how-to #2: choose 'web-safe' colours

colours in browsers

The chart below gives the so-called 216 'web-safe' or 'browser-safe' colours which are guaranteed to be available on either PCs or Macs (but may appear differently on other systems, e.g. Unix).

Colour names are sometimes used in web pages. These are derived from 140 named colours used in the X Window system on the Unix operating system. Unfortunately these named colours only match the colours below in eight instances (two identical colours also have two different names). All other named colours will display correctly on a 24-bit display, will probably do so on a 16-bit colour display, but on an 8-bit (256 colour) display will move to the nearest equivalent from the chart below. In some cases, the shift will be dramatic. Moral: if you want to be sure that colours display as intended, stick wherever possible to the 216 colours shown below.

Each colour is made up of three components, a red, green, and blue (RGB) value. These values are hexadecimal and are the format required in HTML. Each cell in the chart contains its RGB value which can be copied into your web page.

The colours are made up of three hexadecimal values ranging between 0 and 255 (0 and FF in hex), where 0 represents no colour of that hue. So, for example, the colour 33FFCC (a bright green-blue) contains a red value of 33, a green value of FF, and a blue value of CC. You will see in the table below that in fact, all the colour values can be one of only six distinct values (00, 33, 66, 99, CC, and FF). So any colour made up of three pairs of values in this range will be 'web-safe'.

colour table

000000 000033 000066 000099 0000CC 0000FF
003300 003333 003366 003399 0033CC 0033FF
006600 006633 006666 006699 0066CC 0066FF
009900 009933 009966 009999 0099CC 0099FF
00CC00 00CC33 00CC66 00CC99 00CCCC 00CCFF
00FF00 00FF33 00FF66 00FF99 00FFCC 00FFFF
330000 330033 330066 330099 3300CC 3300FF
333300 333333 333366 333399 3333CC 3333FF
336600 336633 336666 336699 3366CC 3366FF
339900 339933 339966 339999 3399CC 3399FF
33CC00 33CC33 33CC66 33CC99 33CCCC 33CCFF
33FF00 33FF33 33FF66 33FF99 33FFCC 33FFFF
660000 660033 660066 660099 6600CC 6600FF
663300 663333 663366 663399 6633CC 6633FF
666600 666633 666666 666699 6666CC 6666FF
669900 669933 669966 669999 6699CC 6699FF
66CC00 66CC33 66CC66 66CC99 66CCCC 66CCFF
66FF00 66FF33 66FF66 66FF99 66FFCC 66FFFF
990000 990033 990066 990099 9900CC 9900FF
993300 993333 993366 993399 9933CC 9933FF
996600 996633 996666 996699 9966CC 9966FF
999900 999933 999966 999999 9999CC 9999FF
99CC00 99CC33 99CC66 99CC99 99CCCC 99CCFF
99FF00 99FF33 99FF66 99FF99 99FFCC 99FFFF
CC0000 CC0033 CC0066 CC0099 CC00CC CC00FF
CC3300 CC3333 CC3366 CC3399 CC33CC CC33FF
CC6600 CC6633 CC6666 CC6699 CC66CC CC66FF
CC9900 CC9933 CC9966 CC9999 CC99CC CC99FF
FF0000 FF0033 FF0066 FF0099 FF00CC FF00FF
FF3300 FF3333 FF3366 FF3399 FF33CC FF33FF
FF6600 FF6633 FF6666 FF6699 FF66CC FF66FF
FF9900 FF9933 FF9966 FF9999 FF99CC FF99FF