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terminal-colors.d - Man Page

configure output colorization for various utilities




Files in this directory determine the default behavior for utilities when coloring output.

The name is a utility name. The name is optional and when none is specified then the file is used for all unspecified utilities.

The term is a terminal identifier (the TERM environment variable). The terminal identifier is optional and when none is specified then the file is used for all unspecified terminals.

The type is a file type. Supported file types are:


Turns off output colorization for all compatible utilities.


Turns on output colorization; any matching disable files are ignored.


Specifies colors used for output. The file format may be specific to the utility, the default format is described below.

If there are more files that match for a utility, then the file with the more specific filename wins. For example, the filename "@xterm.scheme" has less priority than "dmesg@xterm.scheme". The lowest priority are those files without a utility name and terminal identifier (e.g., "disable").

The user-specific $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/terminal-colors.d or $HOME/.config/terminal-colors.d overrides the global setting.

Default Scheme Files Format

The following statement is recognized:

name color-sequence

The name is a logical name of color sequence (for example "error"). The names are specific to the utilities. For more details always see the COLORS section in the man page for the utility.

The color-sequence is a color name, ASCII color sequences or escape sequences.

Color names

black, blink, blue, bold, brown, cyan, darkgray, gray, green, halfbright, lightblue, lightcyan, lightgray, lightgreen, lightmagenta, lightred, magenta, red, reset, reverse, and yellow.

ANSI color sequences

The color sequences are composed of sequences of numbers separated by semicolons. The most common codes are:

0to restore default color
1for brighter colors
4for underlined text
5for flashing text
30for black foreground
31for red foreground
32for green foreground
33for yellow (or brown) foreground
34for blue foreground
35for purple foreground
36for cyan foreground
37for white (or gray) foreground
40for black background
41for red background
42for green background
43for yellow (or brown) background
44for blue background
45for purple background
46for cyan background
47for white (or gray) background

Escape sequences

To specify control or blank characters in the color sequences, C-style \-escaped notation can be used:

\aBell (ASCII 7)
\bBackspace (ASCII 8)
\eEscape (ASCII 27)
\fForm feed (ASCII 12)
\nNewline (ASCII 10)
\rCarriage Return (ASCII 13)
\tTab (ASCII 9)
\vVertical Tab (ASCII 11)
\?Delete (ASCII 127)
\\Backslash (\)
\^Caret (^)
\#Hash mark (#)

Please note that escapes are necessary to enter a space, backslash, caret, or any control character anywhere in the string, as well as a hash mark as the first character.

For example, to use a red background for alert messages in the output of dmesg(1), use:

echo 'alert 37;41' >> /etc/terminal-colors.d/dmesg.scheme


Lines where the first non-blank character is a # (hash) are ignored. Any other use of the hash character is not interpreted as introducing a comment.



enables debug output.






Disable colors for all compatible utilities:

touch /etc/terminal-colors.d/disable

Disable colors for all compatible utils on a vt100 terminal:

touch /etc/terminal-colors.d/@vt100.disable

Disable colors for all compatible utils except dmesg(1):

touch /etc/terminal-colors.d/disable

touch /etc/terminal-colors.d/dmesg.enable


The terminal-colors.d functionality is currently supported by all util-linux utilities which provides colorized output. For more details always see the COLORS section in the man page for the utility.

Reporting Bugs

For bug reports, use the issue tracker at https://github.com/util-linux/util-linux/issues.


terminal-colors.d is part of the util-linux package which can be downloaded from Linux Kernel Archive.

Referenced By

cal(1), cfdisk(8), dmesg(1), fdisk(8), hexdump(1), nmcli(1), sfdisk(8).

2024-01-31 util-linux 2.40.2 File formats