HTML Colors

Colors are applied to an HTML element using CSS. You can also pick which part of the element to apply color to.

In HTML, colors can be added by using the style attribute, or by specifying the colors in an embedded or external stylesheet. You can specify a color by its name (eg, blue), its hexadecimal value (eg, #0000ff), RGB value (eg rgb(0,0,255)), or its HSL value (eg hsl(240,100%,100%)).


Foreground Color

To add color to an HTML element, you use style="color:{color}", where {color} is the color value. For example:

Background Color

To add a background color to an HTML element, you use style="background-color:{color}", where {color} is the color value. For example:

Border Color

To add a colored border to an HTML element, you use style="border:{width} {color} {style}", where {width} is the width of the border, {color} is the color of the border, and {style} is the style of the border. For example:

Color Names

Beginners may find it easier to specify colors by their color name, as color names are probably a lot easier to remember than the other options. Although color names are easier to remember, the hexadecimal, RGB, and HSL notations provide you with more color options.

Hexadecimal color codes are a combination of letters and numbers. The numbers go from 0 - 9 and the letters go from A to F. When using hexadecimal color values in your HTML/CSS, you preceed the value with a hash (#). Although hexadecimal values may look a little weird at first, you'll soon get used to them.

If you use graphics software, such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, you might be used to the RGB or HSL methods.

The chart below shows the 17 color names as specified in the CSS 2.1 specification, along with their corresponding hexadecimal and RGB values.

This table is a small sample of the enormous range of colors available in HTML. To see more, check out HTML Color Codes.

You can make up your own colors by simply entering any six digit hexadecimal value (preceeded by a hash). In the following example, we're using the same code as above. The only difference is that, instead of using "blue" as the value, we're using its hexadecimal equivalent (which is #0000ff):

If we wanted to change to a deeper blue, we could change our hexadecimal value slightly, like this:


You can also use alpha to specify the level of opacity the color should have. This is only available on RGB and HSL notations. To do this, add the letter "a" to the functional notation (i.e. RGBA and HSLA). For example, rgba(0,0,255,0.5) results in a semi-transparent blue, as does hsla(240, 100%, 50%, 0.5).

Here's an example of using RGBA to change the opacity.

Here's an example of using HSLA to change the opacity.

Choosing Colors - The Easy Way

By using hexadecimal, RGB, or HSL notation, you have a choice of over 16 million different colors. For example, you can start with 000000 and increment by one value all the way up to FFFFFF. Each different value represents a slightly different color.

But don't worry - you won't need to remember every single hexadecimal color value! The HTML color picker and color chart make it easy for you to choose colors for your website.