Ever since I switched to Windows 7 some of my favorite programs stopped working, among which was Absolute Color Picker – a screen color picking application. I started looking for other color pickers that ran on Windows 7 without issues. For a while I used the color picker in PicPick tools. But I use Snagit for capturing screenshots and PicPick tools screen capture program clashed with Snagit. So I started looking again.
I tried a variety of color picking programs one after another. I found that there are innumerable color pickers to choose from but only a few has the features I want or is comfortable enough to use regularly. The ideal color picker, in my opinion, should have:
- a color mixer with controls for Hue/Saturation/Brightness
- a magnifier for precise color picking
- support Hex codes and preferably RGB and CMYK color codes
- color history
My choice also depends on how usable the program is. Some programs need the eyedropper to be dragged out of the program window and dropped on the screen to pick color. Others need a mouse click to capture the color, or key press or a combination of key press. While some are always in the ‘capture mode’ waiting for a color to be picked which is a kind of distracting.
Update: A new article is available where 4 more color pickers are reviewed. Read herehttp://www.instantfundas.com/2013/04/4-more-color-picker-software-for.html.
The Best Color Pickers
1. Pixeur is an impressive color picker and easily one of the best. But I may be biased because Pixeur looks and works exactly like Absolute Color Picker, a program that I have been using for years before I started looking for others. This program supports Hex, CMYK, HSB and RGB color codes. It has sliders to adjust hue, saturation and brightness. In addition to the sliders, the big color window facilitates finer color adjustments. It also has a color history, a magnifier showing individual pixels and an option to show only web safe colors.
2. ColorMania comes close with a number of strong features. It supports a huge number of color modes - in addition to the usual hex, CMYK and RGB modes it also displays color codes in C++ hex, Delphi hex, VB hex, HSB etc. It also has a drop down menu with HTML color codes along with their names. It has various sliders for adjusting RGB components and HSB. It can invert colors and save a color palette for later use. It’s magnifier zoom level is also adjustable up to 20x.
3. Just Color Picker is good too. It has a small interface that can be expanded to reveal the color mixer. It picks color in five different color formats: HTML, RGB, HEX, HSB/HSV, and HSL. The color is picked by the mouse and the color locked by a customizable hot key combination. A 3x, 9x and 15x magnifier helps precise picking of color from the screen. It has RGB and HSV color mixers and a history to save previously picked colors.
In addition, it has two harmonious color finders that generates a palette of complimentary or similar colors to the color you choose. This lets you find the best colors harmoniously matching with it.
Other Color Pickers
4. ColorSchemer ColorPix is for those who want just a color picker with no color mixer. ColorPix comprises of a single standalone executable file. It has a magnifier with magnification up to 28x and support hex, RGB, HSB and CMYK values. The color can be locked by pressing any key. It has no history or color adjusting feature and so useful only for a quick one-off job.
5. Color Cop also deserves mention for simplicity. It shows the RGB codes and hex color codes, has an array of empty palette where you can add colors for later use, and automatically generates a palette of 42 complimentary colors. Color Cop doesn’t have a color mixer of it’s own but can launch the default Windows color mixer from the program which is clever.
The drawback is that there is no CMYK support and the magnifier window doesn’t update while the mouse is in motion. Only when you stop the mouse, you get to see the magnified preview of the color under it.
Do you have a different favorite color picker? Share with us.