consattr - A console (i.e., DOS) utility which allows one to load an
existing palette into the current console. It does not provide
any editing options, but it does change the current console. You can
even put a consattr in your autoexec.bat (or 4start.bat for 4NT users),
to start up a console with your desired palette!!
Windows Vista/7 note (01/27/10):
Although the Windows utility in this package works, unfortunately the
console version does not. I need to do some further research to figure
out what is wrong.
Back in late 1990, PC Magazine published a cute utility called prism,
which allowed the user to re-define any of the 16 standard DOS colors,
using the 24-bit VGA palette. You could then save your customized
palette in a file which you could later load back into memory using the
same utility. Unfortunately, prism doesn't work with windowed
consoles. It still works with consoles which are used in full-screen
mode, but most people who use consoles don't use them that way. Also,
prism can only be used to set the palette for one console at a time.
Console Palette Changer
Console Palette Changer will enable you to
open as many consoles as you wish, each with a different palette if you
desire!! You can also edit individual colors within a palette
(by clicking on the numbered, colored square at the bottom of the dialog),
and save your new palette under a different name.
This program is released as freeware. The program and its source code may
be included on any distribution site or other media without contacting me,
though emails are always welcome.
Download Console Palette Changer
( Current version: 1.04 ). This package also includes the console
utility. The source code for these packages is
available later on this page.
There is no installation file. Just unzip the archive into a directory
somewhere, and run console_attr.exe. If you unzip it in a directory
that is in your PATH, you can run the console utility consattr and change
your palette any time you wish!!
Screen Shots of consoles using CPC palettes
consattr - a console utility
This is a console (i.e., DOS) utility which allows one to load an existing
palette into the current console from the command line.
consattr does not provide any editing options, but it does
change the current console!!
The command line for consattr is:
Set Console Attributes, Version 1.02
Usage: consattr [options] palette_file
-bB.B - set brightness level (default is 3.1)
-xcpath - update a Console2 xml config file in directory [cpath].
If cpath is omitted, /console2 is used.
If palette_file does not contain a path, I will look for
the file in the 'palettes' directory below the location
where the executable file is found.
Also, if the .plt extension is not included in palette_file,
.plt will be appended.
So, for example, if you extract the zip file somewhere which is in your
path, such as
c:\windows, then the command
consattr derelict will load the
file into the current console.
The reason for the brightness setting is that palette files which were
created for the DOS environment tend to be very faint when viewed in
windowed consoles. I've found that brightness of 3.1 (the default setting)
makes the screen look much like it did in a full-screen console.
YMMV, of course, which is why this option is included.
This utility works with WinXP CMD.EXE, JPSoft's 4NT, and current versions
of the Cygwin Bash utility. It does *not* work in JPSoft's TCI console(s),
unfortunately. It should work on Win2K, but I don't know about any
earlier operating systems.
consattr and the console2 tabbed console
Effective with version 1.02, consattr now supports setting the
console attributes for the open-source tabbed console utility
, from SourceForge.
The simplest way to use this option is to extract the console2 utility
to a directory named console2, directly below the location where
consattr is stored, and add the -x option to the command line.
Extracting the zip file will create this console2 directory for you,
which simplifies this process.
However, as always, there's a catch. Because console2
over-writes its configuration file on exit, you can't run this FROM a
console2 session!! Instead, you need to use this sequence:
1. close console2
2. open a normal console, and run the consattr -x command
3. open console2, and it will be then be using the palette that
I know, this is annoying, I'll continue to work on improving this interface
(since I'm now using console2 myself - it's really cool!!).
Unfortunately, I don't get the sense that I'm going to get much support
from the console2 author on this issue, and I don't have the tools
required to build it myself.
Source Code for these utilities
The C/C++ source code for this program is available here. It is
also freeware, you may use this code in any way you wish, modify it to
your heart's content, and distribute it any way you wish. The only
thing I ask is that you retain a reference to this site, at least in the
source code for your modified program.
Download WIN32 source code
here. This package is compiled with the free C++ compiler from
MinGW - Minimalist GNU for Windows.
Note: the Mingw compiler environment does not contain the files
required for calling the html help system. I am enclosing them here:
Download html help files here
Put htmlhelp.h in /mingw/include
Put libhtmlhelp.a in /mingw/lib
That *should* be all that is needed to link the help file to the program.
Later note: For some reason, mingw cannot be used to build the console
utility consattr... the program is generated just fine, but
when you run it, it closes the console window!! No errors are generated,
I don't know what is going wrong. The source archive includes a batch
file bld.bat which can build a working consattr
using Visual C++ 6.