Manual Reference Pages - TASK-COLOR (5)
task-color - A color tutorial for the Taskwarrior command line todo manager.
Mixing 16- And 256-colors
The first thing you need is a terminal program that supports color. All
terminal programs support color, but only a few support lots of colors. First
tell your terminal program to use color by specifying the TERM environment
variable like this:
In this example, xterm-color is used - a common value, and one that doesnt
require that you use xterm. This works for most setups. This setting belongs
in your shell profile (~/.bash_profile, ~/.bashrc, ~/.cshrc etc, depending on
which shell you use). If this is a new setting, you will need to either run
that profile script, or close and reopen the terminal window (which does the
Now tell Taskwarrior that you want to use color. This is the default for
Taskwarrior, so the following step may be unnecessary.
$ task config color on
This command will make sure there is an entry in your ~/.taskrc file that looks
Now Taskwarrior is ready.
It should be mentioned that Taskwarrior is aware of whether its output is going
to a terminal, or to a file or through a pipe. When Taskwarrior output goes to
a terminal, color is desirable, but consider the following command:
$ task list > file.txt
Do we really want all those color control codes in the file? Taskwarrior
assumes that you do not, and temporarily sets color to off while generating
the output. This explains the output from the following command:
$ task show | grep ^color
it always returns off, no matter what the setting, because the output is being
sent to a pipe.
If you wanted those color codes, you can override this behavior by setting the
_forcecolor variable to on, like this:
$ task config _forcecolor on
$ task config | grep ^color
or by temporarily overriding it like this:
$ task rc._forcecolor=on config | grep ^color
Taskwarrior has a color command that will show all the colors it is capable of
displaying. Try this:
$ task color
The output cannot be replicated here in a man page, but you should see a set of
color samples. How many you see depends on your terminal programs ability to
You should at least see the Basic colors and Effects - if you do, then you have
16-color support. If your terminal supports 256 colors, youll know it!
The basic color support is provided through named colors:
black, red, blue, green, magenta, cyan, yellow, white
Foreground color (for text) is simply specified as one of the above colors, or
not specified at all to use the default terminal text color.
Background color is specified by using the word on, and one of the above
colors. Some examples:
green # green text, default background color
green on yellow # green text, yellow background
on yellow # default text color, yellow background
These colors can be modified further, by making the foreground bold, or by
making the background bright. Some examples:
bold white on bright red
on bright cyan
The order of the words is not important, so the following are equivalent:
But the on is important - colors before the on are foreground, and colors
after on are background.
There is an additional underline attribute that may be used:
underline bright red on black
And an inverse attribute:
Taskwarrior has a command that helps you visualize these color combinations.
$ task color underline bright red on black
You can use this command to see how the various color combinations work. You
will also see some sample colors displayed, like the ones above, in addition to
the sample requested.
Some combinations look very nice, some look terrible. Different terminal
programs do implement slightly different versions of red, for example, so you
may see some unexpected variation across machines. The brightness of your
display is also a factor.
Using 256 colors follows the same form, but the names are different, and some
colors can be referenced in different ways. First there is by color ordinal,
which is like this:
This gives you access to all 256 colors, but doesnt help you much. This range
is a combination of 8 basic colors (color0 - color7), then 8 brighter variations
(color8 - color15). Then a block of 216 colors (color16 - color231). Then a
block of 24 gray colors (color232 - color255).
The large block of 216 colors (6x6x6 = 216) represents a color cube, which can
be addressed via RGB values from 0 to 5 for each component color. A value of 0
means none of this component color, and a value of 5 means the most intense
component color. For example, a bright red is specified as:
And a darker red would be:
Note that the three digits represent the three component values, so in this
example the 5, 0 and 0 represent red=5, green=0, blue=0. Combining intense red
with no green and no blue yields red. Similarly, blue and green are:
Another example - bright yellow - is a mix of bright red and bright green, but
no blue component, so bright yellow is addressed as:
A soft pink would be addressed as:
See if you agree, by running:
$ task color black on rgb515
You may notice that the large color block is represented as 6 squares. All
colors in the first square have a red value of 0. All colors in the 6th square
have a red value of 5. Within each square, blue ranges from 0 to 5 left to
right, and within each square green ranges from 0 to 5, top to bottom. This
scheme takes some getting used to.
The block of 24 gray colors can also be accessed as gray0 - gray23, in a
continuous ramp from black to white.
MIXING 16- AND 256-COLORS
If you specify 16-colors, and view on a 256-color terminal, no problem. If you
try the reverse, specifying 256-colors and viewing on a 16-color terminal, you
will be disappointed, perhaps even appalled.
There is some limited color mapping - for example, if you were to specify this
red on gray3
you are mixing a 16-color and 256-color specification. Taskwarrior will map red
to color1, and proceed. Note that red and color1 are not quite the same tone.
Note also that there is no bold or bright attributes when dealing with 256
colors, but there is still underline available.
Taskwarrior will show examples of all defined colors used in your .taskrc, or
theme, if you run this command:
$ task color legend
This gives you an example of each of the colors, so you can see the effect,
without necessarily creating a set of tasks that meet each of the rule criteria.
Taskwarrior supports colorization rules. These are configuration values that
specify a color, and the conditions under which that color is used. By example,
let us add a few tasks:
$ task add project:Home priority:H pay the bills (1)
$ task add project:Home clean the rug (2)
$ task add project:Garden clean out the garage (3)
We can add a color rule that uses a blue background for all tasks in the Home
$ task config color.project.Home on blue
We use quotes around on blue because there are two words, but they represent
one value in the .taskrc file. Now suppose we wish to use a bold yellow text
color for all cleaning work:
$ task config color.keyword.clean bold yellow
Now what happens to task 2, which belongs to project Home (blue background), and
is also a cleaning task (bold yellow foreground)? The colors are combined, and
the task is shown as "bold yellow on blue".
Color rules can be applied by project and description keyword, as shown, and
also by priority (or lack of priority), by active status, by being due or
overdue, by being tagged, or having a specific tag (perhaps the most useful
rule) or by being a recurring task.
It is possible to create a very colorful mix of rules. With 256-color support,
those colors can be made subtle, and complementary, but without care, this can
be a visual mess. Beware!
In such cases, consider using the rule.color.merge=no option to disable the
The precedence for the color rules is determined by the configuration
variable rule.precedence.color, which by default contains:
These are just the color rules with the color. prefix removed. The
rule color.due.today is the highest precedence, and color.deleted is the lowest.
The keyword rule shown here as keyword. corresponds to a wildcard pattern,
meaning color.keyword.*, or in other words all the keyword rules. Similarly
for the color.tag.* and color.project.* rules.
There is also color.project.none, color.tag.none and color.pri.none to
specifically represent missing data.
Taskwarrior supports themes. What this really means is that with the ability to
include other files into the .taskrc file, different sets of color rules can
To get a good idea of what a color theme looks like, try adding this entry to
your .taskrc file (note that your installation may use a slightly different path
from the example):
You can use any of the standard Taskwarrior themes:
Bear in mind that if you are using a terminal with a dark background, you will
see better results using a dark theme.
You can also see how the theme will color the various tasks with the command:
$ task color legend
Better yet, create your own, and share it. We will gladly host the theme file
CREDITS & COPYRIGHTS
Copyright (C) 2006 - 2015 P. Beckingham, F. Hernandez.
Taskwarrior is distributed under the MIT license. See
http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.php for more information.
For more information regarding Taskwarrior, the following may be referenced:
|task 2.5.0 ||TASK-COLOR (5) ||2015-10-21 |
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