Terminal Settings

This is how I (zrajm) like my terminals. – It might be interesting for you “normals” to know that I have a red-green color vision deficiency (which is present in about 8 percent of males and 0.5 percent of females of Northern European ancestry) though I cannot say whether this will make my colors unsuitable for normals.


Low Saturation
I find highly saturated colors on a black background hard to read, especially plain red and plain blue. My solution is to make the colors brighter, and lower the saturation significantly.
Consistent Brightness
All the colors with in each of the two categories (plain and bold) should have the same apparent brightness (in most terminals yellow, magenta and cyan are markedly brighter).
High Contrast
All the colors should be easy to tell apart, even when occurring alone. Especially one should be able to see which color a text has, even if it appears on an otherwise black screen – for example, cyan should not have to sit just next to some white text in order to be identifiable as being cyan.
E.g. if a piece of text is written in cyan (even if it’s written in isolation), I want to be able to see that it’s written in cyan, and not mistake it for white. So the contrasts between the different colors have to be good enough. – But there is also needs to be good enough contrast between the plain and bold versions: I’ve especially found that bold black text on a colored background (e.g. Irssi’s status line) is hard to read in many default configurations (e.g. in PuTTY and gnome-terminal).
PuTTY Color Decimal XResource Hex PuTTY Color Decimal XResource Hex
Default Foreground 230, 230, 230 foreground #E6E6E6 Default Bold Foreground 255, 255, 255 #FFFFFF
Default Background 0, 0, 0 background #000000 Default Bold Background 26, 26, 26 #1A1A1A
Cursor Text 0, 0, 0 #000000 Cursor Colour 255, 127, 0 #FF8800
ANSI Black 0, 0, 0 color0 #000000 ANSI Black Bold 26, 26, 26 color8 #1A1A1A
ANSI Red 199, 99, 102 color1 #C76366 ANSI Red Bold 224, 112, 115 color9 #E07073
ANSI Green 113, 153, 56 color2 #71994C ANSI Green Bold 132, 178, 89 color10 #84B259
ANSI Yellow 199, 192, 99 color3 #C7C063 ANSI Yellow Bold 224, 217, 112 color11 #E0D970
ANSI Blue 106, 106, 212 color4 #6A6AD4 ANSI Blue Bold 119, 119, 237 color12 #7777ED
ANSI Magenta 191, 96, 156 color5 #BF609C ANSI Magenta Bold 219, 110, 179 color13 #DB6EB3
ANSI Cyan 75, 148, 139 color6 #4B948B ANSI Cyan Bold 89, 176, 165 color14 #59B0A5
ANSI White 230, 230, 230 color7 #E6E6E6 ANSI White Bold 255, 255, 255 color15 #FFFFFF


This are my .Xresources for URxvt.

! foreground/background
URxvt.foreground: #E6E6E6
URxvt.background: #000000
! black
URxvt.color0:     #000000
URxvt.color8:     #1A1A1A
! red
URxvt.color1:     #C76366
URxvt.color9:     #E07073
! green
URxvt.color2:     #71994C
URxvt.color10:    #84B259
! yellow
URxvt.color3:     #C7C063
URxvt.color11:    #E0D970
! blue
URxvt.color4:     #6A6AD4
URxvt.color12:    #7777ED
! magenta
URxvt.color5:     #BF609C
URxvt.color13:    #DB6EB3
! cyan
URxvt.color6:     #4B948B
URxvt.color14:    #59B0A5
! white
URxvt.color7:     #E6E6E6
URxvt.color15:    #FFFFFF


All the below settings are collected in this Windows registry file. So if you’re lazy and don’t want to configure all that stuff by hand, download the file to your desktop, then right click and select ‘Insert into register’. (This will only affect the ‘Default Settings’ of PuTTY so it is best to do this before adding own profiles, so that new profiles come to be based on these.)

The PuTTY setting ‘Bolded text is a different colour’ is different from most other terminals: If enabled, then bold text will only be indicated using the brighter color (without otherwise boldifying the text at all). Other terminals tend to both render the text in bold font and use the brighter color. – In my opinion the best result is obtained by turning this option off in PuTTY (since actual boldness is more visually distinct than a slight change in color).

  • Enable ‘ClearType’
  • Enable ‘Hide mouse pointer when typing in window’
  • Set ‘Received data assumed to be in which character set’ to ‘UTF-8’
  • Disable ‘Bolded text is a different colour’
  • Set the all color values (see color table above)
  • Set ‘Seconds between keepalives’ to ‘30’
  • Enable ‘Enable TCP keepalives’


Key XTerm &
Up EscOA / Esc[A
Down EscOB / Esc[B
Right EscOC / Esc[C
Left EscOD / Esc[D
Home Esc[1~
Insert Esc[2~
Delete Esc[3~
End Esc[4~
PgUp Esc[5~
PgDn Esc[6~
Shift Up Esc[1;2A Esc[a EscOA / Esc[A
Down Esc[1;2B Esc[b EscOB / Esc[B
Right Esc[1;2C Esc[c EscOC / Esc[C
Left Esc[1;2D Esc[d EscOD / Esc[D
Alt Up Esc[1;3A EscEscOA / EscEsc[A
Down Esc[1;3B EscEscOB / EscEsc[B
Right Esc[1;3C EscEscOC / EscEsc[C
Left Esc[1;3D EscEscOD / EscEsc[D
Ctrl Up Esc[1;5A EscOa Esc[A / EscOA *
Down Esc[1;5B EscOb Esc[B / EscOB *
Right Esc[1;5C EscOc Esc[C / EscOC *
Left Esc[1;5D EscOd Esc[D / EscOD *

Where two values are given they are given in the order “Application Mode / Normal Mode”, otherwise the same string is generated in both cases. Cells marked with red above cannot be distinguished from some other key (e.g. the unqualified version of the same key).

* Note that these key codes are the same as the unqualified keys, except that the normal and application key strings have been swapped.