Windows Console Command Prompt Gets A New Default Color Schema


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.
 

 

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

Color Name Console Legacy RGB Values New Default RGB Values
BLACK 0,0,0 12,12,12
DARK_BLUE 0,0,128 0,55,218
DARK_GREEN 0,128,0 19,161,14
DARK_CYAN 0,128,128 58,150,221
DARK_RED 128,0,0 197,15,31
DARK_MAGENTA 128,0,128 136,23,152
DARK_YELLOW 128,128,0 193,156,0
DARK_WHITE 192,192,192 204,204,204
BRIGHT_BLACK 128,128,128 118,118,118
BRIGHT_BLUE 0,0,255 59,120,255
BRIGHT_GREEN 0,255,0 22,198,12
BRIGHT_CYAN 0,255,255 97,214,214
BRIGHT_RED 255,0,0 231,72,86
BRIGHT_MAGENTA 255,0,255 180,0,158
BRIGHT_YELLOW 255,255,0 249,241,165
WHITE 255,255,255 242,242,242

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