Colourful Consoles Using C# and .NET

2019, Dec 03    

While digging around in the Azure Functions CLI (azure-functions-core-tools), I noticed that they were using Colors.Net to make the CLI more pretty with colours. It’s great to find even the big dogs (Microsoft) are using 3rd party libraries built by others to build their software, and that it’s not an internal proprietary packages.


Colors.Net is an open source library which can be found on GitHub, It’s under the MIT so is very permissive.

Installing Colors.Net

Colors.Net is on NuGet so it’s simple to add it to your project, either add it from the command line using:

dotnet add package Colors.Net

Or from the Package Manager Console in Visual Studio

Install-Package Colors.Net


One of the great things about Colors.Net compared to its alternatives is that it has a very similar API surface to the static Console class within the System namespace of .NET. The static class that we use in Colors.Net is ColoredConsole and can be located in Colors.Net. This has 2 methods on it of WriteLine and Write.

We can then use the ColoredConsole the same as the normal Console as seen below:

using Colors.Net;

class Program
    static void Main(string[] args)
            "This is a line of text"


Very familiar right?

One big difference with the API is that you can chain the WriteLines and Writes without having to call the static method again. Check out the follow example:

ColoredConsole.WriteLine("This is a line of text")
    .WriteLine("Here's another line...");


Where’s my colours?

Within Colors.Net there is a static class called StringStaticMethods, here you’ll find static methods like Red(string) or Green(string) that takes a string a returns a RichString. This can be used to create our colourful strings.

var red = StringStaticMethods.Red("red");
var green =  StringStaticMethods.Green("green");
var blue =  StringStaticMethods.Blue("blue");

    string.Join(", ", new []{red, green, blue})


We can clean up this code by using the using static directive which was introduced in C# 6.

using static Colors.Net.StringStaticMethods;

    $"{Red("red")}, {Green("green")}, {Blue("blue")}"

Colours of colours

One of the other cool features I like about Colors.Net is that you can embed colours inside colours. This is great for highlighting.

var doorId = Cyan("34983");
var message = Red($"Please close the door {doorId} after you enter.");


With CLIs becoming more popular this library simplifies creating a better user experience.


With any package there is always some alternatives so I’ve listed these below, however, if you know of anymore please feel free to open a PR on GitHub