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Bits of Color

bits of color Remember, the number of unique colors that can be displayed on a computer screen is over 16 million. To see this many possible colors, your system has to be capable of handling 24 bits of color, or 8 bits each for the red, green and blue values.

More bits allow for more colors to be displayed. Fewer total bits available in the system configuration yield fewer colors, as shown below:

Number of Colors to Display  Bits Needed
16 4
(16 * 16) 256 8
(256 * 256) 65,536 16
(256 * 65,536) 16,777,216 24

Your Screen Display

your screen display The number of colors which can see on your screen is determined by your system's graphics card and the driver settings for it. An SVGA color monitor with a graphics card having 2 megabytes of RAM or more, should allow display choices up to True Color or 16 million colors. If your system does not support the True Color or 24 bit option, it is still preferable to use the highest color setting available. The 65k or 16 bit setting is optimal and should display all web colors and graphics correctly. Most computers sold over the last few years have a default setting of 16 bits.. (About Screen Resolution)

Here are suggestions for checking and correcting your display in Windows 95/98 and, probably, the newer Microsoft operating systems as well:

Increase the color depth of your display:
  • Select: My Computer>Control Panel>Display>Settings.


  • Right click anywhere on your desktop and select Properties at the bottom. Click on the Settings tab at the top. Use the sliders to make adjustments. Your video card manufacturer is shown here, too.
If you don't see the option to increase your color display, you may have to download the latest video drivers from the manufacturer's web site.
Please contact your PC or video card vendor for more information.

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