Web Color Reference - HTML with Style | 4 | WebReference

Web Color Reference - HTML with Style | 4


Web Color Reference

The Websafe and Reallysafe Palettes

The "Websafe" palette is a bit controversial. It is a set of 216 colors that are, supposedly, guaranteed to appear as intended on all graphical displays when used in HTML, CSS, and images embedded in Web pages. Many Web developers believe that sticking to these colors is one of the holiest commandments in the Web design scripture.

This was mostly a concern when most computers had 8-bit color displays; these days, most people run at 16-bit or 24-bit color. Although these bit-depths render the Websafe palette pointless, dithering and quantization bugs in browsers and operating systems still cause problems in 16-bit displays (16-bit display, also known as "High Color" mode or "Thousands of Colors," is generally problematic). Extensive testing has led to a new palette, called "Reallysafe," whose colors are guaranteed to appear correctly on all displays and all browsers. As the Reallysafe creators say, I hope you like green.

If you use different colors than these, you might see images and backgrounds of the same color appear at a slightly different tint, so that a "box" will be visible around them if the background extends beyond the image's edges. And remember, only use cue-tips to clean your outer ear. Right.

WebSafe Palette
Code Color Code Color Code Color Code Color Code Color Code Color
000000 000033 000066 000099 0000cc 0000FF 
003300 003333 003366 003399 0033cc 0033ff 
006600 006633 006666 006699 0066cc 0066ff 
009900 009933 009966 009999 0099cc 0099ff 
00cc00 00cc33 00cc66 00cc99 00cccc 00ccff 
00FF00 00ff33 00FF66 00ff99 00FFCC 00FFFF 
330000 330033 330066 330099 3300cc 3300ff 
333300 333333 333366 333399 3333cc 3333ff 
336600 336633 336666 336699 3366cc 3366ff 
339900 339933 339966 339999 3399cc 3399ff 
33cc00 33cc33 33cc66 33cc99 33cccc 33ccff 
33ff00 33FF33 33FF66 33ff99 33FFCC 33FFFF 
660000 660033 660066 660099 6600cc 6600ff 
663300 663333 663366 663399 6633cc 6633ff 
666600 666633 666666 666699 6666cc 6666ff 
669900 669933 669966 669999 6699cc 6699ff 
66cc00 66cc33 66cc66 66cc99 66cccc 66ccff 
66FF00 66FF33 66ff66 66ff99 66ffcc 66FFFF 
990000 990033 990066 990099 9900cc 9900ff 
993300 993333 993366 993399 9933cc 9933ff 
996600 996633 996666 996699 9966cc 9966ff 
999900 999933 999966 999999 9999cc 9999ff 
99cc00 99cc33 99cc66 99cc99 99cccc 99ccff 
99ff00 99ff33 99ff66 99ff99 99ffcc 99ffff 
cc0000 cc0033 cc0066 cc0099 cc00cc cc00ff 
cc3300 cc3333 cc3366 cc3399 cc33cc cc33ff 
cc6600 cc6633 cc6666 cc6699 cc66cc cc66ff 
cc9900 cc9933 cc9966 cc9999 cc99cc cc99ff 
cccc00 cccc33 cccc66 cccc99 cccccc ccccff 
ccff00 ccff33 CCFF66 ccff99 ccffcc ccffff 
FF0000 FF0033 ff0066 ff0099 ff00cc FF00FF 
ff3300 ff3333 ff3366 ff3399 ff33cc ff33ff 
ff6600 ff6633 ff6666 ff6699 ff66cc ff66ff 
ff9900 ff9933 ff9966 ff9999 ff99cc ff99ff 
ffcc00 ffcc33 ffcc66 ffcc99 ffcccc ffccff 
FFFF00 FFFF33 FFFF66 ffff99 ffffcc FFFFFF 
The Websafe palette, with hexadecimal color codes on the left and a sample of the color on the right. Color codes in red and caps are also part of the Reallysafe palette.

In my opinion, using these colors exclusively limits your creative freedom unnecessarily in order to cater for bugs in certain browsers or operating systems. The actual effects of using other colors is not as catastrophic as you might expect, and will only affect a handful of your users. Clever use of alpha channels and GIF transparency in your images will also minimize the effect to the extent of making it unnoticeable.

For more information on colors and palettes, check out some of these pages: If you want help picking colors for your pages, try HTML with Style's own Colorizer, a Web-based tool that can help you preview multiple colors against a background and convert between notations. The World of Color in Dmitry's Design Lab contains many tips and tricks for selecting and using colors. The WebReference.com article Optimizing Web Graphics contains an interesting page on picking a palette for your images. Another article, Communicate with Color, discusses principles of color selection and matching. This article on WebMonkey is where the Reallysafe palette was first unleashed upon the world, and also contains information on the Websafe palette, its origins and the reasoning behind its use.


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URL: http://www.webreference.com/html/reference/color/websafe.html

Produced by Stephanos Piperoglou
Created: December 13, 2000
Revised: October 6, 2003