Best Free Color Picker

 
Introduction

A color picker allows you to identify the color codes of any color present on your screen. This information can be helpful when editing an image, programming, writing HTML language or setting up a web page, etc.

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There are many free color pickers to choose from. This review picks out a select few, based on the following features:

  • Color code support:
    - RGB (Red, Green and Blue)
    - Hex (hexadecimal in HTML mode, etc)
    - HSL, HSV, HSI or HSB (Hue, Saturation, Lightness/Value/Intensity/Brightness)
    - CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black)
  • Takes up little screen space  (in its "on-top" setting)
  • Provides useful features including a grabber (or eyedropper) to easily pick and copy a color, a magnifier to see precisely which color you want to pick, a color mixer to adjust colors, and a color palette to re-use picked colors.

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Discussion

Color CopColor Cop impressed me with its combination of simplicity and effectiveness. It comes with a compact and powerful user interface which takes up very little screen space. A color grabber is provided to drag and drop at any pixel of the screen, and RGB and Hex codes are presented instantly.

The front interface provides a built-in magnifier and an active color palette. If you want to adjust a picked color, you can click the ‘custom’ button and call up Windows’ default color mixer. When you right click on the interface a menu pops up with extra features. In this way, the interface is cleverly made small but powerful.

The extra features include web-safe color, display color reverses, random colors, conversion to gray-scale, additional hex codes, application options and settings, etc. The only drawback is that CMYK color space has yet to be incorporated.

 

Color ArchiverColor Archiver is another good choice but it has a slightly bigger interface than that of Color Cop. It provides RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSL and HSV color spaces. A color grabber, active color palette and RGB sliders are included.

You can name the color you pick and save it in a collapsible color table alongside a default web color table.

Similar to Color Cop, Color Archiver supports a Windows' default color mixer and a magnifier (up to 16 times).

 

Color SelectorIf you need a color picker with a converter built-in, then Color Selector is a good try. You can enter a color value in a chosen format and press the Convert button to get all values in other formats easily.

Color Selection has a click-and-drag color picker, 9x magnifier, color preview, configurable color sliders, a Darker slider and a default color mixer. It supports color values in RGB, HSL, HSB/HSV, CMY, Hexadecimal and Decimal.

The palette tool is shown on a separate window while the program's main interface takes up some desktop space as well.

 

CPickCPick has a collapsible user interface and comes with a color grabber by Click and Drag. It allows you to pick a screen color behind a magnifier zooming from 10 to 100.

You can copy a color to the clipboard as Hex, Decimal, RGB or HSV value and modify the color with the RGB or HSV slide bars.

The program provides standard and websafe color lists. It also allows you to create your own color lists for your projects. In addition, it features saving the image captured by the magnifier as an icon or bitmap file.

 

Just Color PickerJust Color Picker also features a small interface. It supports RGB, HTML Hex and HSB/HSV/HSL color codes. The 3x/9x/15x zoom helps you pinpoint a color specifically.

RGB and HSV sliders are included in a collapsible lower section. Picked colors are presented in a color palette with codes indicated, and can be saved in a normal text file. However, Just Color Picker uses a hot key to pick a color, rather than a grabber which is more handy.

Just Color Picker is a portable application and can be run directly from a USB stick. No installation required.

 

ColorManiaSimilar to Color Archiver, ColorMania also supports CMYK in addition to RGB and Hex codes in various modes. 

ColorMania has a color grabber, magnifier, mixer and sliders for RGB and HSV. It provides a color palette for picked colors and allows saving. Predefined HTML colors are ready for use.

Compared with other programs, it takes up slightly more screen space as none of its modules are collapsible.

 

PixeurAlternatively Pixeur can be used to support CMYK color space, in addition to RGB, HSB and Hex color values. This program is automatically set on top of other windows. It has a color grabber, magnifier, color mixer, color scheme and a slider.

Pixeur keeps a history of all the colors you have selected, and allows saving for future reference.

With a collapsible section for color scheme, it takes up about the same screen space as ColorMania.

 

gcolor2A color picker that runs on Linux?

gcolor2  is a simple color selector to provide a quick and easy way to pick a color on the screen. It supports HSV, RGB and HTML codes with an opacity slider. A color grabber is supported. Users are allowed to name a picked color and save it in the list.

On the downside, no magnifier is supported.

 
Other Color Pickers

These are a number of other free color pickers which were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • Visual Color Picker supports RGB, HSL and CMYK color codes with complete sliders and 2D color mixers. Features include grabber, zoom and color preview with codes. It takes up a relatively large desktop area.
  • ColorPic supports RGB, HSV and CMYK codes with features including sliders, palettes and advanced mixers. It takes up a relatively large desktop area and uses hot keys to pick colors.
  • ColorPix supports RGB, HEX, HSB and CMYK codes and has a very small user interface, but it lacks quite a lot of features such as a color grabber, color mixer, slider, color palette, etc.
  • Pixie is a small and simple program. A portable version weighs in at only 11KB. Pixie shows you Hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV color values when you point to a pixel on the screen. It allows you to use hotkeys to copy HTML codes, call up Windows' default color mixer and show a floating magnifier. If you don't remember the hotkeys, the program will show them up when you move the mouse cursor over the interface.
  • ColSel (homepage not in English) supports HEX and RGB color values, but CMYK and HSV values are not supported. The program features color mixers, websafe color, etc., but its color grabber together with a magnifier is located at the secondary user interface and requires more steps to just pick a color from the screen.
  • Pickard lets you drag an eyedropper on the screen, then pick a color from a magnified area in the applicaton. Supports RGB, HSL, CMY and YUV color spaces. A relatively large user interface area and no color palette is available.
  • Color Puller is portable freeware, completes with various useful features such as a grabber, a color palette, and a magnifier up to 50 times. The program supports RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSV, HSL, HSI and Hex values. Its user interface is relatively larger but can be minimized when you choose a color code to display with the On-top option.
  • Pipette runs straight from the executable and provides Hex, RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSV and other values. Large user interface, no color sliders nor a magnifier are supported.
 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

Color Cop
4.5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Compact and powerful user interface, taking up a small space of desktop area. Features include grabber, magnifier, color palette and mixer, etc.
CMYK color space yet to be developed.
http://www.colorcop.net/
5.4.5
60.7 KB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Win 98-Vista

5.4.5 is available as zip format only on the download page.
If the home site is down, please download from Softpedia :

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Internet/WEB-Design/Web-Design-related/Colo...

Color Archiver
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Support RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSL and HSV color spaces. Features include grabber, magnifier, color palette and mixer, color names, etc.
Slightly bigger interface.
2.4.0
148 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Win 98 to Vista

May require Microsoft VB6 runtimes files to be installed.

Color Selector
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Supports RGB, HSL, HSB/HSV, CMY, Hex and Decimal, includes color picker, 9x magnifier, color preview, mixer, configurable color sliders and a Darker slider with a converter built-in.
Palette tool shown in a separate window, user interface takes up some desktop space as well.
3.01.2
253 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
95/98/ME/XP and NT4/2000
CPick
3.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Support Hex, Decimal, RGB or HSV value, adjust color with slide bars, click and drag, magnifier, color lists, save image as icon or Bitmap.
CMYK color space not supported, slightly larger interface but collapsible.
2.6
274 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows
Just Color Picker
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Supports RGB, HTML Hex and HSB/HSV/HSL color codes, save picked colors in text files.
Use hot keys to grab colors.
3
527 KB
32 bit but 64 bit compatible
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Win 2000-Win 7
ColorMania
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Supports CMYK in addition to RGB and Hex codes in various modes. Features include color grabber, magnifier, mixer and sliders, color palette, predefined HTML colors.
Take up slightly larger desktop area, no modules are collapsible.
2.7
670 KB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Win 2000-Vista
Pixeur
3
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Support CMYK, RGB, HSB and Hex color values. Features include color grabber, magnifier, color mixer, color scheme, slider, etc.
Take up relatively larger desktop area.
3.1.0.3
1.4 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Win 98-Vista
gcolor2
2.5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Open Source, a quick and easy way to pick a color, supports HSV, RGB and HTML codes with an opacity slider, color grabber, allows for naming and saving picked colors.
No magnifier is supported.
http://gcolor2.sourceforge.net/
0.4
1.5 MB
Open source freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Linux

 
Editor

This category is maintained by volunteer editor Jojo Yee. Registered members can contact the editor with comments or suggestions by clicking here.
You can visit the Google+ profile page of Jojo Yee here.

 
Tags

color picker, screen color picker, onscreen color picker, color pick, color cop, color archiver, color puller, freeware, free color picker, colour picker, colour selector, colour grabber

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Comments

by Wowo on 15. April 2013 - 19:51  (107124)

Color comes in 3 dimensions, red, green, and blue. Hence, color is best visualized in 3d. It allows for a common sense visualization throughout the spectrum.

http://www.technologicalutopia.com/colorpicker.htm

by Julie Lawrence on 11. February 2013 - 1:41  (105289)

I just installed ColorCop using the given download link. It may NOT have been this, but as soon as I installed it (along with saying no to some crap toolbar it tried to sneak in there), some malware began running on my PC, called PC Performer (doing a fake registry scam which I couldn't stop), as well as taking me to http [COLON] //www [DOT] speedanalysis [DOT] com/?cid=3883 and running that. I stopped the latter, and managed to uninstall the former, but I'm not impressed. Anyone else have this problem??

ta,
Julie

by Anupam on 11. February 2013 - 8:17  (105294)

Did you download ColorCop from Softonic? That download from Softonic provides their own downloader, which must be the cause for the extra stuff in the download. Try downloading the software from the home site of the software itself, which should be clean. We will soon change the download link in the article to the download page of the home site.

Sorry for the trouble caused, and thanks for pointing this out.

by Julie Lawrence on 11. February 2013 - 9:24  (105298)

Thanks so much for the reply ... yes, downloaded from Softonic, grr.

And sorry, I didn't mean for YOU to be sorry!! I just wanted to let everyone know :)

Thanks again,
Julie

by Anupam on 11. February 2013 - 9:32  (105300)

Well, an apology is necessary, because the Softonic link should not have been there. We try out best to keep the users safe from any such bad links, but this one was missed, because the editor is heavily busy these days.

CNET and Softonic have started wrapping the installers with their own download programs, and so we have put into force a policy to remove links to them on the site. We have removed them from most reviews, but we might have missed some, like in this one.

So, thanks to you for alerting us, and I hope you did not have any major problems on your system. The links in the review have now been updated.

For alternate downloads, Softpedia is a good download site.

by Julie Lawrence on 11. February 2013 - 9:55  (105301)

I am awesomely grateful to this site. I've used it for at least 10 years, never install *anything* without checking here first. So thank you for all your hard work!!!

cheers,
Julie

by Anupam on 11. February 2013 - 10:41  (105303)

Thank you for the kind appreciation :).

by Harry Hall (not verified) on 25. October 2012 - 12:07  (101331)

Any of these that convert to CMYK are totally inaccurate, none of them give a correct conversion. BEWARE. A skin sample that should read 12/47/28/1 actually reads 0/22/22/22. This is so far wrong as to be useless. RGB values appear correct, it's the conversion that's wrong. There are actually so many different LUTs for converting RGB to CMYK that, if this is to be taken seriously, it should define which profiles are used. A general SWOP coated profile would probably be the most use but ideally a choice, or the ability to load your desired profile.

PIXEUR, COLOR ARCHIVER and COLOR MANIA all tried and are equally incorrect.

by TwitterGfxPl (not verified) on 22. February 2012 - 16:09  (89255)

New brand on the network: http[COLON]//tembolab[DOT]pl/products/color-express.html (freeware)

by Anupam on 22. February 2012 - 16:24  (89257)

Sorry, I have obfuscated the link, as we generally do not allow links to non-English site.

It seems like you might be the author of the program. If yes, could you provide an English version of your site? And although, the program's interface is in English, which is good, but the license agreement is non-English. That should be in English too, for the English speaking users to know the terms of the agreement.

by janz (not verified) on 6. December 2011 - 17:22  (84518)

Great list!
I also found this http://www.colorfunc.com
It has a bunch of different color pickers and color wheels that you can use together at one time,
pretty cool stuff
Keep up the great work!

by Mario Bozeglav (not verified) on 14. September 2011 - 15:18  (79599)

check this: http://www.picpick.org/

by Gear (not verified) on 3. May 2011 - 7:45  (71333)

I use Just Color Picker. It looks like it's smaller and simpler than many of the colorpickers, however it has lots of very useful functions and features. Also, Just Color Picker has a very pleasant interface and is very easy to learn how to use it.

P.S. The latest version of Just Color Picker is 2.5

by Jojo Yee on 3. May 2011 - 9:47  (71341)

Thanks for the info Gear and updated in the review.

by bypasser (not verified) on 2. September 2011 - 8:20  (78868)

Just Color Picker v2.6 is available. Awesome little app, as usual!

by AnotherNewOne (not verified) on 18. October 2012 - 9:18  (100975)

Version 3.0 has been released. Love the new text tool.

by szymon (not verified) on 21. March 2011 - 6:09  (68236)

A disadvantage to me:
Color Archiver doesn't work in 64bit Win7, missing some 32bit library. Compatibility mode doesn't help.

by Gaucho (not verified) on 18. January 2011 - 16:24  (64789)

Another really, really good color picker is ColorinHTML.com It generates hex codes and HTML CSS for your color theme. You can compare colors by locking them into place. Pretty cool tool if you want a quick theme maker for your site. Just copy the CSS when you are done with your theme.

by George on 19. October 2010 - 12:29  (59737)

Btw., PicPick - our Top Pick Screen Capture tool - also has a color picker built in. It's pretty basic but it's there.

by farhan (not verified) on 4. September 2010 - 4:00  (57239)

thanks

by Anonymous on 1. May 2010 - 9:32  (48887)

I think there is one easy-to-use color picker missing, it is called the Pipette:
http://www.sttmedia.com/pipette

by Anonymous on 25. June 2010 - 5:00  (53078)

Hmmm, at first I didn't know how to pick a color from the screen with Pipette, no grabber.

Then I learned I needed to click and hold down the Pipette button and move to pick a color on the screen, but the color list showed all the colors being picked up along the path of moving until the button is released. Why a simple task to just pick a color made more difficult by the program?

by Anonymous on 28. April 2010 - 8:49  (48626)
by Anonymous on 19. March 2010 - 16:01  (45816)

Just Color Picker - what a great little program, brilliant! I have been looking for such a program for some time and tried most of them, quite simply Just Color Picker is the best.

by Anonymous on 18. March 2010 - 9:36  (45742)

If you use firefox a lot then there is a great addon for color picking which i use frequently in web development.

http://www.colorzilla.com/firefox/

by Anonymous on 15. December 2009 - 21:23  (38748)

Color Selector 3.0 - Been using it now for 5 years, since '04.
http://colorselector.sourceforge.net/

by Anonymous on 9. December 2009 - 2:31  (38112)

Thank you ever so much for pointing the Just Color Picker out! It is sooo much like what I need :o)

by Anonymous on 4. February 2010 - 14:18  (42776)

Yep! This one turned out to be my favorite too. Many thanks to the author of Just Color Picker and to this site for helping to find it. By the way, it looks like Just Color Picker v 2.4 has just been published.

by Anonymous on 12. October 2009 - 22:07  (34464)

Well guys...I really don't use this one but it's quite powerfull:
http://picpick.wiziple.net/
It at least should be mentioned in this section...

by Jojo Yee on 4. December 2009 - 1:46  (37796)

PicPick is now included and reviewed in our another category Best Free All-In-One Design Tools.

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