Makes ANSI escape character sequences (for producing colored terminal text and cursor positioning) work under MS Windows.

ANSI escape character sequences have long been used to produce colored terminal text and cursor positioning on Unix and Macs. Colorama makes this work on Windows, too, by wrapping stdout, stripping ANSI sequences it finds (which would appear as gobbledygook in the output), and converting them into the appropriate win32 calls to modify the state of the terminal. On other platforms, Colorama does nothing.

Colorama also provides some shortcuts to help generate ANSI sequences but works fine in conjunction with any other ANSI sequence generation library, such as the venerable Termcolor ( or the fabulous Blessings (

This has the upshot of providing a simple cross-platform API for printing colored terminal text from Python, and has the happy side-effect that existing applications or libraries which use ANSI sequences to produce colored output on Linux or Macs can now also work on Windows, simply by calling colorama.init().

An alternative approach is to install ansi.sys on Windows machines, which provides the same behaviour for all applications running in terminals. Colorama is intended for situations where that isn't easy (e.g., maybe your app doesn't have an installer.)

Demo scripts in the source code repository print some colored text using ANSI sequences. Compare their output under Gnome-terminal's built in ANSI handling, versus on Windows Command-Prompt using Colorama:

These screengrabs show that, on Windows, Colorama does not support ANSI 'dim text'; it looks the same as 'normal text'.



Copyright Jonathan Hartley 2013. BSD 3-Clause license; see LICENSE file.


None, other than Python. Tested on Python 2.7, 3.4, 3.5 and 3.6.



Applications should initialise Colorama using:

    from colorama import init

On Windows, calling init() will filter ANSI escape sequences out of any
text sent to stdout or stderr, and replace them with equivalent Win32

On other platforms, calling init() has no effect (unless you request other
optional functionality; see "Init Keyword Args", below). By design, this permits
applications to call init() unconditionally on all platforms, after which
ANSI output should just work.

To stop using colorama before your program exits, simply call deinit().
This will restore stdout and stderr to their original values, so that
Colorama is disabled. To resume using Colorama again, call reinit(); it is
cheaper to calling init() again (but does the same thing).

Colored Output

Cross-platform printing of colored text can then be done using Colorama's
constant shorthand for ANSI escape sequences:

    from colorama import Fore, Back, Style
    print(Fore.RED + 'some red text')
    print(Back.GREEN + 'and with a green background')
    print(Style.DIM + 'and in dim text')
    print('back to normal now')

...or simply by manually printing ANSI sequences from your own code:

    print('\033[31m' + 'some red text')
    print('\033[30m') # and reset to default color

...or, Colorama can be used happily in conjunction with existing ANSI libraries
such as Termcolor:

    from colorama import init
    from termcolor import colored

    # use Colorama to make Termcolor work on Windows too

    # then use Termcolor for all colored text output
    print(colored('Hello, World!', 'green', 'on_red'))

Available formatting constants are::


Style.RESET_ALL resets foreground, background, and brightness. Colorama will
perform this reset automatically on program exit.

Cursor Positioning

ANSI codes to reposition the cursor are supported. See demos/ for
an example of how to generate them.

Init Keyword Args

init() accepts some **kwargs to override default behaviour.

If you find yourself repeatedly sending reset sequences to turn off color
changes at the end of every print, then init(autoreset=True) will
automate that:

        from colorama import init
        print(Fore.RED + 'some red text')
        print('automatically back to default color again')

Pass True or False to override whether ansi codes should be
stripped from the output. The default behaviour is to strip if on Windows
or if output is redirected (not a tty).

Pass True or False to override whether to convert ANSI codes in the
output into win32 calls. The default behaviour is to convert if on Windows
and output is to a tty (terminal).

On Windows, colorama works by replacing sys.stdout and sys.stderr
with proxy objects, which override the .write() method to do their work.
If this wrapping causes you problems, then this can be disabled by passing
init(wrap=False). The default behaviour is to wrap if autoreset or
strip or convert are True.

When wrapping is disabled, colored printing on non-Windows platforms will
continue to work as normal. To do cross-platform colored output, you can
use Colorama's ``AnsiToWin32`` proxy directly:
        import sys
        from colorama import init, AnsiToWin32
        stream = AnsiToWin32(sys.stderr).stream

        # Python 2
        print >>stream, Fore.BLUE + 'blue text on stderr'

        # Python 3
        print(Fore.BLUE + 'blue text on stderr', file=stream)

Status & Known Problems

I've personally only tested it on Windows XP (CMD, Console2), Ubuntu
(gnome-terminal, xterm), and OS X.

Some presumably valid ANSI sequences aren't recognised (see details below),
but to my knowledge nobody has yet complained about this. Puzzling.

See outstanding issues and wishlist:

If anything doesn't work for you, or doesn't do what you expected or hoped for,
I'd love to hear about it on that issues list, would be delighted by patches,
and would be happy to grant commit access to anyone who submits a working patch
or two.

Recognised ANSI Sequences

ANSI sequences generally take the form:

ESC [ <param> ; <param> ... <command>

Where <param> is an integer, and <command> is a single letter. Zero or
more params are passed to a <command>. If no params are passed, it is
generally synonymous with passing a single zero. No spaces exist in the
sequence; they have been inserted here simply to read more easily.

The only ANSI sequences that colorama converts into win32 calls are::

ESC [ 0 m       # reset all (colors and brightness)
ESC [ 1 m       # bright
ESC [ 2 m       # dim (looks same as normal brightness)
ESC [ 22 m      # normal brightness

ESC [ 30 m      # black
ESC [ 31 m      # red
ESC [ 32 m      # green
ESC [ 33 m      # yellow
ESC [ 34 m      # blue
ESC [ 35 m      # magenta
ESC [ 36 m      # cyan
ESC [ 37 m      # white
ESC [ 39 m      # reset

ESC [ 40 m      # black
ESC [ 41 m      # red
ESC [ 42 m      # green
ESC [ 43 m      # yellow
ESC [ 44 m      # blue
ESC [ 45 m      # magenta
ESC [ 46 m      # cyan
ESC [ 47 m      # white
ESC [ 49 m      # reset

# cursor positioning
ESC [ y;x H     # position cursor at x across, y down
ESC [ y;x f     # position cursor at x across, y down
ESC [ n A       # move cursor n lines up
ESC [ n B       # move cursor n lines down
ESC [ n C       # move cursor n characters forward
ESC [ n D       # move cursor n characters backward

# clear the screen
ESC [ mode J    # clear the screen

# clear the line
ESC [ mode K    # clear the line

Multiple numeric params to the 'm' command can be combined into a single

ESC [ 36 ; 45 ; 1 m     # bright cyan text on magenta background

All other ANSI sequences of the form ESC [ <param> ; <param> ... <command>
are silently stripped from the output on Windows.

Any other form of ANSI sequence, such as single-character codes or alternative
initial characters, are not recognised or stripped. It would be cool to add
them though. Let me know if it would be useful for you, via the Issues on


Help and fixes welcome!

Running tests requires:

  • Michael Foord's mock module to be installed.
  • Tests are written using 2010-era updates to unittest

To run tests::

python -m unittest discover -p *

This, like a few other handy commands, is captured in a Makefile.

If you use nose to run the tests, you must pass the -s flag; otherwise,
nosetests applies its own proxy to stdout, which confuses the unit