Windows Console Command Prompt Gets A New Default Color Schema

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Microsoft updated the Windows Console to support full 24-bit RGB true color in Windows 10 build 14931 last September. Back then, they didn’t modify the default Windows color mappings for the console to reflect this change. But now, in Windows 10 build 16257, the Windows Console’s default colors got their first overhaul in more than 20 years.

Windows Console New color - Windows Console Command Prompt Gets A New Default Color Schema

According to the Console team,

The default color values have been changed to improve legibility of darker colors on modern screens, and to give the Console a more modern look & feel.

Here is how a legacy blue displays in a modern high-contrast display:

LegacyEchoOutput - Windows Console Command Prompt Gets A New Default Color Schema

And here is the improved blue that looks a lot more legible to human eyes:

CampbellEchoOutput - Windows Console Command Prompt Gets A New Default Color Schema

That looks indeed a lot better, but how come I don’t see it on my computer?

Well, for now, you will see the new default color in Windows Console only if you are on a clean-installed Windows 10 build 16257.

The team behind Windows Console is basically afraid of messing up with your existing custom color settings. So if you upgraded to this new build of Windows, you will still see the original legacy colors, not the new defaults. The team will soon be publishing a tool that helps you apply this new scheme. I will update here once it becomes available.

<update date=August 15, 2017>

Microsoft now has released the Windows Console Colortool which you can find on its Github repository.

To use the tool, open up Command Prompt and run:

  • colortool [scheme name in schemes/ e.g: campbell]
  • Right click on the window title to access the ‘Properties’ dialogue box
  • Once the properties dialogue box opens press OK (which saves the color change)

Command Prompt - Properties

Calling ‘colortool -b [scheme name in schemes/]‘ will change both the Window’s current theme and the defaults.

Here is the list of schemes included in the colortool:

  • campbell : The new default color scheme for Windows Console
  • campbell-legacy : The first iteration of the campbell scheme
  • cmd-legacy : The legacy defaults of the Windows Console
  • OneHalfDark : A dark vim-airline theme by Son A. Pham
  • OneHalfLight : A light vim-airline theme by Son A. Pham
  • solarized_dark : The dark version of a popular color scheme by Ethan Schoonover
  • solarized_light : The light version of a popular color scheme by Ethan Schoonover
  • deuteranopia : A color scheme targeted towards making red and green clearer to users with red green colorblindness, and deuteranopia.

Table of Contents

</update>

Lastly, for those who are interested, the following table describes the color scheme change in RGB values.

Color NameConsole Legacy RGB ValuesNew Default RGB Values
BLACK0,0,012,12,12
DARK_BLUE0,0,1280,55,218
DARK_GREEN0,128,019,161,14
DARK_CYAN0,128,12858,150,221
DARK_RED128,0,0197,15,31
DARK_MAGENTA128,0,128136,23,152
DARK_YELLOW128,128,0193,156,0
DARK_WHITE192,192,192204,204,204
BRIGHT_BLACK128,128,128118,118,118
BRIGHT_BLUE0,0,25559,120,255
BRIGHT_GREEN0,255,022,198,12
BRIGHT_CYAN0,255,25597,214,214
BRIGHT_RED255,0,0231,72,86
BRIGHT_MAGENTA255,0,255180,0,158
BRIGHT_YELLOW255,255,0249,241,165
WHITE255,255,255242,242,242

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