Ultimate Python colorized logger: Somewhere over the rainbow

To make logging based debugging and diagnostics more fun, I created the following enhanced Python logging solution. It colorizes and adjusts logging output so that one can work more efficiently with long log transcripts in a local terminal. It’s based on logutils package by Vinay Sajip.

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 6.04.36 AM

What it does

  • Targets debugging and diagnostics use cases, not log file writing use cases
  • Detects if you are running a real terminal or logging to a file stream
  • Set ups a custom log handler which colorizes parts of the messages differently
  • Works on UNIX or Windows

Example of a longer terminal logging transcript which does a lot of output in logging.DEBUG level:

Screen Shot 2013-03-14 at 6.10.39 AM

The source code and usage examples below.

1. Further ideas

How to make your life even more easier in Python logging

  • Make this to a proper package or merge with logutils
  • Use terminal info to indent message lines properly, so that 2+ lines indent themselves below the starting line and don’t break the column structure (how to get terminal width in Python?)
  • Make Python logging to store full qualified name to the function, instead of just module/func pair which is useless in bigger projects
  • Make tracebacks clickable in iTerm 2. iTerm 2 link click handler has regex support, but does not know about Python tracebacks and would need patch in iTerm 2

Please post your own ideas 🙂

2. The code

Source code (also on Gist) – for source code colored version see the original blog post:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

    Python logging tuned to extreme.


__author__ = "Mikko Ohtamaa <[email protected]>"
__license__ = "MIT"

import logging

from logutils.colorize import ColorizingStreamHandler

class RainbowLoggingHandler(ColorizingStreamHandler):
    """ A colorful logging handler optimized for terminal debugging aestetichs.

    - Designed for diagnosis and debug mode output - not for disk logs

    - Highlight the content of logging message in more readable manner

    - Show function and line, so you can trace where your logging messages
      are coming from

    - Keep timestamp compact

    - Extra module/function output for traceability

    The class provide few options as member variables you
    would might want to customize after instiating the handler.

    # Define color for message payload
    level_map = {
        logging.DEBUG: (None, 'cyan', False),
        logging.INFO: (None, 'white', False),
        logging.WARNING: (None, 'yellow', True),
        logging.ERROR: (None, 'red', True),
        logging.CRITICAL: ('red', 'white', True),

    date_format = "%H:%m:%S"

    #: How many characters reserve to function name logging
    who_padding = 22

    #: Show logger name
    show_name = True

    def get_color(self, fg=None, bg=None, bold=False):
        Construct a terminal color code

        :param fg: Symbolic name of foreground color

        :param bg: Symbolic name of background color

        :param bold: Brightness bit
        params = []
        if bg in self.color_map:
            params.append(str(self.color_map[bg] + 40))
        if fg in self.color_map:
            params.append(str(self.color_map[fg] + 30))
        if bold:

        color_code = ''.join((self.csi, ';'.join(params), 'm'))

        return color_code

    def colorize(self, record):
        Get a special format string with ASCII color codes.

        # Dynamic message color based on logging level
        if record.levelno in self.level_map:
            fg, bg, bold = self.level_map[record.levelno]
            # Defaults
            bg = None
            fg = "white"
            bold = False

        # Magician's hat
        # https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HRa4X07jdE
        template = [
            self.get_color("black", None, True),
            "] ",
            self.get_color("white", None, True) if self.show_name else "",
            "%(name)s " if self.show_name else "",
            " ",
            self.get_color(bg, fg, bold),

        format = "".join(template)

        who = [self.get_color("green"),
               getattr(record, "funcName", ""),
               self.get_color("black", None, True),
               str(getattr(record, "lineno", 0))]

        who = "".join(who)

        # We need to calculate padding length manualy
        # as color codes mess up string length based calcs
        unformatted_who = getattr(record, "funcName", "") + "()" + \
            ":" + str(getattr(record, "lineno", 0))

        if len(unformatted_who) < self.who_padding:
            spaces = " " * (self.who_padding - len(unformatted_who))
            spaces = ""

        record.padded_who = who + spaces

        formatter = logging.Formatter(format, self.date_format)
        self.colorize_traceback(formatter, record)
        output = formatter.format(record)
        # Clean cache so the color codes of traceback don't leak to other formatters
        record.ext_text = None
        return output

    def colorize_traceback(self, formatter, record):
        Turn traceback text to red.
        if record.exc_info:
            # Cache the traceback text to avoid converting it multiple times
            # (it's constant anyway)
            record.exc_text = "".join([

    def format(self, record):
        Formats a record for output.

        Takes a custom formatting path on a terminal.
        if self.is_tty:
            message = self.colorize(record)
            message = logging.StreamHandler.format(self, record)

        return message

if __name__ == "__main__":
    # Run test output on stdout
    import sys

    root_logger = logging.getLogger()

    handler = RainbowLoggingHandler(sys.stdout)
    formatter = logging.Formatter("%(asctime)s - %(name)s - %(levelname)s - %(message)s")
    logger = logging.getLogger("test")

    def test_func():
        logger.debug("debug msg")
        logger.info("info msg")
        logger.warn("warn msg")

    def test_func_2():
        logger.error("error msg")
        logger.critical("critical msg")

            raise RuntimeError("Opa!")
        except Exception as e:


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5 thoughts on “Ultimate Python colorized logger: Somewhere over the rainbow

  1. There is no support for white background terminal yes, as I am not aware how this condition could be detected. We can always force background color to black, though 🙁

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