What Does Monochrome Mean?

Monochrome is a legacy computer display system that only displays one or two colors with several shades. Monochrome refers to early computer monitors that were used from the very first computers until color monitors emerged in the 1980s. Monochrome monitors are now very rare.


Techopedia Explains Monochrome

Monochrome relies on two main colors – often black and white – as well as all the shades in between. The colors in a monochromatic monitor depend on the type of phosphorus used in the monitor’s display tube. In computer monitors, this color was mainly green, although a few monitors included red or white. Besides computers, the monochrome display was implemented in other devices as well such as cash counters, information kiosks and laboratory equipment displays.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.