(1) In computer graphics, a palette is the set of available colors. For a given application, the palette may be only a subset of all the colors that can be physically displayed. For example, a SVGA system can display 16 million unique colors, but a given program would use only 256 of them at a time if the display is in 256-color mode. The computer system's palette, therefore, would consist of the 16 million colors, but the program's palette would contain only the 256-color subset.
A palette is also called a CLUT (color look-up table).
On monochrome systems, the term palette is sometimes used to refer to the available fill patterns.
(2) In paint and illustration programs, a palette is a collection of symbols that represent drawing tools. For example, a simple palette might contain a paintbrush, a pencil, and an eraser.