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Color screen output using ANSI escape sequences

Term::ANSIColor - Color screen output using ANSI escape sequences


Term::ANSIColor - Color screen output using ANSI escape sequences


    use Term::ANSIColor;

    print color 'bold blue';

    print "This text is bold blue.\n";

    print color 'reset';

    print "This text is normal.\n";

    print colored ("Yellow on magenta.\n", 'yellow on_magenta');

    print "This text is normal.\n";

    use Term::ANSIColor qw(:constants);

    print BOLD, BLUE, "This text is in bold blue.\n", RESET;

    use Term::ANSIColor qw(:constants);

    $Term::ANSIColor::AUTORESET = 1;

    print BOLD BLUE "This text is in bold blue.\n";

    print "This text is normal.\n";


This module has two interfaces, one through color() and colored() and the other through constants.

color() takes any number of strings as arguments and considers them to be

space-separated lists of attributes.  It then forms and returns the escape

sequence to set those attributes.  It doesn't print it out, just returns

it, so you'll have to print it yourself if you want to (this is so that

you can save it as a string, pass it to something else, send it to a file

handle, or do anything else with it that you might care to).

The recognized attributes (all of which should be fairly intuitive) are clear, reset, bold, underline, underscore, blink, reverse, concealed, black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, on_black, on_red, on_green, on_yellow, on_blue, on_magenta, on_cyan, and on_white. Case is not significant. Underline and underscore are equivalent, as are clear and reset, so use whichever is the most intuitive to you. The color alone sets the foreground color, and on_color sets the background color.

Note that attributes, once set, last until they are unset (by sending the attribute ``reset''). Be careful to do this, or otherwise your attribute will last after your script is done running, and people get very annoyed at having their prompt and typing changed to weird colors.

As an aid to help with this, colored() takes a scalar as the first argument and any number of attribute strings as the second argument and returns the scalar wrapped in escape codes so that the attributes will be set as requested before the string and reset to normal after the string. Normally, colored() just puts attribute codes at the beginning and end of the string, but if you set $Term::ANSIColor::EACHLINE to some string, that string will be considered the line delimiter and the attribute will be set at the beginning of each line of the passed string and reset at the end of each line. This is often desirable if the output is being sent to a program like a pager that can be confused by attributes that span lines. Normally you'll want to set $Term::ANSIColor::EACHLINE to "\n" to use this feature.

Alternately, if you import :constants, you can use the constants CLEAR, RESET, BOLD, UNDERLINE, UNDERSCORE, BLINK, REVERSE, CONCEALED, BLACK, RED, GREEN, YELLOW, BLUE, MAGENTA, ON_BLACK, ON_RED, ON_GREEN, ON_YELLOW, ON_BLUE, ON_MAGENTA, ON_CYAN, and ON_WHITE directly. These are the same as color('attribute') and can be used if you prefer typing:

    print BOLD BLUE ON_WHITE "Text\n", RESET;


    print colored ("Text\n", 'bold blue on_white');

When using the constants, if you don't want to have to remember to add the , RESET at the end of each print line, you can set $Term::ANSIColor::AUTORESET to a true value. Then, the display mode will automatically be reset if there is no comma after the constant. In other words, with that variable set:

    print BOLD BLUE "Text\n";

will reset the display mode afterwards, whereas:

    print BOLD, BLUE, "Text\n";

will not.

The subroutine interface has the advantage over the constants interface in that only 2 soubrutines are exported into your namespace, verses 22 in the constants interface. On the flip side, the constants interface has the advantage of better compile time error checking, since misspelled names of colors or attributes in calls to color() and colored() won't be caught until runtime whereas misspelled names of constants will be caught at compile time. So, polute your namespace with almost two dozen subrutines that you may not even use that oftin, or risk a silly bug by mistyping an attribute. Your choice, TMTOWTDI after all.


Invalid attribute name %s
You passed an invalid attribute name to either color() or colored().

Identifier %s used only once: possible typo
You probably mistyped a constant color name such as:

    print FOOBAR "This text is color FOOBAR\n";

It's probably better to always use commas after constant names in order to force the next error.

No comma allowed after filehandle
You probably mistyped a constant color name such as:

    print FOOBAR, "This text is color FOOBAR\n";

Generating this fatal compile error is one of the main advantages of using the constants interface, since you'll immediately know if you mistype a color name.

Bareword %s not allowed while ``strict subs'' in use
You probably mistyped a constant color name such as:

    $Foobar = FOOBAR . "This line should be blue\n";


    @Foobar = FOOBAR, "This line should be blue\n";

This will only show up under use strict (another good reason to run under use strict).


It would be nice if one could leave off the commas around the constants entirely and just say:

    print BOLD BLUE ON_WHITE "Text\n" RESET;

but the syntax of Perl doesn't allow this. You need a comma after the string. (Of course, you may consider it a bug that commas between all the constants aren't required, in which case you may feel free to insert commas unless you're using $Term::ANSIColor::AUTORESET.)

For easier debuging, you may prefer to always use the commas when not setting $Term::ANSIColor::AUTORESET so that you'll get a fatal compile error rather than a warning.


Original idea (using constants) by Zenin (, reimplemented using subs by Russ Allbery (, and then combined with the original idea by Russ with input from Zenin.