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created August 8, 2012 · complexity basic · version 7.0

While choosing colors in gvim is very easy, done by a single :colorscheme some-name command, in contrast it's much harder for Vim users to do the same. Here is a small script which may help choosing a background color for Vim users.

script: vim_bg_color_test.vimEdit

" script name : vim_bg_color_test.vim
" dedicated to choose a background color in Vim (not gvim), for ":hi Normal".
" Needed here is an integer ranging from 0 to 255. (vs rgb values for gvim)
" (Does color value effect depends on operating used ?)
" (Here foreground color is set to black but script may help on choosing
" foreground color too.)
" Execute this script from within Vim by ":source %" if you edit it currently.
" Beginning and ending values are asked for in order to do a loop on colors.
" The status line at the bottom of screen shows script effect.
" Type a carriage-return after seeing color showed (and associated number).
" In principle the lot of highlight (:hi) options are well chosen by Vim
" when ":hi Normal" options are set, while possibly adding in .vimrc (linux) :
" :set background=dark or light
" :set t_Co=256
" 08/08/2012 - alain_b
let n=input("First number (0 to 255)")
let n2=input("Last number (0 to 255)")
while n <= n2
  execute "hi Normal ctermfg=black ctermbg=".n
  execute input("Value ".n )
  let n=n+1
" Initial display restored
source ~/.vimrc

Your vimrc should contain something like this:

if has("gui_running")
  colorscheme peachpuff
  set t_Co=256
  "set background=dark  " dark/light if useful
  " The ctermbg option has been chosen using vim_bg_color_test.vim script
  highlight Normal ctermfg=black ctermbg=222

Vim documentation gives only one example, for Vim users:

:highlight Normal ctermfg=grey ctermbg=darkblue

and Vim gives access to "colortest.vim" script which seems to me too difficult to tweak.


I don't understand what problem you're solving here. What's wrong with colorschemes in a color terminal? --Fritzophrenic (talk) 17:45, August 8, 2012 (UTC)

The problem is not with gvim (colorscheme is easy to use), as said, but with Vim.
Coming back to the script. It is working well inside Vim 7.3 on ubuntu. I am not sure it's ok everywhere, since selected background color may sometimes not be visible, on the bottom line of the screen. I don't know why. --Alain b, 17:46, October 9, 2012
Please spell out what the problem is (readers should not need to wonder about the purpose of a tip). Identify a system where there is a problem, then state what the problem is. Then mention how the tip overcomes the problem. Perhaps this is intended for some cut-down version of console Vim where color schemes don't work? I normally use gvim, but I'm pretty sure I have used color schemes on Windows and Linux in terminals (although I built them myself, so perhaps I had some feature enabled?). To sign a comment, add four tildes (~~~~) at the end of the last line. JohnBeckett (talk) 10:54, October 14, 2012 (UTC)

You may throw away this tip. I didn't interpreted well how vim was working and thought colorscheme command was only for GUI usage. I use myself gvim and tried to help people choose quickly vim colors in a terminal. Sorry. Alain b (talk) 16:59, January 13, 2013 (UTC)

Thanks for the followup. No need to be sorry! JohnBeckett (talk) 11:04, January 15, 2013 (UTC)