COLOR_PAIR is a versatile Linux utility that allows you to set and manipulate color pairs used in terminal applications. It provides an intuitive interface for creating, modifying, and viewing these pairs, enabling you to customize the appearance of your command-line environment.


color_pair [OPTION]...PAIR...


  • -a: Display all available color pairs.
  • -c COLOR1,COLOR2: Create a new color pair with the specified foreground and background colors.
  • -d PAIR: Delete an existing color pair.
  • -e PAIR: Edit the color pair, allowing you to change its colors or set its read-only status.
  • -l: List all existing color pairs, along with their names and colors.
  • -m PAIR,NAME: Rename the specified color pair.
  • -s: Set the specified color pair as the default for new terminal instances.
  • -v: Enable verbose mode, providing detailed information about the command’s operation.


  • Create a new color pair named "red_blue":
color_pair -c red,blue
  • Delete color pair 1:
color_pair -d 1
  • List all existing color pairs:
color_pair -l
  • Rename color pair "bold_green" to "bright_green":
color_pair -m bold_green,bright_green
  • Set color pair 2 as the default:
color_pair -s 2

Common Issues:

  • Unable to find color pair: Ensure that the specified color pair exists using the -a option.
  • Invalid color format: Colors must be specified in the format COLOR1,COLOR2, where each color is a valid X11 color name (e.g., "red", "blue", "white").
  • Insufficient permissions: If you encounter permission errors, try running the command with root privileges.


COLOR_PAIR can be used with various other tools, including:

  • Bash: Use color_pair to customize the appearance of bash prompts and commands.
  • Vim: Configure custom color schemes for Vim by editing the .vimrc file.
  • Tmux: Use color_pair to create and apply custom color themes within Tmux sessions.

Related Commands

  • tput: A terminal control utility that can be used to set and query terminal attributes, including color pairs.
  • setterm: A utility that allows you to configure terminal settings, including color palettes.