Some error messages in journalctl show up in red and white. If I'm authoring my own systemd service, how can I format my messages such that they show up in red or white. It's a nice way of having errors stand out.

1 Answer 1


It's the priority that determines how journalctl displays messages.

Based on a quick test with logger :

  • Messages of priority debug and info are displayed "normally".
  • Messages of priority notice and warning are displayed in bold white.
  • Messages of priority err, crit, alert, emerg are displayed in bold red.


To answer the comment about how to indicate a level just by writing to stdout, yes you can, just prefix your message with <n> where n is a number between 0 (emerg) and 7 (debug) representing the priority.

For example the following service writes an alert message, which will thus appear in red in journalctl output :


ExecStart=/bin/echo "<1>Victoriae mundis et mundis lacrima."


See sd-daemon(3) and http://0pointer.de/blog/projects/journal-submit.html for more details.

  • 1
    If your service is just writing to stdout, is there a way to indicate loglevel?
    – Chris W.
    Jun 9, 2016 at 16:47

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