TSO Background Color

How to Change your TSO Background Color

This short post describes a quick and easy way to get your TSO 3270 screen to display a light background rather than a black background when using IBM PC 3270 emulation software (aka PC3270).  Some people prefer a light background because it resembles most other things they do on Windows and hence feels more natural.  Running with a light background (rather than the default black) also has the practical advantage of allowing you to do screen prints without using up a lot of black toner on your printer.

If you have read the previous post on changing 3270 screen size, or even just the first part of it, you know how to find and edit your .ws file, where your 3270 configuration settings are stored.  Consider knowing that a pre-requisite to using this method.  Yes, we are just going to edit that settings file and swap in a new block of color settings in place of the existing ones.

The other method you can use is to go into the PC3270 drop-down configuration choices and change the colors one by one, modifying every color choice to specify your preferred background color instead of black, at the same time being sure that the typeface color (which you can also change) will show up against your chosen background.  That method is tedious.  So the easy thing for you to do is to copy the [Colors] section below (using cut-and-paste on your PC editor), using these lines to replace your existing [Colors] section in your .ws file.

As always, I caution you sincerely to make a backup copy of your .ws file before you edit it.

Then just delete the existing [Colors] section in your .ws file and replace it with a copy-and-paste of the [Colors] section shown in the sample below.

Using the sample color settings given here will give you a pale background color that is within the sky blue range (rather than white) only because white seems too bright (to me) and the pale sky color range happens to seem comfortable on the eyes (again, for me).  Presumably we're not much different from each other . . .

Shown below  are the lines to copy-and-paste into your .ws file (but if the lines below appear to you double-spaced, remove the blank lines …!  Double-spacing is something this blogging WordPress editor seems to like to insert at times. )

BaseColorNormalUnprotected=005B00 D5DEE6
BaseColorIntensifiedUnprotected=D10514 D5DEE6
BaseColorNormalProtected=18464B D5DEE6
BaseColorIntensifiedProtected=000000 D5DEE6
ExtendedColorBlue=00154F D5DEE6
ExtendedColorGreen=0B5918 D5DEE6
ExtendedColorPink=743F85 D5DEE6
ExtendedColorRed=880F12 D5DEE6
ExtendedColorTurquoise=034569 D5DEE6
ExtendedColorWhite=1A1A1A D5DEE6
ExtendedColorYellow=9D811C D5DEE6
ExtendedColorDefaultHightlight=000000 D5DEE6
ExtendedColorDefaultNoHightlight=2A2A2A D5DEE6

For reference, here's a link to the IBM manual on this:
3270 Emulator User’s Reference
Personal Communications for Windows, Version 5.7