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CLI colorizer

Project description

CLI colorizer

This project is to colorize output of command line interface for devices where CLI is not colored by default. Goal is to ease troubleshooting and make output more pretty.

License Cisco Devnet Published



  • You will need python 2.6+/3 and pexpect

  • telnet and/or ssh should be installed

  • I recommend installing virtualenv and install clicol into that virtual environment:

    • pip install virtualenv
    • virtualenv ~/mypython
    • source ~/mypython/bin/activate
    • pip install clicol
    • OR (after pulling git source)
      • pip install
  • To get clicol source:

    • git clone ~/clicol
    • cd ~/clicol
  • Copy clicol.cfg to your $HOME directory and modify to your needs


Run the script clicol-telnet or clicol-ssh and specify arguments as for the telnet/ssh.
Run the script clicol-cmd and any command with arguments to pimp up any non-colored cli command.

Available command line option for clicol:
clicol-{telnet|ssh} [--c {colormap}] [--cfgdir {dir}] [--caption {caption}] [args]
clicol-file [--c {colormap}] [--cfgdir {dir}] {inputfile}
clicol-cmd [--c {colormap}] [--cfgdir {dir}] {command} [args]
clicol-test [--c {colormap}] [--cfgdir {dir}] [--plugins] {colormap regex (.*, common.*, etc)}

Explanation for arguments:
--c {colormap} : use only specified colormap (all, common, cisco, juniper) Defaulted to all
--cfgdir {dir} : use specified config directory. Defaulted to ~/.clicol
--caption {caption}: use this caption template (you can use %(host)s for connected device and %(hostname)s for actual host name) Defaulted to %(host)s
--plugins: run also plugin tests

clicol can be run on Windows in cygwin. If you want to use SecureCRT, you must enable sshd in cygwin and connect to localhost. It is not necessary to be administrator on the desktop for this to work. You must bind to localhost and use port number >1024.

By default clicol will colorize with all colorsets and this behaviour can be tuned in config file. The config file can be saved in user directory and it will take preference over defaults.

Default break key is CTRL-\

After hitting the break key you have some options:
p - pausing coloring
g - toggle pasteguard
q - quit from session
h - print help
T - highlight regex (set regex in runtime to highligh something important)

F1-F12 keys are shortcuts for various commands. Examples are in example config file or try help 'h' key. Shortcuts for SHIFT+F1-F8 are only working if your terminal supports this. For SecureCRT you may setup mapped keys for these to work. (for Putty I don't know yet how to implement this)

Note: If you installed into virtualenv then you must first activate it:

source ~/mypython/bin/activate

Consider using aliases. A basic template can be found in doc folder.

Your terminal software should support ANSI colors. Putty/SecureCRT are tested. I am developing with default colorsets. If you are using other software, colors can differ somewhat.


A bit more detail on the builtin features. All features are available in the session when pressing CTRL-\ break keysequence.

  1. Pause coloring
    This feature turns off all modifications and features on the output. The only available feature which continues working is the break key CTRL-\ . You can toggle it by hitting the command.
  2. Pasteguard
    This feature tries to prevent you from pasting configuration with errors. It will stop pasting when device return errors. You can also stop pasting by hitting CTRL-C.
    Note: error detection is through matchers which provides paste_error effect. You can add your own!
  3. Highlight
    This feature allows you to search for a given text snippet by specifying a regex. The specified text will be highlighted in the output. Useful if you are searching for something in a large output. It will catch your eyes!


You can list all supported matchers and see them in action. This is good to create a list of matcher and filter on those only. This way one can select the preferred matchers if finds all of them disturbing. Run the script clicol-test {regex}

Use case examples:

List all matcher:

clicol-test ".*"

List only BGP matchers:

clicol-test ".*bgp.*"

List only certain matchers:

clicol-test ".*ipv4|cisco_if_stats|juniper_if"

Then the desired regex can be specified in the clicol.cfg in your $HOME and only these matchers will be used.

Output can be tested by running clicol-file {filename} script. This will colorize the textfile and dump it. Good for testing.

Plugins can be tested by calling with --plugins argument:

clicol-test --plugins


You can override or extend the colors and regexes so you can modify default behaviour and view. This can be done by creating the customized files in the format below. You may find examples in default ini files here

ls -l $VIRTUAL_ENV/lib/python2*/site-packages/clicol/ini

Default configuration directory is $HOME/.clicol. All configuration or plugin file should be in that directory! Configuration files in the user directory will override the .clicol directory files!

Custom colors


This file is for overriding extending current colorset. Example:

c_blue     :\033[94m

Custom colortable


This file is for overriding or extending keywords for colors. Example:

#add blinking to high alert color:
highalert              = %(c_blink)s%(c_u_lred)s

Custom colormap


This file is for overriding or extending rules for recoloring/matching. Example:

#disable ipv6 coloring

#alter coloring for 'shutdown'

You can test your changes: clicol-test common_shut


It is possible to extend CLICOL's capabilities with plugins. The main idea is that plugins can have external dependencies and can do external calls to manipulate output. Currently two functions are called from CLICOL to a plugin: preprocess and postprocess. These are to be called before CLICOL colorization and after so a plugin can have a chance to see the text and manipulate it at these points.

For example implementation you may check the builtin plugin in the builtinplugins folder or external projects like the followings:

  1. AS path resolver
  2. Extra plugins

Installing plugin

After installing the plugin with pip, it must be activated in $HOME/.clicol/plugins.cfg configuration file. If that file did not exist or the section does not exist for the plugin, it won't be loaded.

Section name must be the plugin name in lower case!

Example plugins.cfg:

  # Disable HumanNumbers by default:

CLICOL reserved attribute is active. Any other can be used by the plugins. If active is not present or has positive value, then the plugin will be loaded. If the section is not existing for a given plugin, it is considered as disabled.

Develop plugins

There is a documentation about how to develop plugins for CLICOL at wiki page

License and Copyright

clicol is licensed GPLv3 Copyright Viktor Kertesz, 2017-2020


clicol was written by Viktor Kertesz (vkertesz2 [at] gmail [/dot] com).

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