Browser-Safe Palette

What Does Browser-Safe Palette Mean?

The browser-safe palette is (was) a series of colors used in Web development. The palette was the original 216 standard colors displayed uniformly across Internet Explorer, Netscape and Mosaic. The colors are not based on aesthetics or beauty, but rather on mathematics.


The palette has 216 colors out of the possible 256, because these were the common colors used in the Mac and PC. The other 40 colors were reserved for OS use and varied in appearance. The object was to allow users of both platforms to observe the same coloration on any given website. While the browsersafe palette was important at one time, it is not relevant for modern web-design.

This term is also known as the 216 palette, Web palette or Netscape palette.

Techopedia Explains Browser-Safe Palette

The palette was originally adapted by developers because monitors and video adapters in the 1990s often only used 8-bit color. The purpose was to ensure Web pages looked the same when displayed on any color monitor with an 8-bit color depth or higher. Nowadays, most monitors have near perfect color-rendering and most any color can be rendered in a similar manner across most platform.

The browser-safe palette was originally published by Lynda Weinman. Although she did not create the palette, she is widely known for writing about it.


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Margaret Rouse 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 explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…