How To Enable Color in Terminal on Mac OS X for Root

This method will work for all users on your system, because you will be editing the system-wide profile and not a user-specific one.

Step 1: Edit /etc/profile

You will need to have root privileges to do this. You can open the file in TextEdit by going to File->Open and when the dialog pops up press Command-Shift-G to open the “Go to Location” dialog, then type in /etc/profile. Open the file called “profile” which should now be highlighted in your list of files.

After opening that file, add the following two lines to the bottom:

export CLICOLOR=1
export LSCOLORS=ExFxBxDxCxegedabagacad

The colors can be configured as stated in the ls manual, which can be accessed in terminal via “ls man”

Look for the section LSCOLORS. Here is what it says about the colors you can use to configure the display:


The value of this variable describes what color to
use for which attribute when colors are enabled
with CLICOLOR.  This string is a concatenation of
pairs of the format fb, where f is the foreground
color and b is the background color.

The color designators are as follows:

     a     black
     b     red
     c     green
     d     brown
     e     blue
     f     magenta
     g     cyan
     h     light grey
     A     bold black, usually shows up as dark
     B     bold red
     C     bold green
     D     bold brown, usually shows up as yellow
     E     bold blue
     F     bold magenta
     G     bold cyan
     H     bold light grey; looks like bright
     x     default foreground or background

Note that the above are standard ANSI colors.  The
actual display may differ depending on the color
capabilities of the terminal in use.

The order of the attributes are as follows:

     1.   directory
     2.   symbolic link
     3.   socket
     4.   pipe
     5.   executable
     6.   block special
     7.   character special
     8.   executable with setuid bit set
     9.   executable with setgid bit set
     10.  directory writable to others, with
          sticky bit
     11.  directory writable to others, without
          sticky bit

The default is "exfxcxdxbxegedabagacad", i.e. blue
foreground and default background for regular
directories, black foreground and red background
for setuid executables, etc.

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