Welcome to Termcolor C++ library

termcolor in action

Termcolor is a header-only C++ library for printing colored messages to the terminal. Written just for fun with a help of the Force. Termcolor uses ANSI color formatting, so you can use it on every system that is used such terminals (most *nix systems, including Linux and Mac OS).


On Windows, Windows API is used instead of escape codes but some limitations are applied (not everything is supported). That’s why it’s recommended to enter virtual terminal processing mode and set TERMCOLOR_USE_ANSI_ESCAPE_SEQUENCES macro to trick termcolor to use ANSI color codes.

It’s licensed under the BSD (3-clause) License. That basically means: do whatever you want as long as copyright sticks around.


  • Add termcolor.hpp (grab it from include/termcolor/termcolor.hpp) to the project and use stream manipulators from the termcolor namespace.

  • You can also use vcpkg to install the library:

    $ vcpkg install termcolor
  • Or if you are on macOS, you can use Homebrew for that purpose:

    $ brew install termcolor
  • For up-to-date information about existing packages, refer to the the following picture:

    Packaging Status

How to use?

It’s very easy to use. The idea is built upon C++ stream manipulators. Typical «Hello World» application looks like this:

#include <iostream>
#include <termcolor/termcolor.hpp>

int main(int /*argc*/, char** /*argv*/)
    std::cout << termcolor::red << "Hello, ";                   // 16 colors
    std::cout << termcolor::color<100> << "Colorful ";          // 256 colors
    std::cout << termcolor::color<211, 54, 130> << "World!";    // true colors
    std::cout << std::endl;
    return 0;

The application above prints a string using different colors. There is one caveat though. You must not forget to reset colors, otherwise they will be applied to other prints as well.

std::cout << termcolor::red << "Hello, Colorful World!" << std::endl;
std::cout << "I'm RED too!" << std::endl;

Correct version of the code above should look like this:

std::cout << termcolor::red << "Hello, Colorful World!" << termcolor::reset << std::endl;
std::cout << termcolor::reset << "Here I'm!" << std::endl;

By default, Termcolor ignores any colors for non-tty streams (e.g. std::stringstream), so the following snippet

std::stringstream ss;
ss << termcolor::red << "unicorn";
std::cout << ss.str();

will print «unicorn» using default color, not red. In order to change this behaviour one can use termcolor::colorize manipulator that enforce colors no matter what.

What manipulators are supported?

The manipulators are divided into four groups:

  • foreground, which changes text color;
  • background, which changes text background color;
  • attributes, which changes some text style (bold, underline, etc);
  • control, which changes termcolor’s behaviour.

Also, there are color manipulators for 16 colors, 256 colors and true colors palettes.


While termcolor supports true color, it’s required for the terminal emulator you use to run your software to support true color too. So please ensure it’s supported before filing an issue.

Foreground manipulators

16 colors

  1. termcolor::grey
  2. termcolor::red
  3. termcolor::green
  4. termcolor::yellow
  5. termcolor::blue
  6. termcolor::magenta
  7. termcolor::cyan
  8. termcolor::white
  9. termcolor::bright_grey
  10. termcolor::bright_red
  11. termcolor::bright_green
  12. termcolor::bright_yellow
  13. termcolor::bright_blue
  14. termcolor::bright_magenta
  15. termcolor::bright_cyan
  16. termcolor::bright_white

256 colors

  1. termcolor::color<256_COLOR_CODE>

true colors

  1. termcolor::color<RED, GREEN, BLUE>

Background manipulators

16 colors

  1. termcolor::on_grey
  2. termcolor::on_red
  3. termcolor::on_green
  4. termcolor::on_yellow
  5. termcolor::on_blue
  6. termcolor::on_magenta
  7. termcolor::on_cyan
  8. termcolor::on_white
  9. termcolor::on_bright_grey
  10. termcolor::on_bright_red
  11. termcolor::on_bright_green
  12. termcolor::on_bright_yellow
  13. termcolor::on_bright_blue
  14. termcolor::on_bright_magenta
  15. termcolor::on_bright_cyan
  16. termcolor::on_bright_white

256 colors

  1. termcolor::on_color<256_COLOR_CODE>

true colors

  1. termcolor::on_color<RED, GREEN, BLUE>

Attribute manipulators

(Windows API does not support these manipulators except for underline)

  1. termcolor::bold
  2. termcolor::dark
  3. termcolor::italic
  4. termcolor::underline
  5. termcolor::blink
  6. termcolor::reverse
  7. termcolor::concealed
  8. termcolor::crossed

Control manipulators

(Windows API does not support these manipulators)

  1. termcolor::colorize
  2. termcolor::nocolorize


  1. On Windows, due to internal usage of <windows.h>, global namespace could be polluted with min/max macros. If such effect is desireable, please consider using #define NOMINMAX before #include <termcolor.hpp>.