I'm trying to change sign text color in Java Edition on Windows 10. According to Minecraft documentation, this is done using the § symbol:

To enter "§" on Windows with most US/UK English keyboards type ALT + NUMPAD_2 NUMPAD_1

This works for me inside Notepad or this browser. However, when I enter this sequence in the sign input dialog, nothing happens. What could be causing this?

2 Answers 2


Formatting codes aren't used to change text colour in Java Edition. They can't be entered into most text fields, and these text colour changes cannot be made without cheats.

If you are trying to change the sign colour in Survival, instead try the dye method. Right-click on a sign while holding a dye to change its text colour.

If you are looking for a multi-coloured sign or don't like the colours the dyes give you, you'll need to use cheats to customize the sign's raw JSON text.

  • Thank you! Do you know of any beginner-friendly step-by-step tutorial on how to use raw JSON to change sign text color? Feb 15, 2021 at 21:13
  • 2
    @user1566515 I don't have specific pages, but the wiki page I linked to in my answer should help, as well as a quick Google search to familiarize yourself with JSON syntax. You should also pay a visit to the MC wiki page on signs, specifically the data values section to learn more about how NBT and JSON combine. Feb 15, 2021 at 21:39
  • Thanks again! The wiki page is very helpful now that I know what to look for. Feb 15, 2021 at 21:47

Though this has been answered, I'll just tack this on the necro to add more helps to fly-by-nighters:

The newer versions of Minecraft won't expect its users to use "exotic" codes other than the language glyphs acceptable in the locale for which it is configured. The §-color code is the go-to method of coding colors and most modders will go with it just for simplicity and because many expect that to be used by most mods/plugins/data packs and therefore will rely on them.

Unfortunately, most codes can't be entered into the standard text field configs anymore because mods are far less as much injected into the original Minecraft like they were back in earlier versions and language support has more defined rules now than ever.

The best advice I can give is to just open config files directly, most mod config settings GUIs will also have a .json or .toml configuration file where the settings are actually stored. If you edit that with your plain text editor, you should have no problem entering it there, as you already know - just be sure to save the file in the same encoding as it was when you opened it else there may be problems especially if a BOM gets introduced when the game doesn't expect one.

Just be advised if you change settings files, make a backup before you change stuff as anything could happen. Funny story: I had edited a config and left it open, my cat walked across my keyboard while I wasn't looking. The last thing that got stepped on was the arrow key (I think), which scrolled it back down to where I didn't see my cat's "changes", and then saved what I thought was a valid file, only to find that the game was NOT happy... like not at all :)

(I really have to stop writing novels...)

TL;DR: Short version, just edit config files directly, new minecraft, even modded minecraft, usually wont let you enter in § directly.

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