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Cross-platform colored terminal text.

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Makes ANSI escape character sequences, for producing colored terminal text and cursor positioning, work under MS Windows.

ANSI escape character sequences have long been used to produce colored terminal text and cursor positioning 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().

Demo scripts in the source code repository prints some colored text using ANSI sequences. Compare their 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.

These screengrabs show that Colorama on Windows does not support ANSI ‘dim text’: it looks the same as ‘normal text’.


None, other than Python. Tested on Python 2.5.5, 2.6.5, 2.7 & 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.

To stop using colorama before your program exits, simply call deinit(). This will restore stdout and stderr to their original values, so that Colorama is disabled. To start using Colorama again, call reinit(), which wraps stdout and stderr again, but is cheaper to call than doing init() all over again.

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.RESET + Back.RESET + Style.RESET_ALL
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.

Cursor Positioning

ANSI codes to reposition the cursor are supported. See demos/ for an example of how to generate them.

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

I’ve personally only tested it on WinXP (CMD, Console2) and Ubuntu (gnome-terminal, xterm), although it sounds like others are using it on other platforms too.

See outstanding issues and wishlist at:

If anything doesn’t work for you, or doesn’t do what you expected or hoped for, I’d love to hear about it on that issues list.

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

# cursor positioning
ESC [ x;y H     # position cursor at x,y

# clear the screen
ESC [ mode J    # clear the screen. Only mode 2 (clear entire screen)
                # is supported. It should be easy to add other modes,
                # let me know if that would be useful.

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.


Running tests requires:

  • Michael Foord’s ‘mock’ module to be installed.

  • Either to be run under Python2.7 or 3.1 stdlib unittest, or to have Michael Foord’s ‘unittest2’ module to be installed.

unittest2 test discovery doesn’t work for colorama, so I use ‘nose’:

nosetests -s

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


Daniel Griffith for multiple fabulous patches. Oscar Lester for valuable fix to stop ANSI chars being sent to non-tty output. Roger Binns, for many suggestions, valuable feedback, & bug reports. Tim Golden for thought and much appreciated feedback on the initial idea.



Added some documentation for cursor positioning and clear screen to README. Add ‘reinit’ and ‘deinit’ functions, as suggested by Charles FOL and Romanov DA.


Merge in changes from Daniel Griffith: Add ANSI cursor positioning & partial support for clear screen. Patch submitted by Oscar Lester, don’t send RESET_ALL to non-tty. Demos split into separate files and moved into their own directory. Tweak sys.path in demos so they run against local source, not installed version of Colorama.


Fix README (no such attr as Fore.DEFAULT, etc), kindly reported by nodakai.


Prevent printing of garbage ANSI codes upon installing with pip


Re-upload to fix previous error. Make clean now removes old MANIFEST.


Completely broken. Distribution was empty due to leftover invalid MANIFEST file from building on a different platform. Fix python3 incompatibility kindly reported by Günter Kolousek


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. Some lessons hopefully learned about testing prior to release.


Completely broken: barfed when installed using pip.


Completely broken: contained no source code. double oops.


Completely broken: fatal import errors on Ubuntu. oops.


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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