DESCRIPTIONThe program ls(1) uses the environment variable LS_COLORS to determine the colors in which the filenames are to be displayed. This environment 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:
- TERM terminal-type
- 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.
- COLOR yes|all|no|none|tty
- (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.
- EIGHTBIT yes|no
- (Slackware only; ignored by GNU dircolors(1).) Specifies that eight-bit ISO 8859 characters should be enabled by default. For compatibility reasons, this can also be specified as 1 for yes or 0 for no. The default is no.
- OPTIONS options
- (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 options.
- NORMAL color-sequence
Specifies the color used for normal (nonfilename) text.
- FILE color-sequence
- Specifies the color used for a regular file.
- DIR color-sequence
- Specifies the color used for directories.
- LINK color-sequence
Specifies the color used for a symbolic link.
Synonyms: LNK, SYMLINK.
- ORPHAN color-sequence
- 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.
- MISSING color-sequence
- 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.
- FIFO color-sequence
Specifies the color used for a FIFO (named pipe).
- SOCK color-sequence
- Specifies the color used for a socket.
- DOOR color-sequence
- (Supported since fileutils 4.1) Specifies the color used for a door (Solaris 2.5 and later).
- BLK color-sequence
Specifies the color used for a block device special file.
- CHR color-sequence
Specifies the color used for a character device special file.
- EXEC color-sequence
- Specifies the color used for a file with the executable attribute set.
- SUID color-sequence
Specifies the color used for a file with the set-user-ID attribute set.
- SGID color-sequence
Specifies the color used for a file with the set-group-ID attribute set.
- STICKY color-sequence
- Specifies the color used for a directory with the sticky attribute set.
- STICKY_OTHER_WRITABLE color-sequence
Specifies the color used for a other-writable directory with the executable attribute set.
- OTHER_WRITABLE color-sequence
Specifies the color used for a other-writable directory without the executable attribute set.
- LEFTCODE color-sequence
for non-ISO 6429 terminals (see below).
- RIGHTCODE color-sequence
for non-ISO 6429 terminals (see below).
- ENDCODE color-sequence
for non-ISO 6429 terminals (see below).
- *extension color-sequence
- Specifies the color used for any file that ends in extension.
- .extension color-sequence
- Same as *.extension. Specifies the color used for any file that ends in .extension. Note that the period is included in the extension, 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 sequencesMost 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 emulate 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:
to restore default color
for brighter colors
for underlined text
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|
|ORPHAN||undefined||Orphaned symbolic link|
|FIFO||31||Named pipe (FIFO)|
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 by itself.
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.
Escape sequencesTo 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) \b Backspace (ASCII 8) \e Escape (ASCII 27) \f Form feed (ASCII 12) \n Newline (ASCII 10) \r Carriage Return (ASCII 13) \t Tab (ASCII 9) \v Vertical Tab (ASCII 11) \? Delete (ASCII 127) \nnn Any character (octal notation) \xnnn Any character (hexadecimal notation) \_ Space \\ Backslash (\) \^ Caret (^) \# Hash mark (#)
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.
- (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.
This page describes the dir_colors file format as used in the fileutils-4.1 package; other versions may differ slightly.
NOTESThe default LEFTCODE and RIGHTCODE definitions, which are used by ISO 6429 terminals are:
LEFTCODE \e[ RIGHTCODE m
The default ENDCODE is undefined.
COLOPHONThis page is part of release 4.06 of the Linux man-pages project. A description of the project, information about reporting bugs, and the latest version of this page, can be found at https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/.