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Base16 Shell

A shell script to change your shell's default ANSI colors but most importantly, colors 17 to 21 of your shell's 256 colorspace (if supported by your terminal). This script makes it possible to honor the original bright colors of your shell (e.g. bright green is still green and so on) while providing additional base16 colors to applications such as Vim.

Base16 Shell

Use Cases

  • You want to use a *.256.* variant of a Terminal theme designed to honor the original bright colors.
  • You prefer to use a script instead of a terminal emulator theme to color your shell.
  • You use this script to have different colorschemes appear on different SSH sessions.


git clone ~/.config/base16-shell



Add following lines to ~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc:

# Base16 Shell
[ -n "$PS1" ] && \
    [ -s "$BASE16_SHELL/" ] && \
        eval "$("$BASE16_SHELL/")"

Open a new shell and type base16 followed by a tab to perform tab completion.


Add following lines to ~/.config/fish/

# Base16 Shell
if status --is-interactive
    set BASE16_SHELL "$HOME/.config/base16-shell/"
    source "$BASE16_SHELL/"

Open a new shell and type base16 followed by a tab to perform tab completion.

Base16-Vim Users

the profile_helper will update a ~/.vimrc_background file that will have your current the colorscheme, you just need to source this file in your vimrc: i.e. (remove the base16colorspace line if not needed)

if filereadable(expand("~/.vimrc_background"))
  let base16colorspace=256
  source ~/.vimrc_background


Run the included colortest script and check that your colour assignments appear correct. If your teminal does not support the setting of colours in within the 256 colorspace (e.g. Apple Terminal), colours 17 to 21 will appear blue.

setting 256 colourspace not supported

If colortest is run without any arguments e.g. ./colortest the hex values shown will correspond to the default scheme. If you'd like to see the hex values for a particular scheme pass the file name of the theme as the arguement e.g. ./colortest

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