In Emacs 21.1 and later, colors and faces are supported in non-windowed mode,
i.e., on Unix and GNU/Linux text-only terminals and consoles, and when
invoked as ‘emacs -nw’ on X, and MS-Windows. (Colors and faces were
supported in the MS-DOS port since Emacs 19.29.) Emacs automatically
detects color support at startup and uses it if available. If you think
that your terminal supports colors, but Emacs won’t use them, check the
termcap entry for your display type for color-related
The command M-x list-colors-display pops up a window which exhibits all the colors Emacs knows about on the current display.
Syntax highlighting is on by default since version 22.1.