Is there any console emulator for Windows that interprets ANSI coloring?

We use rspec and a part of our team use Windows and the special string for coloring are not very useful for them ;).


9 Answers 9


None of the answers on this page mention an important aspect of the new support for ANSI Terminal Control which was added to the Windows 10 console host in build 16257 (and later). Namely, it's n̲o̲t̲ e̲n̲a̲b̲l̲e̲d̲ by default. Unless the specific software you're using enables ANSI processing by calling the SetConsoleMode API with the ENABLE_VIRTUAL_TERMINAL_PROCESSING (0x0004) flag, you won't see colors or get ANSI processing for that application.


When writing with WriteFile or WriteConsole, characters are parsed for VT100 and similar control character sequences that control cursor movement, color/font mode, and other operations that can also be performed via the existing Console APIs. For more information, see Console Virtual Terminal Sequences.

I'm guessing the reason the examples shown on this page work is that, apparently the echo command (or perhaps the batch-processing part of CMD.EXE or conhost) enables ANSI processing by calling the API just mentioned. But many other tools or executables that write to stdin or stdout might not do this, in which case you won't see color for those processes.

Fortunately, the global default can be changed from opt-in to opt-out. The registry key at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Console\VirtualTerminalLevel sets the global default behavior for processing ANSI escape sequences. Create a DWORD key (if necessary) and set its value to 1 to globally enable (or 0 to disable`) ANSI processing by default.


Note that this registry setting controls a default, meaning that it only affects console apps which don't explicitly manipulate the console mode by calling SetConsoleMode(...). It follows that, while the registry value may help enable ANSI for console-mode-oblivious apps, it will have no effect on any console-mode-savvy app which (for some reason) may explicitly disable ANSI.

enter image description here

  • 6
    Note VirtualTerminalLevel breaks stuff like git status for PowerShell 5.1. Workaround is github.com/microsoft/terminal
    – Zombo
    Commented Jun 14, 2020 at 0:37
  • 7
    In Admin Powershell, just use: Set-ItemProperty HKCU:\Console VirtualTerminalLevel -Type DWORD 1.
    – not2qubit
    Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 20:18
  • 1
    Is it possible to enable ANSI colors via BAT script? without programming and possibly without admin rights? Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 8:34
  • 2
    @luca.vercelli Yes, you can use the reg.exe tool in a batch file to effect the change shown above. Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 9:59
  • 2
    @GlennSlayden is there... a better way? I would prefer not to be setting any persistent default settings on my users' computers.
    – Bjonnfesk
    Commented Sep 9, 2023 at 16:54

ConEmu supports ANSI X3.64 with Xterm 256 color extension. I'm the author of this console emulator.

Ansi sequences are handled for all processes, running in ConEmu tabs.

AFAIK, ConEmu supports more codes, than Ansicon.

ConEmu and ANSI X3.64 / Xterm 256 colors

  • 1
    This rocks ! As a gamer I love the quake feature. The console seems to be locked on top of the screen however (even with the option locked on top disabled). Thanks
    – Ced
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 4:44
  • how do you run cmd with tabs?
    – Mikey
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 5:16
  • 1
    @Mikey What? Read the answer first.
    – Maximus
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 8:50
  • Link to the color boxes shown in figure: here.
    – not2qubit
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 23:45

Starting from Windows 10 TH2 (v1511), conhost.exe (and, by extension, cmd.exe) support ANSI Escape Sequences, in particular colors:

image from the MSDN page mentioned below

The MSDN page about Console Virtual Terminal Sequences explains what sequences are supported and how to enable them:

You can use GetConsoleMode and SetConsoleMode flags to configure this behavior. [...]

The behavior of the following sequences is based on the VT100 and derived terminal emulator technologies, most specifically the xterm terminal emulator. More information about terminal sequences can be found at http://vt100.net and at http://invisible-island.net/xterm/ctlseqs/ctlseqs.html.

  • 4
    The supported sequences are described at msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/…
    – dbenham
    Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 2:15
  • You can also change the default colors using Colortool. New Windows 10 installs will get slightly modified colours that are easier to read (especially blue on black), but updates will keep the old, hard-to-read colours.
    – user778906
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 18:11

Is there any console emulator for Windows that interprets ANSI coloring?

Windows before 10 - no native support for ANSI colors on the console

For Windows version below 10, the Windows command console doesn't support output coloring by default. You could install either Cmder, ConEmu, ANSICON or Mintty (used by default in GitBash and Cygwin) to add coloring support to your Windows command console.

Windows 10 - Command Line Colors

Starting from Windows 10 the Windows console support ANSI Escape Sequences and some colors by default.

MSDN Documentation


enter image description here

Batch Command

The win10colors.cmd was written by Michele Locati:

@echo off
echo [101;93m STYLES [0m
echo ^<ESC^>[0m [0mReset[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[1m [1mBold[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[4m [4mUnderline[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[7m [7mInverse[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[30m [30mBlack[0m (black)
echo ^<ESC^>[31m [31mRed[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[32m [32mGreen[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[33m [33mYellow[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[34m [34mBlue[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[35m [35mMagenta[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[36m [36mCyan[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[37m [37mWhite[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[40m [40mBlack[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[41m [41mRed[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[42m [42mGreen[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[43m [43mYellow[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[44m [44mBlue[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[45m [45mMagenta[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[46m [46mCyan[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[47m [47mWhite[0m (white)
echo ^<ESC^>[90m [90mWhite[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[91m [91mRed[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[92m [92mGreen[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[93m [93mYellow[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[94m [94mBlue[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[95m [95mMagenta[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[96m [96mCyan[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[97m [97mWhite[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[100m [100mBlack[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[101m [101mRed[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[102m [102mGreen[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[103m [103mYellow[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[104m [104mBlue[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[105m [105mMagenta[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[106m [106mCyan[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[107m [107mWhite[0m
echo [101;93m COMBINATIONS [0m
echo ^<ESC^>[31m                     [31mred foreground color[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[7m                      [7minverse foreground ^<-^> background[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[7;31m                   [7;31minverse red foreground color[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[7m and nested ^<ESC^>[31m [7mbefore [31mnested[0m
echo ^<ESC^>[31m and nested ^<ESC^>[7m [31mbefore [7mnested[0m
  • As of Version 1607 (OS Build 14393.693), the color in Windows 10 has been disabled.
    – geff_chang
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 14:20
  • 3
    Why should i believe that? Facts please. a) There is nothing in the changelog: support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4009938 b) Works for me: imgur.com/a/MNPNm Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 14:32
  • 1
    I'm not sure in what exact Win10 version, but it's mentioned here: github.com/symfony/symfony/issues/19520 On my company laptop -- Ver 1511 (OS Build 10586.753) -- I didn't need it. On my home PC, I had to use ansicon, because the colors weren't on by default.
    – geff_chang
    Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 12:11
  • 4
    They just introduced a flag, which controls colored output and is false by default. See wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/…) --- Symfony is using PHP.exe on Windows, where the flag was off, so they had to wait for a patch, which landed here: github.com/php/php-src/pull/2103. Situation resolved. --- For cmd.exe the flag is true always. That's why you have color support on the console. Commented Feb 23, 2017 at 12:49
  • 1
    would these codes work in a shell script in linux too? or is that done a different way?
    – Mikey
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 5:23

Currently CMD console colors are not enabled by default in Win10, so, to enable it add this to your code:

#if defined WIN32 || defined _WIN32 || defined WIN64 || defined _WIN64
    HANDLE hOut = GetStdHandle(STD_OUTPUT_HANDLE);
    DWORD dwMode = 0;
    GetConsoleMode(hOut, &dwMode);
    SetConsoleMode(hOut, dwMode);

    // References:

    // Windows console with ANSI colors handling
    // https://superuser.com/questions/413073/windows-console-with-ansi-colors-handling

Windows Terminal has support for ANSI escape codes:


It is open source, and you can also download builds from here:



Windows 10/11 ANSI is enabled by default. Test with:

echo AZ←[30mER←[31mTY←[32mUI←[33mOP←[34mQS←[35mDF←[36mGH←[0m>con: The [←] is the ascii character 27, named ESC, to be entered with [Alt]+"27"; The 27 is to be entered with the numeric keypad.

CMD : use Echo for print color text


Here is the code to safely enable Console Virtual Terminal Sequences in your own programs. It's more or less a cut and paste of the code from the Microsoft site with a couple of cursor position control codes on the end.


using namespace std;

int main()

    HANDLE hOut = GetStdHandle(STD_OUTPUT_HANDLE);

        return false;

    HANDLE hIn = GetStdHandle(STD_INPUT_HANDLE);

        return false;

    DWORD dwOriginalOutMode = 0;
    DWORD dwOriginalInMode = 0;

    if (!GetConsoleMode(hOut, &dwOriginalOutMode))
        return false;

    if (!GetConsoleMode(hIn, &dwOriginalInMode))
        return false;


    DWORD dwOutMode = dwOriginalOutMode | dwRequestedOutModes;

    if (!SetConsoleMode(hOut, dwOutMode))
        return -1;


    if (!SetConsoleMode(hIn, dwInMode))
        return -1;

    cout << "blink";

    cout << "\x1B[10;20fHello";

    cout << "\x1B[11;20fWorld" << endl;
  • Oh, I forgot #include<iostream> ;-) Commented Nov 15, 2021 at 23:51
  • The code mentioned above is here.
    – not2qubit
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 23:58

Although you can enable ANSI encoding using the above methods, but it comes with its own limitation. Instead of going through hefty processes, you can use Git Bash, which encodes all of the ANSI colors, and its easy to use.

  • 1
    gitbash uses msys, which changes the shell, not only the console. that's not what people asked. Just use the new Windows Terminal app from the Windows Store. Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 4:22

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