Skip to Content

How do I make HTML code GREY?

How do I make HTML code GREY?

Making HTML code appear grey on a web page can be useful for visually distinguishing certain elements while maintaining readability. There are a few different ways to make HTML code appear grey, depending on the specific effect you want to achieve.

Using Inline CSS

One method is to use inline CSS styles to set the color of your HTML code to a shade of grey. For example:

<p style="color: grey;">This text will be grey.</p>

The color property allows you to specify a color value, which can be a named color like “grey”, an RGB value like rgb(128, 128, 128), or a hex code like #888888.

Using a hex code gives you precise control over the exact shade of grey. Lower hex values like #888 are darker grey, while higher values like #ccc are lighter.

Inline styles only affect the individual element they are applied to. To make all code elements grey site-wide, you would need to use an external CSS stylesheet instead.

Using CSS Class

Another method is to create a CSS class with the desired grey color, then apply that class to HTML elements:

.grey {
color: #888;

You can then use this class in your HTML:

<p class="grey">This paragraph will be grey.</p>

The benefit of using a CSS class is that you can reuse the same grey color easily across multiple elements. Just add the “grey” class to any tags you want to become grey.

Make sure to define the CSS class in an external stylesheet, not inline, so that the styling applies globally.

Using CSS for Specific Elements

For broader styling, you can target specific HTML elements like <p> or <div> in your external CSS file:

p {
color: #888;

div {
color: #888;

This will make all paragraphs and div elements grey sitewide. You can combine this technique with classes if you want to only target certain instances of an element.

For example, to only make some paragraphs grey, not all:

p.grey {
color: #888;

Then in HTML:

<p class="grey">This paragraph will be grey.</p>
<p>This one will be default color.</p>

Using CSS for Code and Pre Tags

You may specifically want your <code> and <pre> elements to appear grey, since these tags are used to display code snippets.

The CSS would be:

code {
color: #888;

pre {
color: #888;

This will make any content inside <code> or <pre> tags appear grey.

You can use these tags together with other styling for maximum readability of code samples on your site.

Using the Greyscale Filter

An alternative approach is to use the CSS grayscale filter to render all colors on your page in greyscale.

This filter converts all color values to different shades of grey. You can apply it to specific elements:

p {
filter: grayscale(100%);

Or site-wide on the body:

body {
filter: grayscale(100%);

The parameter is the percentage of conversion to greyscale. 100% is fully grey, while 0% is no conversion.

This desaturates all color, which can create a nice effect but may not always be suitable for displaying code. Hard-coding specific grey values may look better for code in many cases.

Using JavaScript

For added dynamism, you can use JavaScript to programmatically add a grey color or class to HTML elements on certain events.

For example, to add a .grey class on click:

document.getElementById("myElement").onclick = function() {

Or with jQuery:


This allows you to dynamically modify styling behavior on user interaction.

Browser Compatibility

Most modern browsers support the aforementioned techniques to color HTML elements grey. There are no major compatibility concerns.

Inline styles, CSS classes, and CSS element selectors have widespread support. Filters work in all modern browsers except Internet Explorer.

As usual, test across intended target browsers to catch any potential edge cases with certain CSS features. But overall this is straightforward to implement cross-browser.

Find the Right Grey Shade

Greys can range from nearly black (#333) to almost white (#eee). Be sure to pick a shade that provides sufficient contrast from your background color.

Darker greys like #888 work well on white backgrounds, while lighter greys like #ccc are better on darker backgrounds.

You may need to experiment with different hex values to find the right balance for readability. Keep accessibility in mind as well.

Try to avoid pure black (#000) for grey code, as it tends to look harsh and distracting. Softer natural greys help maintain continuity with surrounding content.

Use Multiple Shades of Grey

Consider using lighter greys for less important code wrapping elements like <pre> tags, and darker greys for the actual code content inside <code> tags.

For example:

pre {
color: #ccc;

code {
color: #888;

This establishes a visual hierarchy, drawing attention to the code snippets themselves.

You can also use darker greys for keywords and comments to help with scanning and reading comprehension of complex code samples.

Maintain Sufficient Contrast

While greys help tone down code elements, be wary of greys that are too light and don’t have enough contrast from the background.

Light greys on a white page can be hard to read. It may be necessary to go slightly darker for accessibility.

Many developers recommend a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for body text.

There are online contrast checkers you can use to ensure enough contrast between text and background colors.

Aim for greys that meet minimum contrast needs while still being soft enough for better code integration.

Use Borders and Box Shadows

If you find a grey that blends too much into the background, adding borders and shadows can help differentiate code blocks:

pre {
color: #ddd;
border: 1px solid #999;
box-shadow: 2px 2px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.1);

Subtle borders and shadows frame the element and make the grey text stand out more.

This enhances the scanning and readability of large code samples without being distracting.

Syntax Highlighting

For longer code examples, also consider implementing syntax highlighting. This uses different colors to distinguish keywords, strings, comments, etc.

Syntax highlighting improves code readability and comprehension. Subtle greys can still be used for non-highlighted elements to maintain an integrated look.

Many syntax highlighters allow customizing colors. Tweak the hue and saturation to soft greys that complement other syntax colors.


There are a few effective techniques for making HTML code appear grey:

– Inline styles like style="color: #888"
– CSS classes that define a grey color
– Targeting code elements like <code> and <pre> in CSS
– Applying the grayscale filter for desaturating all color
– JavaScript for dynamic effects

Aim for soft natural greys that provide enough contrast without being distracting. Use multiple shades to establish visual hierarchy.

Proper use of grey color allows code samples to blend into surrounding content while maintaining readability. Implement syntax highlighting for more complex code examples.

Grey code ultimately creates a clean, professional look for web pages heavy on HTML snippets.