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ANSI Escape Codes

ANSI Escape Sequences

Standard escape codes are prefixed with Escape:

  • Ctrl-Key: ^[
  • Octal: \033
  • Unicode: \u001b
  • Hexadecimal: \x1B
  • Decimal: 27

Followed by the command, somtimes delimited by opening square bracket ([), known as a Control Sequence Introducer (CSI), optionally followed by arguments and the command itself.

Arguments are delimeted by semi colon (;).

For example:

\x1b[1;31m  # Set style to bold, red foreground.


  • ESC - sequence starting with ESC (\x1B)
  • CSI - Control Sequence Introducer: sequence starting with ESC [ or CSI (\x9B)
  • DCS - Device Control String: sequence starting with ESC P or DCS (\x90)
  • OSC - Operating System Command: sequence starting with ESC ] or OSC (\x9D)

Any whitespaces between sequences and arguments should be ignored. They are present for improved readability.

General ASCII Codes

Name decimal octal hex C-escape Ctrl-Key Description
BEL 7 007 0x07 \a ^G Terminal bell
BS 8 010 0x08 \b ^H Backspace
HT 9 011 0x09 \t ^I Horizontal TAB
LF 10 012 0x0A \n ^J Linefeed (newline)
VT 11 013 0x0B \v ^K Vertical TAB
FF 12 014 0x0C \f ^L Formfeed (also: New page NP)
CR 13 015 0x0D \r ^M Carriage return
ESC 27 033 0x1B \e* ^[ Escape character
DEL 127 177 0x7F <none> <none> Delete character

Note: Some control escape sequences, like \e for ESC, are not guaranteed to work in all languages and compilers. It is recommended to use the decimal, octal or hex representation as escape code.

Note: The Ctrl-Key representation is simply associating the non-printable characters from ASCII code 1 with the printable (letter) characters from ASCII code 65 ("A"). ASCII code 1 would be ^A (Ctrl-A), while ASCII code 7 (BEL) would be ^G (Ctrl-G). This is a common representation (and input method) and historically comes from one of the VT series of terminals.

Cursor Controls

ESC Code Sequence Description
ESC[H moves cursor to home position (0, 0)
moves cursor to line #, column #
ESC[#A moves cursor up # lines
ESC[#B moves cursor down # lines
ESC[#C moves cursor right # columns
ESC[#D moves cursor left # columns
ESC[#E moves cursor to beginning of next line, # lines down
ESC[#F moves cursor to beginning of previous line, # lines up
ESC[#G moves cursor to column #
ESC[6n request cursor position (reports as ESC[#;#R)
ESC M moves cursor one line up, scrolling if needed
ESC 7 save cursor position (DEC)
ESC 8 restores the cursor to the last saved position (DEC)
ESC[s save cursor position (SCO)
ESC[u restores the cursor to the last saved position (SCO)

Note: Some sequences, like saving and restoring cursors, are private sequences and are not standardized. While some terminal emulators (i.e. xterm and derived) support both SCO and DEC sequences, they are likely to have different functionality. It is therefore recommended to use DEC sequences.

Erase Functions

ESC Code Sequence Description
ESC[J erase in display (same as ESC[0J)
ESC[0J erase from cursor until end of screen
ESC[1J erase from cursor to beginning of screen
ESC[2J erase entire screen
ESC[3J erase saved lines
ESC[K erase in line (same as ESC[0K)
ESC[0K erase from cursor to end of line
ESC[1K erase start of line to the cursor
ESC[2K erase the entire line

Note: Erasing the line won't move the cursor, meaning that the cursor will stay at the last position it was at before the line was erased. You can use \r after erasing the line, to return the cursor to the start of the current line.

Colors / Graphics Mode

ESC Code Sequence Reset Sequence Description
ESC[1;34;{...}m Set graphics modes for cell, separated by semicolon (;).
ESC[0m reset all modes (styles and colors)
ESC[1m ESC[22m set bold mode.
ESC[2m ESC[22m set dim/faint mode.
ESC[3m ESC[23m set italic mode.
ESC[4m ESC[24m set underline mode.
ESC[5m ESC[25m set blinking mode
ESC[7m ESC[27m set inverse/reverse mode
ESC[8m ESC[28m set hidden/invisible mode
ESC[9m ESC[29m set strikethrough mode.

Note: Some terminals may not support some of the graphic mode sequences listed above.

Note: Both dim and bold modes are reset with the ESC[22m sequence. The ESC[21m sequence is a non-specified sequence for double underline mode and only work in some terminals and is reset with ESC[24m.

Color codes

Most terminals support 8 and 16 colors, as well as 256 (8-bit) colors. These colors are set by the user, but have commonly defined meanings.

8-16 Colors

Color Name Foreground Color Code Background Color Code
Black 30 40
Red 31 41
Green 32 42
Yellow 33 43
Blue 34 44
Magenta 35 45
Cyan 36 46
White 37 47
Default 39 49
Reset 0 0

Note: the Reset color is the reset code that resets all colors and text effects, Use Default color to reset colors only.

Most terminals, apart from the basic set of 8 colors, also support the "bright" or "bold" colors. These have their own set of codes, mirroring the normal colors, but with an additional ;1 in their codes:

# Set style to bold, red foreground.
# Set style to dimmed white foreground with red background.

Terminals that support the aixterm specification provides bright versions of the ISO colors, without the need to use the bold modifier:

Color Name Foreground Color Code Background Color Code
Bright Black 90 100
Bright Red 91 101
Bright Green 92 102
Bright Yellow 93 103
Bright Blue 94 104
Bright Magenta 95 105
Bright Cyan 96 106
Bright White 97 107

256 Colors

The following escape codes tells the terminal to use the given color ID:

ESC Code Sequence Description
ESC[38;5;{ID}m Set foreground color.
ESC[48;5;{ID}m Set background color.

Where {ID} should be replaced with the color index from 0 to 255 of the following color table:

256 Color table

The table starts with the original 16 colors (0-15).

The proceeding 216 colors (16-231) or formed by a 3bpc RGB value offset by 16, packed into a single value.

The final 24 colors (232-255) are grayscale starting from a shade slighly lighter than black, ranging up to shade slightly darker than white.

Some emulators interpret these steps as linear increments (256 / 24) on all three channels, although some emulators may explicitly define these values.

RGB Colors

More modern terminals supports Truecolor (24-bit RGB), which allows you to set foreground and background colors using RGB.

These escape sequences are usually not well documented.

ESC Code Sequence Description
ESC[38;2;{r};{g};{b}m Set foreground color as RGB.
ESC[48;2;{r};{g};{b}m Set background color as RGB.

Note that ;38 and ;48 corresponds to the 16 color sequence and is interpreted by the terminal to set the foreground and background color respectively. Where as ;2 and ;5 sets the color format.

Screen Modes

Set Mode

ESC Code Sequence Description
ESC[={value}h Changes the screen width or type to the mode specified by value.
ESC[=0h 40 x 25 monochrome (text)
ESC[=1h 40 x 25 color (text)
ESC[=2h 80 x 25 monochrome (text)
ESC[=3h 80 x 25 color (text)
ESC[=4h 320 x 200 4-color (graphics)
ESC[=5h 320 x 200 monochrome (graphics)
ESC[=6h 640 x 200 monochrome (graphics)
ESC[=7h Enables line wrapping
ESC[=13h 320 x 200 color (graphics)
ESC[=14h 640 x 200 color (16-color graphics)
ESC[=15h 640 x 350 monochrome (2-color graphics)
ESC[=16h 640 x 350 color (16-color graphics)
ESC[=17h 640 x 480 monochrome (2-color graphics)
ESC[=18h 640 x 480 color (16-color graphics)
ESC[=19h 320 x 200 color (256-color graphics)
ESC[={value}l Resets the mode by using the same values that Set Mode uses, except for 7, which disables line wrapping. The last character in this escape sequence is a lowercase L.

Common Private Modes

These are some examples of private modes, which are not defined by the specification, but are implemented in most terminals.

ESC Code Sequence Description
ESC[?25l make cursor invisible
ESC[?25h make cursor visible
ESC[?47l restore screen
ESC[?47h save screen
ESC[?1049h enables the alternative buffer
ESC[?1049l disables the alternative buffer

Refer to the XTerm Control Sequences for a more in-depth list of private modes defined by XTerm.

Note: While these modes may be supported by the most terminals, some may not work in multiplexers like tmux.

Keyboard Strings


Redefines a keyboard key to a specified string.

The parameters for this escape sequence are defined as follows:

  • code is one or more of the values listed in the following table. These values represent keyboard keys and key combinations. When using these values in a command, you must type the semicolons shown in this table in addition to the semicolons required by the escape sequence. The codes in parentheses are not available on some keyboards. ANSI.SYS will not interpret the codes in parentheses for those keyboards unless you specify the /X switch in the DEVICE command for ANSI.SYS.

  • string is either the ASCII code for a single character or a string contained in quotation marks. For example, both 65 and "A" can be used to represent an uppercase A.

IMPORTANT: Some of the values in the following table are not valid for all computers. Check your computer's documentation for values that are different.

List of keyboard strings

Key Code SHIFT+code CTRL+code ALT+code
F1 0;59 0;84 0;94 0;104
F2 0;60 0;85 0;95 0;105
F3 0;61 0;86 0;96 0;106
F4 0;62 0;87 0;97 0;107
F5 0;63 0;88 0;98 0;108
F6 0;64 0;89 0;99 0;109
F7 0;65 0;90 0;100 0;110
F8 0;66 0;91 0;101 0;111
F9 0;67 0;92 0;102 0;112
F10 0;68 0;93 0;103 0;113
F11 0;133 0;135 0;137 0;139
F12 0;134 0;136 0;138 0;140
HOME (num keypad) 0;71 55 0;119 --
UP ARROW (num keypad) 0;72 56 (0;141) --
PAGE UP (num keypad) 0;73 57 0;132 --
LEFT ARROW (num keypad) 0;75 52 0;115 --
RIGHT ARROW (num keypad) 0;77 54 0;116 --
END (num keypad) 0;79 49 0;117 --
DOWN ARROW (num keypad) 0;80 50 (0;145) --
PAGE DOWN (num keypad) 0;81 51 0;118 --
INSERT (num keypad) 0;82 48 (0;146) --
DELETE (num keypad) 0;83 46 (0;147) --
HOME (224;71) (224;71) (224;119) (224;151)
UP ARROW (224;72) (224;72) (224;141) (224;152)
PAGE UP (224;73) (224;73) (224;132) (224;153)
LEFT ARROW (224;75) (224;75) (224;115) (224;155)
RIGHT ARROW (224;77) (224;77) (224;116) (224;157)
END (224;79) (224;79) (224;117) (224;159)
DOWN ARROW (224;80) (224;80) (224;145) (224;154)
PAGE DOWN (224;81) (224;81) (224;118) (224;161)
INSERT (224;82) (224;82) (224;146) (224;162)
DELETE (224;83) (224;83) (224;147) (224;163)
PRINT SCREEN -- -- 0;114 --
PAUSE/BREAK -- -- 0;0 --
BACKSPACE 8 8 127 (0)
ENTER 13 -- 10 (0
TAB 9 0;15 (0;148) (0;165)
NULL 0;3 -- -- --
A 97 65 1 0;30
B 98 66 2 0;48
C 99 66 3 0;46
D 100 68 4 0;32
E 101 69 5 0;18
F 102 70 6 0;33
G 103 71 7 0;34
H 104 72 8 0;35
I 105 73 9 0;23
J 106 74 10 0;36
K 107 75 11 0;37
L 108 76 12 0;38
M 109 77 13 0;50
N 110 78 14 0;49
O 111 79 15 0;24
P 112 80 16 0;25
Q 113 81 17 0;16
R 114 82 18 0;19
S 115 83 19 0;31
T 116 84 20 0;20
U 117 85 21 0;22
V 118 86 22 0;47
W 119 87 23 0;17
X 120 88 24 0;45
Y 121 89 25 0;21
Z 122 90 26 0;44
1 49 33 -- 0;120
2 50 64 0 0;121
3 51 35 -- 0;122
4 52 36 -- 0;123
5 53 37 -- 0;124
6 54 94 30 0;125
7 55 38 -- 0;126
8 56 42 -- 0;126
9 57 40 -- 0;127
0 48 41 -- 0;129
- 45 95 31 0;130
= 61 43 --- 0;131
[ 91 123 27 0;26
] 93 125 29 0;27
92 124 28 0;43
; 59 58 -- 0;39
' 39 34 -- 0;40
, 44 60 -- 0;51
. 46 62 -- 0;52
/ 47 63 -- 0;53
` 96 126 -- (0;41)
ENTER (keypad) 13 -- 10 (0;166)
/ (keypad) 47 47 (0;142) (0;74)
* (keypad) 42 (0;144) (0;78) --
- (keypad) 45 45 (0;149) (0;164)
+ (keypad) 43 43 (0;150) (0;55)
5 (keypad) (0;76) 53 (0;143) --


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jredfox commented Feb 6, 2023 via email

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Look at my project OpenTerminal. Sadley I had to quit due to funding issues but everything is working pretty much except for there is no IPC in it yet. I was going to do Either a network IPC or Named Pipes. Named pipes appears problematic thought I may have to make my own version of it where two processes can both read and write to the same memory location using c++. Also both java and c++ struggle to implement properly memory mapped files as they tend to not close even after the programs close or when you tell it to especially when in java. You are free to modify the library but you can not make money off of it or use it to make money off of in any way as I plan to eventually sell it myself to Microsoft. Sent from Mail for Windows From: @.> Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2023 7:18 PM To: @.> Cc: @.***> Subject: Re: fnky/ @Lucia12248 commented on this gist. How can I use these codes in java? — Reply to this email directly, view it on GitHub or unsubscribe You are receiving this email because you commented on the thread. Triage notifications on the go with GitHub Mobile for iOS or Android

Oh, no worries! I just figured out how to put the code I wanted into java a bit ago. thanks anyway! Appreciate the help!

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Mqxx commented Feb 13, 2023

Hey @fnky I'm not sure but I think you have a typo in the #Colors section. To reset the Bold. I think ist ESC[21m not ESC[22m. 👍

Nice GIST btw.! Amazing work man!

Edit: Sry have not seen the note below.

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they look like regular expressions

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Do these Esc codes work when getting user input?

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alt-jero commented Jul 5, 2023

I made this based on your table of colours. I think it can help understanding how the colour indexes work.

Terminal Colors@2x

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bczsalba commented Jul 6, 2023

@alt-jero this is great! probably one of the best resources I've seen on how these colors work.

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Managor commented Jul 6, 2023

Absolutely fantastic. Already shared it on several places.

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thank you so much I was looking for this the whole time

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@alt-jero "The middle 246" should be "216"?

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BDisp commented Jul 7, 2023

@alt-jero "The middle 246" should be "216"?

No, I think is really 246, by this equation:


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n8jhj commented Aug 17, 2023

@alt-jero "The middle 246" should be "216"?

I dunno where @BDisp is getting his math; @clarkwang is right. 6^3 = 216. The remaining "five groups of eight" (8*5 = 40) get you back to 256.

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BDisp commented Aug 17, 2023

@alt-jero "The middle 246" should be "216"?

I dunno where @BDisp is getting his math; @clarkwang is right. 6^3 = 216. The remaining "five groups of eight" (8*5 = 40) get you back to 256.

@alt-jero can you clarify this doubt, please. Thanks.

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A-Babin commented Sep 3, 2023

@BDisp It definitely should be "the middle 216."

The first 16 are standard and "bright" terminal colors. The last 24 are ordered grays. The middle 246 is where we begin.

256 (all) - 16 (first) - 24 (last) = 216 (middle). Each RGB component has 6 levels, including zero, 6^3 = 216.

Also, the title should say "256-colour" not "255-colour."

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Just to clarify for others, the very first paragraph is laying out the different ways to write ESC. When I initially read it I thought it was saying that it was ESC followed by one of the codes.

So \033 is ESC in octal and 27 is ESC in decimal. NOT that you usually start with ESC\033 or ESC26

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for some reason this ←[H>> keeps printing every time i use this \033[H why

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jcubic commented Nov 9, 2023

@letter-aa maybe whatever you're using doesn't support ANSI escape codes.

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Parabéns pelo maraviilhoso trabalho o obriigado por compartilhar. Amei !

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inyourface34456 commented Dec 5, 2023

@letter-aa You forgot the m at the end and instead of \033 use \x1b. That might work better.

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Does anybody know if there is an unofficial (as it's clear there is no official) escape code for Shift+Tab?

From my alacritty config file here is what I collected:

  - { key: Tab,      mods: Shift,         chars: "\x1b[Z"       }
  - { key: Tab,      mods: Control,       chars: "\x1b[27;5;9~" }
  - { key: Tab,      mods: Control|Shift, chars: "\x1b[27;6;9~" }
  - { key: Tab,      mods: Alt,           chars: "\x1b[27;5;9~" }
  - { key: Tab,      mods: Alt|Shift,     chars: "\x1b[27;6;9~" }

I am not sure why or how but it sure seems like neovim and vim understand \E[Z (or CSI Z) as shift tab (<S-Tab>). It is not overridden in there, otherwise a value would be shown from :set <S-Tab>.

Note I think I set the alt/shift tab bindings also to ctrl tab, probably because on PC systems alt and alt shift tab are for application switching and aren't gonna be available for the terminal to use (they can be used by a mac remoted in though but I will never make functionality only triggerable that way)

Somehow with these values my vim/neovim are able to map with <S-Tab>, <C-Tab>, and <C-S-Tab>. So I want to say these are unofficial mappings but I can't find any secondary source for this other than that i stumbled on them working for vims. I'd like to also understand the etymology of the 27;5;9~ if possible.

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Semnodime commented Apr 20, 2024

@fnky please apply patch:
EDIT: Updated according to @fnky

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fnky commented Apr 20, 2024

@Semnodime the backward slash is unnecessary the CSI is always [ without any escaping. Can you confirm that the patch you refer to is correct?

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Semnodime commented Apr 20, 2024

the backward slash is unnecessary the CSI is always [ without any escaping. Can you confirm that the patch you refer to is correct?

@fnky I initially messed up, as I accidentially included the markdown escape slash. I updated the respective patch request.

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fnky commented Apr 20, 2024

@Semnodime I'll apply your patch and fixing the formatting errors; particularly the missing end brace. Thanks!

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Could a note be added about these hyperlinks?

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Agreed, I recently implemented OSC 8 hyperlinks in my tmux/nvim workflow. It's a huge win to be able to click on a stack trace's code positions and get an editor opened.

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Followed by the command, somtimes delimited by opening square bracket ([), known as a Control Sequence Introducer (CSI), optionally followed by arguments and the command itself.

somtimes sometimes

Arguments are delimeted by semi colon (;).

delimeted delimited

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I don't quite understand how to receive information about cursor position in, for example, C++ code. Yes, I see the escape sequence ESC[6n but where to put it and how to process it into int is the question.

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jcubic commented Jun 3, 2024

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