If I want to gray out large swaths of text in a report, I know that I can use the xcolor package's \color{black!50} command: How to change color for a block of texts? http://alvinalexander.com/blog/post/latex/use-font-colors-in-latex-documents

Is there any way to confirm that the default color is indeed black before I issue the above command?

In a related search, I found that I can even push the current colour onto a stack: http://www.cs.stir.ac.uk/~kjt/software/latex/colours.html

However, that page is from 1997, targets slides, and uses a different package. I am currently very bound to the xcolor package.

This question has been posted at: How to save the current colour http://latex-community.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=25431

  • actually xcolor rather than color package (for the !50 syntax) Dec 15, 2014 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


Package xcolor has the concept of a "current color" with the dot as name. With \colorlet it can be saved:


Or grouping can be used, which also works with LaTeX's color package:

  • small text: \textcolor{black!50}{...}

  • larger chunks including paragraphs:


    (Also curly braces can be used for grouping.)

  • Thanks, Heiko. I didn't realize it, but our organizational template loads up the xcolor package. I thought I was using the color package. Probably I was, if xcolor loads the color package.
    – user36800
    Dec 15, 2014 at 18:18

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