Color Palettes

Click the Customize button next to the drop-down list with color palettes on Colors and Syntax page in the file type configuration to choose the colors EditPad’s editor control uses.

Color Palettes

EditPad comes with a long list of predefined color palettes.

The built-in palettes cannot be customized. If you try to edit any of the individual colors, EditPad automatically makes a copy of the palette that you can then edit. You can also duplicate the selected palette by clicking the New button. Click the Delete button to remove a custom palette.

You can share palettes with others by clicking the Export button to save a palette as an .ini file. The Import button allows you to import an .ini file saved by the Export button. It will not import any other .ini files.

Each palette should have a name so you can select it in the list of palettes in the file type configuration.

If you create light and dark versions of the same palette, then you should set the “palette theme” option accordingly. After you have set “palette theme” you can select a custom palette of the opposite theme in the “companion light/dark palette”. If you do this then the View|Dark Theme menu item swaps your file types between these two palettes when you toggle the theme.

If you use File|Print or Block|Print then EditPad prints your file with the colors specified in your palette. If your palette’s background color is not white then EditPad will fill the entire page with ink. In that case you may want to create an extra version of your palette that has the plain text colors set to pure black text on a pure white background. You can then select that palette as the “companion printing palette” to your other palettes. You do not need to designate a palette as a printing palette. The “companion printing palette” drop-down list automatically lists all custom palettes that have the plain text colors set to pure black text on a pure white background. If you edit a file using a color palette for which you selected a companion printing palette then the print preview defaults to that printing palette instead of the palette you are editing with.

Changing Individual Colors

If you customize one of the harmonized, solarized, or monochrome palettes then the color picker restricts you to the specific set of harmonized, solarized, or monochrome colors that are available to the palette you’re customizing. To change a color, simply click the Color button and then click on the color you want.

For all other palettes, the color picker shows a grid of 5 rows of 8 common colors. Any other colors used by your palette are shown below the 40 common colors. The other colors are shown in the order of the first individual color that uses that color. The default palette, for example, uses different shades of red for markup tags and markup attributes. The red of markup tags is listed first because “markup tags” is above “markup attributes” in the list of individual colors. Each color is shown only once. All the color buttons show the same color picker. So the Background Color button also shows colors that are only used for text, for example.

You can pick a more specific color by clicking the More button to show the color hexagon. The colors on the outer edge of the hexagon are always fully saturated. The colors nearer to the center of the hexagon are progressively desaturated towards white, gray, or black. Click on the vertical grayscale slider to change the luminance of the colors in the center of the hexagon. If you want to pick a pure grayscale value, click on the horizontal line of small gray hexagons. If you want pure white or black, click on the larger black or white hexagon to the left or right of the gray hexagons. If you want to use a specific RGB value, enter three numbers between 0 and 255 in the edit boxes that are shaded red, green, and blue.

The color hexagon, along with the vertical grayscale slider, makes it easy to pick related colors. The concepts that follow may be easier to understand if you see the large color hexagon as a circle with discrete steps, and the small hexagons that comprise it as positions at a certain radius and angle. Colors with the same distance to the center (same radius) have the same amount of saturation. The colors at the edge are always fully saturated and the color at the center is always fully desaturated. You can change the hue without changing the saturation by selecting another color at the same distance (same radius, different angle). You can change the saturation without changing the hue by selecting a color closer to or further away from the center (different radius, same angle). For colors that are not fully saturated, the grayscale slider controls the luminance. To make a color lighter or darker, first click on the grayscale slider to change the luminance. Then click on the same spot in the color hexagon to select the same color with the different luminance.

Syntax elements that use colors of different hues but similar saturation and luminance allow those elements to be distinguished without drawing attention to some over the others. Syntax elements for important structural parts of the file can be given colors with more luminance while syntax elements for less important parts or more common parts (large blocks of text) can be given colors with less luminance to make it easier for the eye to gravitate towards the important elements. This can be further enhanced by using bold text for the most important syntax elements. If the base (plain text) color of the scheme is white, gray, or black, then setting the luminance slider at that level of white, gray, or black allows you to use more saturated colors for more important elements and less saturated colors for less important elements, as an alternative technique to using luminance. Color schemes that use very saturated colors appear bolder, while color schemes with (somewhat) desaturated colors (using luminance instead of saturation for highlighting) appear more relaxing.

If you prefer to use the standard Windows color selection dialog box to pick your colors, right-click the Background Color or Text Color button. This dialog allows you to specify hue and saturation using a two-dimensional grid and luminance using a vertical slider. You can also enter HSL or RGB values with the keyboard. If you do this while customizing a harmonized, solarized, or monochrome palette then you can break the restricted nature of the palette.

If you want to use exactly the same color for two items, first select the item that already has the color you want. Click the Color button that has the color you want. One of the color squares in the color picker should have a beveled edge. Note its location in the grid of squares.

After observing the color, click on the item in the list that should have the same color. The color picker automatically closes when you do this. Click the Color button that should have the same color. Click on the same square in the grid that you observed.

You can use the Copy and Paste buttons to make two individual colors identical. Clicking Paste changes all the colors and styles of the selected individual color to the ones that you copied.

Default Colors and Unchanged Styles

Colors can be set to “default” and text styles can be set to “unchanged”. For the “editor: plain text” color the default colors are the window text and background colors configured in the Windows Control Panel (as part of the Windows theme or via the advanced appearance settings). The default plain text style is the one you selected in Options|Text Layout or Options|Font.

For all other individual colors, the default color and style depends on how the colors are layered. Multiple colors can apply to the same text. These colors may be layered onto the same piece of text, in decreasing order of priority:

  1. Selection
  2. Matching bracket
  3. Search match
  4. Search range
  5. Misspelled word
  6. Syntax color
  7. Comparison marks
  8. Folded line
  9. Active line highlight
  10. Syntax coloring subscheme highlight

All colors (background, text, underline, strikeout) and all styles (bold, italic, underline, strikeout) are determined separately. EditPad takes each color and each style from the individual color with the highest priority that applies to that text that has that color or style set to something other than “default” or “unchanged”. If all individual colors that apply have the text or background color set to “default” or a style set to “unchanged” then the color or style of the “editor: plain text” color are used for that text. If all individual colors that apply have the underline or strikeout color set to “default” then the text color is used for underline or strikeout.

A few examples make this easier to understand. The “white on black” palette has the “editor: selected text” color set to black text on a purple background. So with this palette, any text you select is black on purple because the selection highlight always has the highest priority. But the “harmonized dark” palette sets the selection background to a shade of gray but the selection foreground to “default”. With this palette, the selection highlight only appears as a different background color. Selected text keeps the colors it gets from syntax coloring. Of course, this only works well if the background color for selected text contrasts well with all the text colors that may be used by syntax coloring.

If the selection contains a highlighted search match then that search match gets a double underline with both these palettes. That underline remains when you select the search match as both palettes have the underline style for “editor: selected text” set to “unchanged”. The underlining remains even though the yellow background that the “white on black” palette specifies for highlighted search matches disappears when the search match is selected.

List of Individual Colors

The colors prefixed with “syntax” are the named colors used by syntax coloring schemes. The descriptions given here are the suggested uses of these colors. The syntax coloring schemes provided with EditPad Pro strictly follow these suggested uses, though most schemes do not use all of the colors. Syntax coloring schemes created by other EditPad Pro users may use these colors to highlight other things.

The colors prefixed with “editor” are used to draw various parts of EditPad’s editor control. These colors are not used by syntax coloring schemes. The editor uses these colors even when syntax coloring is disabled.

The colors prefixed with “regex” are used by the Search Panel to apply syntax coloring to regular expressions.


When configuring syntax highlighting colors, you can select one of the available colorings schemes to see an example. Each coloring scheme has its own example text that shows the most important color elements of the scheme. You can double-click any text in the example to select the individual color that was applied by the syntax coloring scheme.

The example does not necessarily show all color elements. You can type in or paste in your own example to test the colors. Your example won’t be saved. If you select a different coloring scheme in the drop-down list then the example is reset to what is stored in the scheme.