Changing the appearance of a PuTTY session

If you wish to change the background color of a PuTTY session, you can do for a session so even while logged into a site. E.g., the default appearance for a session is white text on a black background.

PuTTY default white on black

But if I wanted to change the background color that will be used for a session for a particular SSH server, so that sessions on that server are easily distinguishable from sessions to other servers when I have many PuTTY windows open, I can take the following steps.
  1. Right-click on the title bar for the PuTTY window and select Change Settings.

    PuTTY change settings

  2. Click on Colours in the left pane of the window and then click on Default Background in the right pane of the window.

    PuTTY colours - default 

  3. Put color values in the three RGB color values fields. If you know what color you would like to have for the background, but don't know the values for the red, green, and blue components that comprise the color, go to a web site such as HTML Color Codes. At that site, you can click on a color you like on the HTML Color Chart. You will see a pound sign, aka "hash", followed by six hexadecimal digits. E.g., if I want a tan color for the background and select the color with the hexadecimal code #F5ECCE. I can then scroll down the page and put that value in the HTML Color Picker "Insert your color code" field. It will then be translated to RGB and HSV (hue, saturation, and value) values, i.e., F5ECCE is translated to the following:
    R: 245H: 46
    R: 236H: 16
    R: 206H: 96

    So I can put 245 in the red field, 236 in the green field, and 206 as the value for the blue field.

    PuTTY background color selected

    Alternatively, you can also click on Modify to see a color chart that will also show you the color associated with any RGB values that have been selected. Or you can pick the color you want from the color chart.

    PuTTY color chart

    If you aren't changing the value for an open session, you won't see an Apply button, but if you are changing the value for an open session, if you then click on Apply, the background color for the PuTTY session will be changed to the new color.

    PuTTY - tan background

You may also want to change the default color for text, e.g., in the example above the text seems hard to distinguish on the tan background. I can go through the same process to change the default foreground color, which has a component value of 187 for each of the RGB values, to black by changing each of the values to 0 (for white you would use a value of 255 for each), which makes the display much more readable.

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PuTTY - black on tan background

If I want to save the settings so that they are the default settings for connection to this particular server, I can right-click on the title bar at the top of the PuTTY window, then select Change Settings, then click on Session in the PuTTY Reconfiguration widnow, then click on the Save button to save the values only for that server so that the next time you load and open its configuration you will have the colors you selected.


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Created: February 7, 2016