Holy cow, I wrote a book!
Here's a question that came in from a customer:
Is there a way to view all the Windows color schemes at once?
We want to display text in the COLOR_BTNTEXT color
against a background of COLOR_INACTIVECAPTION,
and we want to check that this looks good in all of the themes.
A mistake I see from some programs is mixing system colors
that are not meant to be mixed.
The colors I'm talking about are the ones obtained from
the GetSysColor function.
Here are the text and background color pairs,
with a sample of what those colors are
on a default install of Windows XP.
If you're going to combine colors,
and you need them to contrast against each other
(for example, because you're going to draw text with them
as the foreground and background colors),
choose a pair from one of the rows above.
Do not choose colors from different rows because there is no
guarantee that they will be readable against each other.
For example, I like to use
black on #71FFFF
as my color scheme for highlighted text.
I've seen programs which break the above rule and draw text in the
COLOR_HIGHLIGHT color against a background
on the assumption that the highlight color contrasts against
the window color.
(They get away with this in the default Windows XP color scheme
because the window color is white and the highlight color is medium blue.)
Unfortunately, on my machine, this results in
text that is
extremely painful on the eyes.
Remember: When it comes to system colors, match.