113

Throughout the internet I have seen many people with scripts that prints out a bunch of stuff in all the colors defined in ~/.Xdefaults. However when I try to use these, I always get error: Bad Substitution. Does anyone have a working script that does the same thing?

It should end up looking something like this: enter image description here

7
  • 1
    Maybe it's easier if you post the script you're using, and how and from where you're invocating it.
    – luri
    Feb 20, 2011 at 21:56
  • 1
    You can find a collection of script for this in the ArchWiki.
    – aloisdg
    Jan 8, 2016 at 7:44
  • 1
    I packaged a few color printing scripts, and put them here, complete with examples, thanks, and brew installation.
    – pvinis
    Jul 25, 2016 at 8:15
  • 1
    @pvinis thanks! I spent way too much time trying to find the exact one shown in the screen of OP.
    – verboze
    Nov 30, 2018 at 23:14
  • 1
    FWIW, this seems to be where the image came from: web.archive.org/web/20110809032233/https://bbs.archlinux.org/…. The post includes the colour scheme used, and the opening post in the thread cites the source code used to generate the picture.
    – mwfearnley
    Dec 21, 2018 at 14:49

12 Answers 12

124

Here is my solution with Bash only:

for x in {0..8}; do 
    for i in {30..37}; do 
        for a in {40..47}; do 
            echo -ne "\e[$x;$i;$a""m\\\e[$x;$i;$a""m\e[0;37;40m "
        done
        echo
    done
done
echo ""

One-liner:

for x in {0..8}; do for i in {30..37}; do for a in {40..47}; do echo -ne "\e[$x;$i;$a""m\\\e[$x;$i;$a""m\e[0;37;40m "; done; echo; done; done; echo ""

Here's a picture in Cygwin:

Cygwin screenshot

6
  • 2
    FYI, {30..37} is equivalent to `seq 30 37` in bash and is faster. Dec 16, 2015 at 5:18
  • 2
    @BarryKelly: good tip, thanks. just tested and as you noted: it's really much faster!!! :-) so here is the new one: for x in 0 1 4 5 7 8; do for i in {30..37}; do for a in {40..47}; do echo -ne "\e[$x;$i;$a""m\\\e[$x;$i;$a""m\e[0;37;40m "; done; echo; done; done; echo "";
    – oktay
    Dec 17, 2015 at 11:56
  • Will this work on a Mac ?
    – code-8
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:13
  • @ihue See if this answers your question: Simple Tricks to Improve the Terminal Appearance in Mac OS X. For more details, check AskDifferent.com
    – wjandrea
    Feb 12, 2017 at 0:56
  • 1
    This also works on macOS, just replace \e with \033.
    – Atika
    Dec 6, 2019 at 8:59
86

A simple one-liner that should work for most people.

msgcat --color=test
4
  • 1
    Deadsimple. Is it possible to get only default background color?
    – vrcmr
    Aug 3, 2018 at 21:18
  • 1
    msgcat --help doesn't explain waht you did... Is it an easter egg?
    – vrcmr
    Aug 3, 2018 at 21:30
  • @vrcmr I stumbled across this one-liner in a blog somewhere, sometime ago and unfortunately could not find any mention of --color=test in the msgcat man page as well. I consider it to be a non-configurable easter egg. Aug 6, 2018 at 12:00
  • 2
    For anyone else interested, --color=test is mentioned in section 9.11.2 The environment variable 'TERM' under info msgcat
    – Gerrit0
    Sep 5, 2019 at 2:44
63

You can also use the colortest Install colortest package.

  1. Install it with this command:

    sudo apt-get install colortest
    
  2. It provides several commands which you can use, depending on how many colors you want:

    colortest-16   colortest-16b  colortest-256  colortest-8
    

Example output from colortest-16b:

enter image description here

36

Here's my version:

#!/usr/bin/env python
import sys
terse = "-t" in sys.argv[1:] or "--terse" in sys.argv[1:]
write = sys.stdout.write
for i in range(2 if terse else 10):
    for j in range(30, 38):
        for k in range(40, 48):
            if terse:
                write("\33[%d;%d;%dm%d;%d;%d\33[m " % (i, j, k, i, j, k))
            else:
                write("%d;%d;%d: \33[%d;%d;%dm Hello, World! \33[m \n" %
                      (i, j, k, i, j, k,))
        write("\n")

This prints everything. If you want a nice table (that only shows style (0) and (1), normal and bold), you can use the -t or --terse argument:

The 'blink' style (5) doesn't work with gnome-terminal. ;-)


If this doesn't work for you, there's something else wrong. Please let us know once you've tested it.

3
  • My prompt color is defined like this: DULL=0 BRIGHT=1 FG_WHITE=37 WHITE="\[$ESC[${DULL};${FG_WHITE}m\]" Why is it, that the dull white (0;37;40) is more gray than white, and the bright white (1;37;40) is bolded? I'd like to set the terminal font to bright-white-on-black, not bolded. When I run your script, 1;37;40 looks perfectly allright after the first line: 5img.com/img13/740/24screenshot.png So, my PS1 line is in the color of the text 0;30;40; I'd like it in the color of 0;30;41.
    – appas
    Nov 17, 2011 at 10:59
  • Does anyone else find this magenta particularly ugly? It looks like mud.
    – Ether
    Jun 13, 2012 at 18:37
  • You're a god among men. Best cross-platform solution. Thanks
    – airstrike
    Feb 13, 2019 at 19:47
11

i made a little script for that :)

here's the important part:

colors=$@
for (( n=0; n < $colors; n++ )) do
    printf " [%d] $(tput setaf $n)%s$(tput sgr0)" $n "wMwMwMwMwMwMw
"
done

you pass it a number n and it spits out n colored lines along with each color's ansi index (you can use it in $(tput setaf <ansi-index>)).

here's a screenshot of the (partial) output:

ansi-colors

i also got this one, which i forked (and slightly modified) from twerth:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

echo -e "\033[0mNC (No color)"
echo -e "\033[1;37mWHITE\t\033[0;30mBLACK"
echo -e "\033[0;34mBLUE\t\033[1;34mLIGHT_BLUE"
echo -e "\033[0;32mGREEN\t\033[1;32mLIGHT_GREEN"
echo -e "\033[0;36mCYAN\t\033[1;36mLIGHT_CYAN"
echo -e "\033[0;31mRED\t\033[1;31mLIGHT_RED"
echo -e "\033[0;35mPURPLE\t\033[1;35mLIGHT_PURPLE"
echo -e "\033[0;33mYELLOW\t\033[1;33mLIGHT_YELLOW"
echo -e "\033[1;30mGRAY\t\033[0;37mLIGHT_GRAY"

… which, in my current theme, shows:

terminal puts out (it's colors)!

7
  • Will this work on the Mac ?
    – code-8
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:12
  • Is these the only 7 colors we can have ???
    – code-8
    Feb 10, 2017 at 15:12
  • @ihue - of course not, i made a script for that.. check it out. you can pass it a number n (e.g. 256) and it will spit out the n colors your terminal supports. Feb 11, 2017 at 23:26
  • 1
    Your script is cool, but #!/usr/bin/env sh is not a good idea. It doesn't work with the default shell of Ubuntu, which is dash. I had to change it to bash. Nov 8, 2017 at 4:03
  • 1
    Awesome script!
    – desgua
    Jan 9, 2021 at 17:50
7

Recently wanted to find that script that many people are refering myself. It's from the tldp.org Bash Prompt HOWTO - http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Bash-Prompt-HOWTO/x329.html. The script is authored by Daniel Crisman.

It outputs exactly the same as on the pic from the question. The script itself:

#!/bin/bash
#
#   This file echoes a bunch of color codes to the 
#   terminal to demonstrate what's available.  Each 
#   line is the color code of one forground color,
#   out of 17 (default + 16 escapes), followed by a 
#   test use of that color on all nine background 
#   colors (default + 8 escapes).
#

T='gYw'   # The test text

echo -e "\n                 40m     41m     42m     43m\
     44m     45m     46m     47m";

for FGs in '    m' '   1m' '  30m' '1;30m' '  31m' '1;31m' '  32m' \
           '1;32m' '  33m' '1;33m' '  34m' '1;34m' '  35m' '1;35m' \
           '  36m' '1;36m' '  37m' '1;37m';
  do FG=${FGs// /}
  echo -en " $FGs \033[$FG  $T  "
  for BG in 40m 41m 42m 43m 44m 45m 46m 47m;
    do echo -en "$EINS \033[$FG\033[$BG  $T  \033[0m";
  done
  echo;
done
echo
4

This is my solution. It prints all 225 colours in bash:

for colour in {1..225}
    do echo -en "\033[38;5;${colour}m38;5;${colour} \n"
done | column -x
1
  • This is a nice addition to the other answers here. There are more colors here than other answers.
    – ephsmith
    May 3 at 17:27
3

This question is actually a top result when I search on how to display color codes in a terminal. So I wanted to give justice and give what the OP exactly was looking for. I do remember the screenshot is somewhat familiar. At first, I thought it was from Gogh however it's a bit different. I then realized it's exactly the same script being used in iTerm2 colors.

Lucky enough, they added a comment on where it originally came from

I'm posting the script for reference, taken from iTerm2 with original credits:

#!/bin/bash
#
#   This file echoes a bunch of color codes to the
#   terminal to demonstrate what's available.  Each
#   line is the color code of one forground color,
#   out of 17 (default + 16 escapes), followed by a
#   test use of that color on all nine background
#   colors (default + 8 escapes).
#
#   Copied from http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Bash-Prompt-HOWTO/x329.html

T='gYw'   # The test text

echo -e "\n                 40m     41m     42m     43m\
     44m     45m     46m     47m";

for FGs in '    m' '   1m' '  30m' '1;30m' '  31m' '1;31m' '  32m' \
           '1;32m' '  33m' '1;33m' '  34m' '1;34m' '  35m' '1;35m' \
           '  36m' '1;36m' '  37m' '1;37m';
  do FG=${FGs// /}
  echo -en " $FGs \033[$FG  $T  "
  for BG in 40m 41m 42m 43m 44m 45m 46m 47m;
    do echo -en "$EINS \033[$FG\033[$BG  $T  \033[0m";
  done
  echo;
done
echo

Here's the script in action:

enter image description here

1

Refer https://askubuntu.com/a/396555/41013 That will print the following output with formats like BOLD ,UNDERLINE , Highlighting and colors.

Small script to display possible terminal colors

1

This is a modified version of the TLDP script here. It shows standard colors and vivid colors (codes 90-97 and 100-107).

#!/bin/bash
# Show available terminal colours.
# Heavily modified version of the TLDP script here:
# http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Bash-Prompt-HOWTO/x329.html

print_colors(){
  # Print column headers.
  printf "%-4s  " '' ${bgs[@]}
  echo
  # Print rows.
  for bold in ${bolds[@]}; do
    for fg in ${fgs[@]}; do
      # Print row header
      printf "%s;%s  " $bold $fg
      # Print cells.
      for bg in ${bgs[@]}; do
        # Print cell.
        printf "\e[%s;%s;%sm%s\e[0m  " $bold $fg $bg "text"
      done
      echo
    done
  done
}

# Print standard colors.
bolds=( 0 1 )
fgs=( 3{0..7} )
bgs=( 4{0..8} )
print_colors

# Print vivid colors.
bolds=( 0 ) # Bold vivid is the same as bold normal.
fgs=( 9{0..7} )
bgs=( 10{0..8} )
print_colors

Example output:

gnome-terminal screenshot

0

I wrote a little script that prints all the colors with number value, rgb value,hex value ,... so that I never have to look for the 256 terminal colors on the internet. You can find the link here. You can also get it from pypi:

pip3 install colo

0

Since we are talking old school, a good old ANSI C program is in order:

#include <stdio.h>

static void aput( char* c, char bg_col, char fg_col )
{  int bg, fg;
   if( bg_col > 7 ) bg = 100 + bg_col-8;
   else             bg =  40 + bg_col;
   if( fg_col > 7 ) fg =  90 + fg_col-8;
   else             fg =  30 + fg_col;
   printf( "\033[%i;%im%s\033[0;0m", fg, bg, c );
}

int main( void )
{  int bg, fg;
   
   for( fg = 0; fg <  8; fg += 1 ) aput("    ", fg, 0); putchar('\n');
   for( fg = 8; fg < 16; fg += 1 ) aput("    ", fg, 0); putchar('\n');
   putchar('\n'); 
   for( bg = 0; bg < 16; bg += 1 )
   {  for( fg = 0; fg < 16; fg += 1 )
      {   aput( "10", bg, fg );  }
      putchar('\n');
   }
}

Sample output:

enter image description here

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