CSS Colours

CSS brings 16,777,216 colours to your disposal. They can take the form of a name, an rgb (red/green/blue) value or a hex code.

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There are 17 valid predefined colour names. They are aqua, black, blue, fuchsia, gray, green, lime, maroon, navy, olive, orange, purple, red, silver, teal, white, and yellow.

transparent is also a valid value.

The three values in the rbg value are from 0 to 255, 0 being the lowest level (for example no red), 255 being the highest level (for example full red). These values can also be a percentage.

Hexadecimal (previously and more accurately known as ‘sexadecimal‘) is a base-16 number system. We are generally used to the decimal number system (base-10, from 0 to 9), but hexadecimal has 16 digits, from 0 to f.

The hex number is prefixed with a hash character (#) and can be three or six digits in length. Basically, the three-digit version is a compressed version of the six-digit (#f00 becomes #ff0000, #c96 becomes #cc9966 etc.). The three-digit version is easier to decipher (the first digit, like the first value in rgb, is red, the second green and the third blue) but the six-digit version gives you more control over the exact colour.

‘color’ and ‘background-color’:

Colours can be applied by using color and background-color (note that this must be the American English ‘color’ and not ‘colour’).

A blue background and yellow text could look like this:

h1 {
        color: yellow;
        background-color: blue;

These colours might be a little too harsh, so you could change the code of your CSS file for slightly different shades:

body {
        font-size: 0.8em;
        color: navy;
h1 {
        color: #ffc;
        background-color: #009;

Save the CSS file and refresh your browser. You will see the colours of the first heading (the h1 element) have changed to yellow and blue.

You can apply the color and background-color properties to most HTML elements, including body, which will change the colours of the page and everything in it.

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