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Text::ANSI::Util - Routines for text containing ANSI color codes


This document describes version 0.234 of Text::ANSI::Util (from Perl distribution Text-ANSI-Util), released on 2023-02-27.


 use Text::ANSI::Util qw(

 # detect whether text has ANSI color codes?
 say ta_detect("red");       # => false
 say ta_detect("\e[31mred"); # => true

 # calculate length of text (excluding the ANSI color codes)
 say ta_length("red");       # => 3
 say ta_length("\e[31mred"); # => 3

 # strip ANSI color codes
 say ta_strip("\e[31mred"); # => "red"

 # split codes (ANSI color codes are always on the even positions)
 my @parts = ta_split_codes("\e[31mred"); # => ("", "\e[31m", "red")

 # wrap text to a certain column width, handle ANSI color codes
 say ta_wrap("....", 40);

 # pad (left, right, center) text to a certain width
 say ta_pad("foo", 10);                          # => "foo       "
 say ta_pad("foo", 10, "left");                  # => "       foo"
 say ta_pad("foo\nbarbaz\n", 10, "center", "."); # => "\n..barbaz..\n"

 # truncate text to a certain width while still passing ANSI color codes
 use Term::ANSIColor;
 my $text = color("red")."red text".color("reset"); # => "\e[31mred text\e[0m"
 say ta_trunc($text, 5);                            # => "\e[31mred t\e[0m"

 # highlight the first occurrence of some string within text
 say ta_highlight("some text", "ome", "\e[7m\e[31m");

 # ditto, but highlight all occurrences
 say ta_highlight_all(...);

 # get substring
 my $substr = ta_substr("...", $pos, $len);

 # return text but with substring replaced with replacement
 say ta_substr("...", $pos, $len, $replacement);


This module provides routines for dealing with text that contains ANSI color codes, e.g. for determining its length/width (excluding the color codes), stripping the color codes, extracting the color codes, and so on.

For functions that support wide characters, see Text::ANSI::WideUtil.

Current caveats:

  • Other ANSI codes (non-color codes) are ignored

    These are codes like for altering cursor positions, etc.

  • Single-character CSI (control sequence introducer) currently ignored

    Only ESC+[ (two-character CSI) is currently parsed.

    BTW, in ASCII terminals, single-character CSI is 0x9b. In UTF-8 terminals, it is 0xc2, 0x9b (2 bytes).

  • Private-mode- and trailing-intermediate character currently not parsed

  • Only color reset code \e[0m is recognized

    For simplicity, currently multiple SGR parameters inside a single ANSI color code is not parsed. This means that color reset code like \e[1;0m or \e[31;47;0m is not recognized, only \e[0m is. I believe this should not be a problem with most real-world text out there.


ta_add_color_resets(@text) => LIST

Make sure that a color reset command (add \e[0m) to the end of each element and a replay of all the color codes from the previous element, from the last color reset) to the start of the next element, and so on. Return the new list.

This makes each element safe to be combined with other array of text into a single line, e.g. in a multicolumn/tabular layout. An example:

Without color resets:

 my @col1 = split /\n/, "\e[31mred\nmerah\e[0m";
 my @col2 = split /\n/, "\e[32mgreen\e[1m\nhijau tebal\e[0m";

 printf "%s | %s\n", $col1[0], $col2[0];
 printf "%s | %s\n", $col1[1], $col2[1];

the printed output:

 \e[31mred | \e[32mgreen
 merah\e[0m | \e[1mhijau tebal\e[0m

The merah text on the second line will become green because of the effect of the last color command printed (\e[32m). However, with ta_add_color_resets():

 my @col1 = ta_add_color_resets(split /\n/, "\e[31mred\nmerah\e[0m");
 my @col2 = ta_add_color_resets(split /\n/, "\e[32mgreen\e[1m\nhijau tebal\e[0m");

 printf "%s | %s\n", $col1[0], $col2[0];
 printf "%s | %s\n", $col1[1], $col2[1];

the printed output (<...>) marks the code added by ta_add_color_resets():

 \e[31mred<\e[0m> | \e[32mgreen\e[1m<\e[0m>
 <\e[31m>merah\e[0m | <\e[32m\e[1m>hijau tebal\e[0m

All the cells are printed with the intended colors.

ta_detect($text) => BOOL

Return true if $text contains ANSI color codes, false otherwise.

ta_extract_codes($text) => STR

This is the opposite of ta_strip(), return only the ANSI codes in $text.

ta_highlight($text, $needle, $color) => STR

Highlight the first occurrence of $needle in $text with <$color>, taking care not to mess up existing colors.

$needle can be a string or a Regexp object.

Implementation note: to not mess up colors, we save up all color codes from the last reset (\e[0m) before inserting the highlight color + highlight text. Then we issue \e[0m and the saved up color code to return back to the color state before the highlight is inserted. This is the same technique as described in ta_add_color_resets().

ta_highlight_all($text, $needle, $color) => STR

Like ta_highlight(), but highlight all occurrences instead of only the first.

ta_length($text) => INT

Count the number of characters in $text, while ignoring ANSI color codes. Equivalent to length(ta_strip($text)). See also: ta_mbswidth() in Text::ANSI::WideUtil.

ta_length_height($text) => [INT, INT]

Like ta_length(), but also gives height (number of lines). For example, ta_length_height("foobar\nb\n") gives [6, 3].

See also: ta_mbswidth_height() in Text::ANSI::WideUtil.

ta_pad($text, $width[, $which[, $padchar[, $truncate]]]) => STR

Return $text padded with $padchar to $width columns. $which is either "r" or "right" for padding on the right (the default if not specified), "l" or "left" for padding on the right, or "c" or "center" or "centre" for left+right padding to center the text.

$padchar is whitespace if not specified. It should be string having the width of 1 column.

Does *not* handle multiline text; you can split text by /\r?\n/ yourself.

See also: ta_mbpad() in Text::ANSI::WideUtil.

ta_split_codes($text) => LIST

Split $text to a list containing alternating ANSI color codes and text. ANSI color codes are always on the second element, fourth, and so on. Example:

 ta_split_codes("");              # => ()
 ta_split_codes("a");             # => ("a")
 ta_split_codes("a\e[31m");       # => ("a", "\e[31m")
 ta_split_codes("\e[31ma");       # => ("", "\e[31m", "a")
 ta_split_codes("\e[31ma\e[0m");  # => ("", "\e[31m", "a", "\e[0m")
 ta_split_codes("\e[31ma\e[0mb"); # => ("", "\e[31m", "a", "\e[0m", "b")
 ta_split_codes("\e[31m\e[0mb");  # => ("", "\e[31m\e[0m", "b")

so you can do something like:

 my @parts = ta_split_codes($text);
 while (my ($text, $ansicode) = splice(@parts, 0, 2)) {

ta_split_codes_single($text) => LIST

Like ta_split_codes() but each ANSI color code is split separately, instead of grouped together. This routine is currently used internally e.g. for ta_wrap() and ta_highlight() to trace color reset/replay codes.

ta_strip($text) => STR

Strip ANSI color codes from $text, returning the stripped text.

ta_substr($text, $pos, $len[ , $replacement ]) => STR

A bit like Perl's substr(). If $replacement is not specified, will return the substring. If $replacement is specified, will return $text with the substring replaced by $replacement.

See also: ta_mbsubstr() in Text::ANSI::WideUtil.

ta_trunc($text, $width) => STR

Truncate $text to $width columns while still including all the ANSI color codes. This ensures that truncated text still reset colors, etc.

Does *not* handle multiline text; you can split text by /\r?\n/ yourself.

See also: ta_mbtrunc() in Text::ANSI::WideUtil.

ta_wrap($text, $width, \%opts) => STR

Like Text::WideChar::Util's wrap() except handles ANSI color codes. Perform color reset at the end of each line and a color replay at the start of subsequent line so the text is safe for combining in a multicolumn/tabular layout.


  • flindent => STR

    First line indent. Currently must not contain ANSI color codes or wide characters.

  • slindent => STR

    Subsequent line indent. Currently must not contain ANSI color codes or wide characters.

  • tab_width => INT (default: 8)

  • pad => BOOL (default: 0)

    If set to true, will pad each line to $width. This is convenient if you need the lines padded, saves calls to ta_pad().

  • return_stats => BOOL (default: 0)

    If set to true, then instead of returning the wrapped string, function will return [$wrapped, $stats] where $stats is a hash containing some information like max_word_width, min_word_width.

  • keep_trailing_space => BOOL (default: 0)

    If set to true, then trailing space that separates words will be kept at the end of wrapped lines. This option is useful if you want to rejoin the lines later. Without this option set to true, wrapping this line at width=4 (quotes shown):

     "some long   line"

    will result in:


    While if this option is set to true, the result will be:

     "some "
     "long "

Performance: ~500/s on my Core i5 1.7GHz laptop for a ~1KB of text (with zero to moderate amount of color codes).

See also: ta_mbwrap() in Text::ANSI::WideUtil.


Why split functionalities of wide character and color support into multiple modules/distributions?

Performance (see numbers in the function description), dependency (Unicode::GCString is used for wide character support), and overhead (loading Unicode::GCString).

How do I highlight a string case-insensitively?

You can currently use a regex for the $needle and use the i modifier. Example:

 use Term::ANSIColor;
 ta_highlight($text, qr/\b(foo)\b/i, color("bold red"));


Please visit the project's homepage at


Source repository is at


String::Pad provides padding function for strings that do not contain ASCII escape codes nor wide characters.

Text::NonWideChar::Util provides some other functions for strings that do not contain ASCII escape codes nor wide characters.

Text::WideChar::Util provides utilities for strings that do not contain ANSI escape codes but contain wide characters.

Text::ANSI::WideUtil provides utilities for strings that contain ANSI escape codes and wide characters.


perlancar <>


Steven Haryanto <>


To contribute, you can send patches by email/via RT, or send pull requests on GitHub.

Most of the time, you don't need to build the distribution yourself. You can simply modify the code, then test via:

 % prove -l

If you want to build the distribution (e.g. to try to install it locally on your system), you can install Dist::Zilla, Dist::Zilla::PluginBundle::Author::PERLANCAR, Pod::Weaver::PluginBundle::Author::PERLANCAR, and sometimes one or two other Dist::Zilla- and/or Pod::Weaver plugins. Any additional steps required beyond that are considered a bug and can be reported to me.


This software is copyright (c) 2023, 2021, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 by perlancar <>.

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as the Perl 5 programming language system itself.


Please report any bugs or feature requests on the bugtracker website

When submitting a bug or request, please include a test-file or a patch to an existing test-file that illustrates the bug or desired feature.