ANSI escape sequences



This month, we’ll show you how to decorate your console and give it a fresh new look by adding color to the command line with ANSI escape sequences.

Black on white, or white on black – a terminal doesn’t need to be so boring. Any modern Linux console can display colors to brighten up program output, welcome messages, and even the shell prompt. This article shows you how to add a touch of color and decorate your command line.

The Color Palette

Some programs have their own parameters for adding color to output. Both ls and grep support a --color option that makes command output easier to read (Figure 1). ANSI escape sequences provide the underlying mechanism for this. To get a line of colored output with echo in Bash, you can add an escape sequence to the text (Listing 1).