IR_Black Theme Add Colors Easily to the Terminal in Mac OS X

Feb 24, 2012 - 7 Comments

IR Black Theme for Terminal in Mac OS X

We recently covered the classic method of adding colors to the command line by editing .bash_profile, but it turns out that Terminal in OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion both support custom ANSI colors, giving the ability to easily change the ansi color scheme through external theme files. One such color scheme is the popular TextMate theme IR_Black which has been converted over to Terminal, it’s easy to read subdued pastels aren’t nearly as garish against a dark background and makes for a great looking command line.

Installing IR_Black theme into Terminal is simple:

  • Grab the IR_Black Terminal theme from the creator here or download it directly
  • Uncompress the zip file and double-click on the IR_Black.terminal file to import it into Terminal
  • Open Terminal Preferences, click on the “Settings” tab, and choose IR_Black as the default

You’ll find the ANSI colors in the same settings window if you want to tweak them a bit or to see a preview of what they’ll look like. If you want the colors to differentiate more, unselect “Use bold fonts” and check the box for “Use bright colors for bold text”, this gives a more clear distinction between items and colors in some commands output.

IR_Black Terminal theme

The other thing you may want to change is window size, found under the “Window” tab, Columns set to “80” and Rows set to “24” are the standard width and height settings, rather than the wide and short default of IR_Black.

Thanks to James for pointing this out in the comments


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Command Line, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. caustic says:

    So, your colors are lighter and your font is slightly thicker. Did you tweak it or is that a MoLo thing?

  2. pogopop77 says:

    I love that this site has so many useful tips for those of us that come to OS X with a Unix mindset. Keep it up!

  3. Paul says:

    Any possibility of porting this to iterm2?

  4. Figueiredo says:

    I tried both.. The old one.. And now this method. None of them work. My window size changes, and so does font and font size. But colors stay the same. The “Use ANSI colors”-box within Terminal Preferences IS checked. Any ideas to what is causing this?

    • Antro says:

      You should install IR Black, then create profile file:
      nano ~/.bash_profile
      add line
      export CLICOLOR=1

      and restart terminal

  5. James says:

    Thanks for the credit! The selection color was a bit too dark for a Mac on a PC monitor, so I changed it to a brighter shade.

  6. Brian Yang says:

    IR Black is the best, it’s available for vim too.

    FYI it’s hard to see the fine color detail with JPEG, probably should have used PNG for the demo shots instead.

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