I am running on a Mac with Snow Leopard. Up until now, the default Terminal.app has served me well. I have installed the IR_Black theme mentioned here: http://blog.toddwerth.com/entries/show/6.

However, I noticed in a particular program that the gray font doesn't render. In other words, it's invisible. I ran the script listed here: https://gist.github.com/1099707 and every color shows except for COLOR_BLACK (which makes sense) and COLOR_GRAY.

There are other coworkers on a Windows box that run putty and gray shows up for them just fine on a black background. Is there anyway to get the gray color to show up in Terminal and still have a black background?

(If I used the Basic white-background theme, and run the colors script, then Gray just looks like a bold version of black.)

  • I don't know the answer but did you try Xterm 256 colors?
    – lenardgabor
    Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 17:52
  • @lenardgabor - Terminal.app didn't support xterm-256color until Lion, and Daren says he's using Snow Leopard.
    – Austin Hyde
    Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


On Snow Leopard you can install the TerminalColours plugin, which lets you modify the default colours.

On Lion you get a thoroughly updated Terminal.app that lets you do this out of the box and also supports 256 colours by default.


That script isn't guaranteed to display gray for "COLOR_GRAY":


"1" means bold, "30" means black. That script is assuming that bold text is displayed brighter than normal text, which is not the case by default.

To make Terminal display "bold black" as "gray" (technically, it displays it as "ANSI Bright Black"), enable:

Terminal > Preferences > Settings > [profile] > Text > Use bright colors for bold text

However, as Ingmar Hupp mentioned, as of Mac OS X Lion 10.7, Terminal supports 256 colors, and the sixteen ANSI colors are now customizable in the Settings preferences. So you should be able to either customize the ANSI colors or configure your application programs to use 256 colors to achieve the desired appearance (e.g., Vim supports 256-color color schemes; search for the "tir_black" color scheme).

You must log in to answer this question.