1.11.2015

SecureCRT Keyword Highlight Color

A fantastic new feature has arrived with the latest update to SecureCRT 7.3. One of the top terminal emulators on the market now offers 'Keyword Highlighting'. Properly used this new feature can enhance your networking productivity. This is especially true when mass configuring networking devices. The ability to highlight any keyword you want allows you to spot configuration errors much easier and faster than when all of the text is the same color. This new feature even allows you to highlight different keywords into different colors, allowing you to organize what you want to see in the configuration in an easy to spot color scheme. For example, highlighting errors in red and VLANS in yellow.

To upgrade to the latest version of SecureCRT (at least version 7.3) go here

Why is this useful? With properly modified line entry times in your SecureCRT options, you can safely add an entire configuration to a device. This previously wasn't recommended because of glitches and errors occurring that might be missed as the configuration is being applied. 

For example without using keyword highlighting a configuration containing an error would look like the following: 

You can see by looking closely that the error, a typo, occurred on FastEthernet 1/11. Previously before keyword highlighting you would either have to have a keen eye to see this error pop up as you pasted an entire config script, or you would need to put  the configuration in in small chunks. 

With keyword highlighting enabled, and set to a few keywords and symbols, you can easily spot when the error occurs. For example with the same configuration we have chosen to highlight any occurrence of the word invalid and the symbols % and ^ in red blocks. 

It may seem like a small thing but a splash of color on monochromatic text really pops out at you. This allows you to put entire configuration scripts in at once and just hit CNTRL+C to stop the script in case you see an error. Not only does it make spotting errors easier but it can save you time by allowing you to put entire configurations in at once. Also, this allows you to enter a script and then quickly just scroll up through the applied configuration and see what errors you may have missed. This is especially handy for jobs were you are putting scripts on a large number of access switches. I recently had to do a job were I configured 200+ switches and copying and pasting small chunks of script wasn't a viable option due to the time it would take. I could apply the configuration and begin working altering the next configuration on a separate monitor. Any time there was an error I could clearly see the color contrast out of the corner of my eye and stop the script. This would not be possible if all of the text was the same color, you simply just wouldn't see it.

To enable keyword highlighting on SecureCRT 7.3 or greater perform the following steps:

1.  Go to Options > Global Options and then click the Edit Default Settings Button

2. Go to Appearance category. At the button in the Highlight keyword section use the drop down menu and select "New"

3.) In the Keyword List Properties enter a name for your keyword list. Next add a few keywords that you want to be highlighted.  Once you have added your words click OK. 

4. Next, in the Highlight Keywords section, be sure to select the Bold and Color boxes. Default color will be red, which for me contrasts perfectly against the green text. So if you would like to change your color be sure to click Edit and change your keyword colors.

5. Click Ok when you are finished. In order to see your highlighted text you will need to exit out of your current terminal connect and start a new one. Now just enter a typo into your device configuration and verify that the new text is highlighting properly. 

I hope this is helpful for you, as I know I am using it more and more now. It is a great way to provide extra error detection and increase productivity. 

3 comments:

  1. This is a good step in the right direction. As soon as it has the ability to define credentials entirely separate from sessions, so that I only have to change it one place once my domain password expires and not for every single connection it will be worth the asking price.
    Is it possible to let's say, highlight a whole line that contains certain keywords? For example 99% of the time I issue a show version on a Cisco device it's because I want to check the uptime. I'd like to have that line highlighted.

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