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, WinAPI is used instead but some limitations are applied.

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 to the project and use provided stream manimulators from the termcolor namespace.

How to use?

It’s very easy to use. The idea is based on the use of C++ stream manipulators. The typical «Hello World» application is below:

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

int main(int /*argc*/, char** /*argv*/)
    std::cout << termcolor::red << "Hello, Colorful World!" << std::endl;
    return 0;

The application above prints a string with red. It’s obvious, isn’t it? There is a one problem that is not obvious for the unexperienced users. If you write something this way:

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

the phrase «Here I’m» will be printed with red too. Why? Because you don’t reset termcolor’s setting. So if you want to print text wit default terminal setting you have to reset termcolor’s settings. It can be done by using termcolor::reset manipulator:

std::cout << termcolor::red << "Hello, Colorful World!" << 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:

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

would 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.

Foreground manipulators

  1. termcolor::grey
  2. termcolor::red
  3. termcolor::green
  4. termcolor::yellow
  5. termcolor::blue
  6. termcolor::magenta
  7. termcolor::cyan
  8. termcolor::white

Background manipulators

  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

Attribute manipulators

(so far they aren’t supported on Windows)

  1. termcolor::bold
  2. termcolor::dark
  3. termcolor::underline
  4. termcolor::blink
  5. termcolor::reverse
  6. termcolor::concealed

Control manipulators

(so far they aren’t supported on Windows)

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