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N.2. Configuring the Colors

The actual colors to be used are configured using the environment variable PG_COLORS (note plural). The value is a colon-separated list of key=value pairs. The keys specify what the color is to be used for. The values are SGR (Select Graphic Rendition) specifications, which are interpreted by the terminal.

The following keys are currently in use:


used to highlight the text error in error messages


used to highlight the text warning in warning messages


used to highlight location information (e.g., program name and file name) in messages

The default value is error=01;31:warning=01;35:locus=01 (01;31 = bold red, 01;35 = bold magenta, 01 = bold default color).


This color specification format is also used by other software packages such as GCC, GNU coreutils, and GNU grep.