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Hexadecimal Value System

The hexadecimal value system is the standard method of representing color on the Web. Every color that is displayed on the Web is represented with a six digit hexadecimal number value. These values can be typed directly into the HTML for a Web page or entered into the color mixer or color palette of a graphics program in order for the color to be displayed.

Red, green, and blue can each have one of 256 values in terms of color on the Web. The values are 0 through 255. The result is that there are 16,777,216 different ways that red, green, and blue can be combined to form another color, (256 x 256 x 256 = 16,777,216). This is also known as 24-bit color. A base-16 or hexadecimal numbering system is used to represent the colors with numerals and letters, instead of the usual base-10 system. The hexadecimal system uses the following values:

0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  A  B  C  D  E  F

Zero is the lowest value and F is the highest value. If base-10 numbering were used, the colors would have values of 00000000 to 16777216, but with hexadecimal numbering, the values would be 000000 to FFFFFF. This allows a two character value to be assigned to each color. The first and second characters are for red, the third and fourth characters are for green, and the fifth and sixth characters are for blue. The higher the number is for each color, the more of that color is present. These six digit values are the ones that you can enter directly into the HTML for a Web page. To enter the color while using a graphics program, you would enter the values of 0 up to 255 for each of the color components of red, green, and blue, to achieve the desired color. Some examples of color formulas are listed below, showing the hexadecimal value and the value expressed in terms of the individual red, green, and blue components.

Red

 

FF0000

R = 255
G = 0
B = 0

The first and second characters are reserved for the red, and in this example, they are both at the highest possible value (FF). The third and forth characters, which represent green, are at zero, and the fifth and sixth characters, which represent blue, are at zero. This means that the color is 100% red.

Green

 

00FF00

R = 0
G = 255
B = 0

The third and fourth characters, which represent green, are at the highest possible value (FF). The characters representing red and blue are at zero, so the color is 100% green.

Blue

 

0000FF

R = 0
G = 0
B = 255

The fifth and sixth characters, which represent blue, are at the highest possible value (FF). The characters representing red and green are at zero, so the color is 100% blue.

Cyan

 

00FFFF

R = 0
G = 255
B = 255

The green and blue are both at 100% saturation (FF), and the red is at zero. The green and blue light combine to make cyan.

Magenta

 

FF00FF

R = 255
G = 0
B = 255

The red and blue are both at 100% saturation (FF), and the green is at zero. The red and blue light combine to make magenta.

Yellow

 

FFFF00

R = 255
G = 255
B = 0

The red and green are both at 100% saturation (FF), and the blue is at zero. The red and green light combine to make yellow.

White

 

FFFFFF

R = 255
G = 255
B = 255

All three additive primary colors are at 100% saturation so the result is white light.

Black

 

000000

R = 0
G = 0
B = 0

All three additive primaries are at zero saturation, which results in the absence of light, or black.

Medium Gray

 

999999

R = 153
G = 153
B = 153

All three additive primary colors are at the same saturation level, but are not at zero saturation (black or 000000) or 100% saturation (white or FFFFFF), so the result is gray. Any color in which the values are the same for red, green, and blue, will be a shade of gray. (Examples include: 333333, 7E7E7E, C1C1C1, etc.)


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