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Cross-platform colored terminal text.

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Makes ANSI escape character sequences for producing colored terminal text work under MS Windows.

ANSI escape character sequences have long been used to produce colored terminal text on Unix and Macs. Colorama makes this work on Windows, too. It also provides some shortcuts to help generate ANSI sequences, and works fine in conjunction with any other ANSI sequence generation library, such as Termcolor (

This has the upshot of providing a simple cross-platform API for printing colored terminal text from Python, and has the happy side-effect that existing applications or libraries which use ANSI sequences to produce colored output on Linux or Macs can now also work on Windows, simply by calling colorama.init().

A demo script in the source code repository prints some colored text using ANSI sequences. Compare its output under Gnome-terminal’s built in ANSI handling, versus on Windows Command-Prompt using Colorama:

ANSI sequences on Ubuntu under gnome-terminal. Same ANSI sequences on Windows, using Colorama.


None, other than Python. Tested on Python 2.5.5, 2.6.5 & 3.1.2.



Applications should initialise Colorama using:

from colorama import init

If you are on Windows, the call to init() will start filtering ANSI escape sequences out of any text sent to stdout or stderr, and will replace them with equivalent Win32 calls.

Calling init() has no effect on other platforms (unless you request other optional functionality, see keyword args below.) The intention is that applications can call init() unconditionally on all platforms, after which ANSI output should just work.

Colored Output

Cross-platform printing of colored text can then be done using Colorama’s constant shorthand for ANSI escape sequences:

from colorama import Fore, Back, Style
print Fore.RED + 'some red text'
print Back.GREEN + and with a green background'
print Style.DIM + 'and in dim text'
print + Fore.DEFAULT + Back.DEFAULT + Style.DEFAULT
print 'back to normal now'

or simply by manually printing ANSI sequences from your own code:

print '/033[31m' + 'some red text'
print '/033[30m' # and reset to default color

or Colorama can be used happily in conjunction with existing ANSI libraries such as Termcolor:

from colorama import init
from termcolor import colored

# use Colorama to make Termcolor work on Windows too

# then use Termcolor for all colored text output
print colored('Hello, World!', 'green', 'on_red')

Available formatting constants are:


Style.RESET_ALL resets foreground, background and brightness. Colorama will perform this reset automatically on program exit.

Init Keyword Args

init() accepts some kwargs to override default behaviour.


If you find yourself repeatedly sending reset sequences to turn off color changes at the end of every print, then init(autoreset=True) will automate that:

from colorama import init
print Fore.RED + 'some red text'
print 'automatically back to default color again'

Pass True or False to override whether ansi codes should be stripped from the output. The default behaviour is to strip if on Windows.


Pass True or False to override whether to convert ansi codes in the output into win32 calls. The default behaviour is to convert if on Windows and output is to a tty (terminal).


On Windows, colorama works by replacing sys.stdout and sys.stderr with proxy objects, which override the .write() method to do their work. If this wrapping causes you problems, then this can be disabled by passing init(wrap=False). The default behaviour is to wrap if autoreset or strip or convert are True.

When wrapping is disabled, colored printing on non-Windows platforms will continue to work as normal. To do cross-platform colored output, you can use Colorama’s AnsiToWin32 proxy directly:

from colorama import init, AnsiToWin32
stream = AnsiToWin32(sys.stderr).stream
print >>stream, Fore.BLUE + 'blue text on stderr'

Status & Known Problems

Feature complete as far as colored text goes, but still finding bugs and occasionally making small changes to the API (such as new keyword arguments to init()).

Only tested on WinXP (CMD, Console2) and Ubuntu (gnome-terminal, xterm). Much obliged if anyone can let me know how it fares elsewhere, in particular on Macs.

I’d like to add the ability to handle ANSI codes which position the text cursor and clear the terminal.

See outstanding issues and wishlist at:

Recognised ANSI Sequences

ANSI sequences generally take the form:

ESC [ <param> ; <param> … <command>

Where <param> is an integer, and <command> is a single letter. Zero or more params are passed to a <command>. If no params are passed, it is generally synonymous with passing a single zero. No spaces exist in the sequence, they have just been inserted here to make it easy to read.

The only ANSI sequences that colorama converts into win32 calls are:

ESC [ 0 m       # reset all (colors and brightness)
ESC [ 1 m       # bright
ESC [ 2 m       # dim (looks same as normal brightness)
ESC [ 22 m      # normal brightness

ESC [ 30 m      # black
ESC [ 31 m      # red
ESC [ 32 m      # green
ESC [ 33 m      # yellow
ESC [ 34 m      # blue
ESC [ 35 m      # magenta
ESC [ 36 m      # cyan
ESC [ 37 m      # white
ESC [ 39 m      # reset

ESC [ 40 m      # black
ESC [ 41 m      # red
ESC [ 42 m      # green
ESC [ 43 m      # yellow
ESC [ 44 m      # blue
ESC [ 45 m      # magenta
ESC [ 46 m      # cyan
ESC [ 47 m      # white
ESC [ 49 m      # reset

Multiple numeric params to the ‘m’ command can be combined into a single sequence, eg:

ESC [ 36 ; 45 ; 1 m     # bright cyan text on magenta background

All other ANSI sequences of the form ESC [ <param> ; <param> ... <command> are silently stripped from the output on Windows.

Any other form of ANSI sequence, such as single-character codes or alternative initial characters, are not recognised nor stripped.


Tests require Michael Foord’s modules ‘unittest2’ and ‘mock’, and unittest2 discovery doesn’t work for colorama, so use ‘nose’:

nosetests -s

The -s is required because ‘nosetests’ otherwise applies a proxy of its own to stdout, which confuses the unit tests.



Fix fatal import errors on Ubuntu. oops.


Fix hard-coded reset to white-on-black colors. Fore.RESET, Back.RESET and Style.RESET_ALL now revert to the colors as they were when init() was called.


Stop emulating ‘bright’ text with bright backgrounds. Display ‘normal’ text using win32 normal foreground instead of bright. Drop support for ‘dim’ text.


Fix incompatibility with Python 2.5 and earlier. Remove dependency on setuptools, now uses stdlib distutils.


Fix ghastly errors all over the place on Ubuntu. Add init kwargs ‘convert’ and ‘strip’, which supercede the old ‘wrap’.


Python 3 compatible. Fix: Now strips ansi on windows without necessarily converting it to win32 calls (eg. if output is not a tty.) Fix: Flaky interaction of interleaved ansi sent to stdout and stderr. Improved (hg checkout only.)


Fix ansi sequences with no params now default to parmlist of [0]. Fix flaky behaviour of autoreset and reset_all atexit. Fix stacking of repeated atexit calls - now just called once. Fix ghastly import problems while running tests. ‘’ (hg checkout only) now demonstrates autoreset and reset atexit. Provide colorama.__version__, used by Tests defanged so they no longer actually change terminal color when run.


Now works on Ubuntu.


Implemented RESET_ALL on application exit


Implemented init(wrap=False)


Implemented init(autoreset=True)


Minor tidy


Works on Windows for foreground color, background color, bright or dim

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