256-Color Support in Windows

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 64190 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q64190
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
Expand all | Collapse all


Microsoft Windows allows you to run Windows applications that have 256- color support built into them; however, the graphics card and the Windows screen driver must support 256 colors. Windows applications that do not have 256-color support built into them are unable to use the 256-color support of Windows. For example, if you are using an application such as Paintbrush and you have only 16 colors, your 16-color limitation may occur because the graphics card or the screen driver only supports 16 colors.


Each Windows application is written to support a maximum number of colors. For example, Microsoft Paintbrush supports 256 colors; however, Microsoft PowerPoint supports 16.8 million colors.

Color support for Windows applications is determined by the following:

  • What the application was written to support.
  • What the graphics card supports.
  • What the Windows screen driver supports.


Article ID: 64190 - Last Review: February 27, 2014 - Revision: 3.0
  • Microsoft Windows 3.0 Standard Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive KB64190

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from smallbusiness.support.microsoft.com