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XcodeColors allows you to use colors in the Xcode debugging console.
It's designed to aid in the debugging process. For example:

  • Make error messages stand out by printing them out in red.
  • Use different colors for logically separate parts of your code.

You're not limited to a restricted color palate.
You can specify, in your source code, the exact RGB values you'd like to use.
You can specify foreground and/or background color(s).

XcodeColors is a simple plugin for Xcode 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7

XcodeColors installation instructions for Xcode 4, 5, 6 & 7:

  • Download or clone the repository.
  • Open the XcodeColors project with Xcode
  • If compiling for Xcode 4, then change the schemes to use the Xcode4 build configuration (instead of the Xcode5 build configuration which is the default)
  • Compile the XcodeColors target.
    When you do this, the Xcode plugin is automatically copied to the proper location.
    This is done via the build settings. You can validate the plugin was copied to "~/Library/Application Support/Developer/Shared/Xcode/Plug-ins/XcodeColors.xcplugin"
  • Now completely Quit Xcode
  • Re-Launch Xcode, and re-open the XcodeColors project
  • Now run the TestXcodeColors target.
    This will test your installation, and you should see colors in your Xcode console.

Did you upgrade Xcode and now XcodeColors is "broken"? Get the fix here: XcodeUpdates.

$ ./

XcodeColors installation instructions for Xcode 3:

Wow, you're still running Xcode 3?

See this page for installation instructions:

How to use XcodeColors

There are 3 ways to use XcodeColors:

  1. Manually specify the colors inside NSLog (or create custom macros)
  2. Use CocoaLumberjack (for Objective-C & Swift projects)
  3. Use CleanroomLogger (for Swift projects)

Option 1: Manual Use / Custom Macros

  • Testing to see if XcodeColors is installed and enabled:

    char *xcode_colors = getenv("XcodeColors");
    if (xcode_colors && (strcmp(xcode_colors, "YES") == 0))
        // XcodeColors is installed and enabled!
  • Enabling / Disabling XcodeColors

    setenv("XcodeColors", "YES", 0); // Enables XcodeColors (you obviously have to install it too)
    setenv("XcodeColors", "NO", 0); // Disables XcodeColors
  • Using XcodeColors

    The following is copied from the top of the XcodeColors.m file:

    // How to apply color formatting to your log statements:
    // To set the foreground color:
    // Insert the ESCAPE into your string, followed by "fg124,12,255;" where r=124, g=12, b=255.
    // To set the background color:
    // Insert the ESCAPE into your string, followed by "bg12,24,36;" where r=12, g=24, b=36.
    // To reset the foreground color (to default value):
    // Insert the ESCAPE into your string, followed by "fg;"
    // To reset the background color (to default value):
    // Insert the ESCAPE into your string, followed by "bg;"
    // To reset the foreground and background color (to default values) in one operation:
    // Insert the ESCAPE into your string, followed by ";"
    #define XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"\033["
    #define XCODE_COLORS_RESET_FG  XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"fg;" // Clear any foreground color
    #define XCODE_COLORS_RESET_BG  XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"bg;" // Clear any background color
    #define XCODE_COLORS_RESET     XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @";"   // Clear any foreground or background color

    To manually colorize your log statements, you surround the log statements with the color options:

    NSLog(XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"fg0,0,255;" @"Blue text" XCODE_COLORS_RESET);
    NSLog(XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"bg220,0,0;" @"Red background" XCODE_COLORS_RESET);
    NSLog(XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"fg0,0,255;"
          XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"bg220,0,0;"
          @"Blue text on red background"
    NSLog(XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"fg209,57,168;" @"You can supply your own RGB values!" XCODE_COLORS_RESET);
  • Defining macros

    You may prefer to use macros to keep your code looking a bit cleaner.
    Here's an example to get you started:

    #define LogBlue(frmt, ...) NSLog((XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"fg0,0,255;" frmt XCODE_COLORS_RESET), ##__VA_ARGS__)
    #define LogRed(frmt, ...) NSLog((XCODE_COLORS_ESCAPE @"fg255,0,0;" frmt XCODE_COLORS_RESET), ##__VA_ARGS__)

    And then you could just replace NSLog with LogBlue like so:

    LogBlue(@"Configuring sprocket...");
    LogRed(@"Sprocket error: %@", error);
  • Swift struct with static methods

    struct ColorLog {
    	static let ESCAPE = "\u{001b}["
    static let RESET_FG = ESCAPE + "fg;" // Clear any foreground color
    	static let RESET_BG = ESCAPE + "bg;" // Clear any background color
    	static let RESET = ESCAPE + ";"   // Clear any foreground or background color
    static func red<T>(object: T) {
    static func green<T>(object: T) {
    static func blue<T>(object: T) {
    static func yellow<T>(object: T) {
    static func purple<T>(object: T) {
    static func cyan<T>(object: T) {

And then you can log within a Swift method like so:

```Swift"This is a log.")"Number one hundred: \(100).")

Option 2: CocoaLumberjack

The CocoaLumberjack framework natively supports XcodeColors!
Lumberjack is a fast & simple, yet powerful & flexible logging framework for Mac and iOS.

From its GitHub page:

Lumberjack is similar in concept to other popular logging frameworks such as log4j, yet is designed specifically for Objective-C, and takes advantage of features such as multi-threading, grand central dispatch (if available), lockless atomic operations, and the dynamic nature of the Objective-C runtime.

In most cases it is an order of magnitude faster than NSLog.

It's super easy to use XcodeColors with Lumberjack!

And if color isn't available (e.g. XcodeColors isn't installed), then the framework just automatically does the right thing. So if you install XcodeColors on your machine, and enable colors in your team project, your teammates (without XcodeColors... yet) won't suffer, or even notice.

Plus Lumberjack colors automatically work if you run your application from within a terminal! (E.g., not Xcode) If your terminal supports color (xterm-color or xterm-256color) like the in Lion, then Lumberjack automatically maps your color customizations to the closest available color supported by the shell!

// Enable XcodeColors 
setenv("XcodeColors", "YES", 0);

// Standard lumberjack initialization
[DDLog addLogger:[DDTTYLogger sharedInstance]];

// And then enable colors
[[DDTTYLogger sharedInstance] setColorsEnabled:YES];

// Check out default colors:
// Error : Red
// Warn  : Orange

DDLogError(@"Paper jam");                              // Red
DDLogWarn(@"Toner is low");                            // Orange
DDLogInfo(@"Warming up printer (pre-customization)");  // Default (black)
DDLogVerbose(@"Intializing protcol x26");              // Default (black)

// Now let's do some customization:
// Info  : Pink

UIColor *pink = [UIColor colorWithRed:(255/255.0) green:(58/255.0) blue:(159/255.0) alpha:1.0];
NSColor *pink = [NSColor colorWithCalibratedRed:(255/255.0) green:(58/255.0) blue:(159/255.0) alpha:1.0];

[[DDTTYLogger sharedInstance] setForegroundColor:pink backgroundColor:nil forFlag:DDLogFlagInfo];

DDLogInfo(@"Warming up printer (post-customization)"); // Pink !

Option 3: CleanroomLogger

CleanroomLogger is a popular pure-Swift logging API for iOS, Mac OS X, tvOS and watchOS that is designed to be simple, extensible, lightweight and performant.

CleanroomLogger is a real console logger, meaning that it writes to the Apple System Log (ASL) facility and not just to standard output.

XcodeColors support is included in CleanroomLogger, and by default, when the XcodeColors environment variable is set to YES, CleanroomLogger will colorize log output based on the severity of the message:

CleanroomLogger's default XcodeColors log severity colorization

Let's say you had an AppDelegate.swift file with an import CleanroomLogger statement and the lines:

Log.debug?.value(self)"These pretzels are making me thirsty")
Log.warning?.message("The ocean called, they're running out of shrimp!")
Log.error?.message("The database connection failed")

With CleanroomLogger and XcodeColors, you would see colorized log output looking something like:

CleanroomLogger code example

CleanroomLogger lets developers supply their own ColorTable to customize the default color scheme. Default colorization can also be turned off entirely, and an XcodeColorsColorizer instance can be used to manually apply XcodeColors escape sequences to strings.

For further details, visit the CleanroomLogger API documentation.


XcodeColors allows you to use colors in the Xcode debugging console. It's designed to aid in the debugging process.






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