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When it comes to web-design, HTML is one powerful language. But as with any language, including languages web-designers use to communicate with computers, you cannot simply state or explain what you need.

Take the case of adding a color to your web page with HTML; sometimes you can happily type in the name of the color, like “green”, but more often than not, especially  when you have an exotic color in mind, they won’t except the color, but instead require a line of what’s called the hex code.

Hex Codes and the Machine Language

How to Use Hex Code ChartComputers “think” in Binary code, “1’s” and “0’s” as shown in every sci-fi movie. Technically, it’s called Base Two. It’s lengthy and hard for humans to read . Hence, programmers came up with something simpler and called it the Hexadecimal Code. It’s easier to read than Binary code, but still remains computer-ish i.e. a whole lot harder to read than simple English!

So how does hexadecimal work?

Well first off, the hexadecimal code uses a Base Sixteen system i.e. instead of using just two base form (‘1’ and ‘0’, or Hi and Low) it uses 16 figures. This includes normal Base Ten digits (0-9) followed by alphabets to represent numbers from 10 to 15 (A,B,C,D,E, and F):

10 = #A, 11 = #B, 12 = #C, 13 = #D, 14 = #E, 15 = #F, and 16 = #10

From the 00 to the intense FF, you have about 256 different intensities of the same color. Imagine the possibilities. Let’s see how the HTML codes uses this friendly (abomination of a) code.

HTML Codes Format

Each HTML code for the color contains the symbol “#” followed by 6 letters or numbers. These numbers/letters are in hexadecimal numeral system.

The Meaning of Symbols


Two digits each.

That makes up the whole color code representation of the HTML code.


That’s a YELLOW for you.

How? Well, the first two symbols in HTML color code represent the intensity of red color. The intensity starts with the least at “00” and all the way to “FF”, which is the most intense version of this color. The third and fourth letter/numbers represent intensity of GREEN and the remaining two digits (fifth and sixth) represent the intensity of BLUE.

Yeah, welcome back to junior high. It’s time to mix different colors and make something of your own. Hence, by combining the extreme intensities of red and green, and the lowest of blue, we got the YELLOW shown earlier. We can mix almost any color that our heart desire.

Here are a few examples:

  • #FF0000 — Pure red. Maximum of red, and no green and no blue
  • #00FF00 — Pure Green. Maximum of green and no red and blue
  • #0000FF — Pure Blue. Maximum of Blue and no red and green
  • #CCEEFF — Sky Blue. A combination of some red, a bit more of green, and maximum of blue

So next time your web designer asks you for your hex codes, hopefully you will have this article to refer to and know what he’s talking about.

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