

+cl --compression-level [l]evel: integer (default: 6) 0=uncompressed, 1=fastest, 9=best compression

other output options:

-ig --no-invalid-groups don’t write elements with invalid group number


The level of logging output of the various command line tools and underlying libraries can be specified by the user. By default, only errors and warnings are written to the standard error stream. Using option --verbose also informational messages like processing details are reported. Option --debug can be used to get more details on the internal activity, e.g. for debugging purposes. Other logging levels can be selected using option --log-level. In --quiet mode only fatal errors are reported. In such very severe error events, the application will usually terminate. For more details on the different logging levels, see documentation of module ’oflog’.

In case the logging output should be written to file (optionally with logfile rotation), to syslog (Unix) or the event log (Windows) option --log-config can be used. This configuration file also allows for directing only certain messages to a particular output stream and for filtering certain messages based on the module or application where they are generated. An example configuration file is provided in <etcdir>/logger.cfg).


All command line tools use the following notation for parameters: square brackets enclose optional values (0-1), three trailing dots indicate that multiple values are allowed (1-n), a combination of both means 0 to n values.

Command line options are distinguished from parameters by a leading ’+’ or ’-’ sign, respectively. Usually, order and position of command line options are arbitrary (i.e. they can appear anywhere). However, if options are mutually exclusive the rightmost appearance is used. This behaviour conforms to the standard evaluation rules of common Unix shells.

In addition, one or more command files can be specified using an ’@’ sign as a prefix to the filename (e.g. @command.txt). Such a command argument is replaced by the content of the corresponding text file (multiple whitespaces are treated as a single separator unless they appear between two quotation marks) prior to any further evaluation. Please note that a command file cannot contain another command file. This simple but effective approach allows to summarize common combinations of options/parameters and avoids longish and confusing command lines (an example is provided in file <datadir>/dumppat.txt).


The dcmconv utility will attempt to load DICOM data dictionaries specified in the DCMDICTPATH environment variable. By default, i.e. if the DCMDICTPATH environment variable is not set, the file <datadir>/dicom.dic will be loaded unless the dictionary is built into the application (default for Windows).

The default behaviour should be preferred and the DCMDICTPATH environment variable only used when alternative data dictionaries are required. The DCMDICTPATH environment variable has the same format as the Unix shell PATH variable in that a colon (’:’) separates entries. On Windows systems, a semicolon (’;’) is used as a separator. The data dictionary code will attempt to load each file specified in the DCMDICTPATH environment variable. It is an error if no data dictionary can be loaded.




Copyright (C) 1994-2010 by OFFIS e.V., Escherweg 2, 26121 Oldenburg, Germany.

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Version 3.6.0 DCMCONV (1) 6 Jan 2011

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