• Web-safe Color Palette

Web-safe Color Palette


Although computers have a capacity for at least 256 colors, only 216 colors are common to all older computers. Newer computers are equipped with 64 thousand colors (16-bit) and the highest quality systems deliver 16.7 million colors (24-bit). However, approximately 10% of all computers are limited to 256 colors (8-bit).

In the early days of the world wide web, the web-safe 216 color palette emerged. The image below is the most accurate representation of the palette. Even though it's small, you can magnify it after you download the graphic. It's a nice surprise ... so it's worth the time to download the graphic and open it in any graphic application such as Photoshop.

216 color web safe palette

(You can save the graphic of this palette by following the sequence for your computer's saving and downloading of a graphic. In some cases, you can just drag the graphic to your desktop, or alt click.)


These are web-safe greens from the 216 color palette.

web-safe greens

You are limited to a certain range of greens (including these) if you address the web-safe range of hues.


If you use a green that is not one of the web-safe colors - and if someone's computer is limited to 256 colors - the green will consist of a series of green dots (from the web-safe greens) that approximate the color. For example, the green below is not a web-safe green.

dithered greens

You can see an exaggeration of the "dithering" - the patching together of web-safe greens. This is how this color might look on computers that have 8-bit color.

Many say that the web-safe palette is a thing of the past. Toss it or keep it? Some say that the colors are sacred reminders of the early days of the web.

Links to more articles about computer color are on the menu at the top of left side of this page.

You might also be interested in:

Color Symbolism

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Color Logic for Website DesignThe color theories that the pros use. E-book


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