DIR_COLORS(5) Linux User Manual DIR_COLORS(5)
dir_colors - configuration file for dircolors(1)
The program ls(1) uses the environment variable LS_COLORS to determine the colors in which the filenames are to be displayed. This envi-
ronment variable is usually set by a command like
eval `dircolors some_path/dir_colors`
found in a system default shell initialization file, like /etc/profile or /etc/csh.cshrc. (See also dircolors(1).) Usually, the file used
here is /etc/DIR_COLORS and can be overridden by a .dir_colors file in one's home directory.
This configuration file consists of several statements, one per line. Anything right of a hash mark (#) is treated as a comment, if the
hash mark is at the beginning of a line or is preceded by at least one whitespace. Blank lines are ignored.
The global section of the file consists of any statement before the first TERM statement. Any statement in the global section of the file
is considered valid for all terminal types. Following the global section is one or more terminal-specific sections, preceded by one or
more TERM statements which specify the terminal types (as given by the TERM environment variable) the following declarations apply to. It
is always possible to override a global declaration by a subsequent terminal-specific one.
The following statements are recognized; case is insignificant:
Starts a terminal-specific section and specifies which terminal it applies to. Multiple TERM statements can be used to create a
section which applies for several terminal types.
(Slackware only; ignored by GNU dircolors(1).) Specifies that colorization should always be enabled (yes or all), never enabled (no
or none), or enabled only if the output is a terminal (tty). The default is no.
(Slackware only; ignored by GNU dircolors(1).) Specifies that eight-bit ISO 8859 characters should be enabled by default. For com-
patibility reasons, this can also be specified as 1 for yes or 0 for no. The default is no.
(Slackware only; ignored by GNU dircolors(1).) Adds command-line options to the default ls command line. The options can be any
valid ls command-line options, and should include the leading minus sign. Note that dircolors does not verify the validity of these
Specifies the color used for normal (nonfilename) text.
Specifies the color used for a regular file.
Specifies the color used for directories.
Specifies the color used for a symbolic link.
Specifies the color used for an orphaned symbolic link (one which points to a nonexistent file). If this is unspecified, ls will
use the LINK color instead.
Specifies the color used for a missing file (a nonexistent file which nevertheless has a symbolic link pointing to it). If this is
unspecified, ls will use the FILE color instead.
Specifies the color used for a FIFO (named pipe).
Specifies the color used for a socket.
(Supported since fileutils 4.1) Specifies the color used for a door (Solaris 2.5 and later).
Specifies the color used for a block device special file.
Specifies the color used for a character device special file.
Specifies the color used for a file with the executable attribute set.
Specifies the left code for non-ISO 6429 terminals (see below).
Specifies the right code for non-ISO 6429 terminals (see below).
Specifies the end code for non-ISO 6429 terminals (see below).
Specifies the color used for any file that ends in extension.
Same as *.extension. Specifies the color used for any file that ends in .extension. Note that the period is included in the exten-
sion, which makes it impossible to specify an extension not starting with a period, such as ~ for emacs backup files. This form
should be considered obsolete.
ISO 6429 (ANSI) Color Sequences
Most color-capable ASCII terminals today use ISO 6429 (ANSI) color sequences, and many common terminals without color capability, including
xterm and the widely used and cloned DEC VT100, will recognize ISO 6429 color codes and harmlessly eliminate them from the output or emu-
late them. ls uses ISO 6429 codes by default, assuming colorization is enabled.
ISO 6429 color sequences are composed of sequences of numbers separated by semicolons. The most common codes are:
0 to restore default color
1 for brighter colors
4 for underlined text
5 for flashing text
30 for black foreground
31 for red foreground
32 for green foreground
33 for yellow (or brown) foreground
34 for blue foreground
35 for purple foreground
36 for cyan foreground
37 for white (or gray) foreground
40 for black background
41 for red background
42 for green background
43 for yellow (or brown) background
44 for blue background
45 for purple background
46 for cyan background
47 for white (or gray) background
Not all commands will work on all systems or display devices.
ls uses the following defaults:
NORMAL 0 Normal (nonfilename) text
FILE 0 Regular file
DIR 32 Directory
LINK 36 Symbolic link
ORPHAN undefined Orphaned symbolic link
MISSING undefined Missing file
FIFO 31 Named pipe (FIFO)
SOCK 33 Socket
BLK 44;37 Block device
CHR 44;37 Character device
EXEC 35 Executable file
A few terminal programs do not recognize the default properly. If all text gets colorized after you do a directory listing, change the
NORMAL and FILE codes to the numerical codes for your normal foreground and background colors.
Other Terminal Types (Advanced Configuration)
If you have a color-capable (or otherwise highlighting) terminal (or printer!) which uses a different set of codes, you can still generate
a suitable setup. To do so, you will have to use the LEFTCODE, RIGHTCODE, and ENDCODE definitions.
When writing out a filename, ls generates the following output sequence: LEFTCODE typecode RIGHTCODE filename ENDCODE, where the typecode
is the color sequence that depends on the type or name of file. If the ENDCODE is undefined, the sequence LEFTCODE NORMAL RIGHTCODE will
be used instead. The purpose of the left- and rightcodes is merely to reduce the amount of typing necessary (and to hide ugly escape codes
away from the user). If they are not appropriate for your terminal, you can eliminate them by specifying the respective keyword on a line
NOTE: If the ENDCODE is defined in the global section of the setup file, it cannot be undefined in a terminal-specific section of the file.
This means any NORMAL definition will have no effect. A different ENDCODE can, however, be specified, which would have the same effect.
To specify control- or blank characters in the color sequences or filename extensions, either C-style -escaped notation or stty-style
^-notation can be used. The C-style notation includes the following characters:
a Bell (ASCII 7)
Backspace (ASCII 8)
e Escape (ASCII 27)
f Form feed (ASCII 12)
Newline (ASCII 10)
Carriage Return (ASCII 13)
Tab (ASCII 9)
v Vertical Tab (ASCII 11)
? Delete (ASCII 127)
nn Any character (octal notation)
xnnn Any character (hexadecimal notation)
\ Backslash ()
^ Caret (^)
# Hash mark (#)
Please note that escapes are necessary to enter a space, backslash, caret, or any control character anywhere in the string, as well as a
hash mark as the first character.
System-wide configuration file.
Per-user configuration file.
This page describes the dir_colors file format as used in the fileutils-4.1 package; other versions may differ slightly.
The default LEFTCODE and RIGHTCODE definitions, which are used by ISO 6429 terminals are:
The default ENDCODE is undefined.
(Slackware, SuSE and RedHat only; ignored by GNU dircolors(1) and thus Debian.) System-wide configuration file.
(Slackware, SuSE and RedHat only; ignored by GNU dircolors(1) and thus Debian.) Per-user configuration file.
dircolors(1), ls(1), stty(1), xterm(1)
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