Time Saving Tuesday

Being a web developer I heavily rely on using a variety of colors in my designs. A tool that has always come in handy for me are color pickers. There are so many different color pickers available that I thought it may prove useful to outline some of my favorites for Windows. Don’t worry… they are all free!

First off I wanted to begin by saying that the tools we’re going to cover are system-wide color pickers, and not specific to any one application. For example, image editors often have their own color pickers available, and there is even an extension available for Firefox that works within the browser. The three programs below, however, will work in any application within Windows.

–ColorPic (Homepage)–

Of the three programs ColorPic is probably the most powerful of them all. It has a lot of different options available for putting together color palettes, which is especially handy when doing web design work. Here are some of my favorite features:

  • Colors are shown in hex and decimal
  • Adjust Hue, Saturation, Value, Red, Green and Blue values
  • Save colors to the “chips” section by pressing Control+G
  • Determine an average/sample color for a 3×3 or 5×5 pixel area
  • Nudge the color selector by 1 pixel in any direction using the arrow keys
  • Zoom in or out on the preview
  • Snap to websafe colors
  • Overlay a grid for quick color picker alignment

(Click to Enlarge)

–Color Cop (Homepage)–

The thing that really makes Color Cop unique is that it has a no-install version available. That means you can throw it on your USB drive and carry it with you from one Windows computer to another without any hassle. Aside from that the interface is extremely simple and only shows the information that you need.

Here are some of Color Cop’s best features:

  • No-install version available
  • Clean interface with many of the options hidden away in the context menu (right-click anywhere in the program for advanced configuration settings)
  • Can auto copy Hex value to clipboard
  • Determine an average/sample color for a 3×3 or 5×5 pixel area
  • Snap to websafe colors
  • Color history
  • Color code support for HTML Hex, Delphi Hex, PowerBuilder, Visual Basic Hex, and Visual C++ Hex
  • Separate screen magnifier

color cop 

–ColorMania (Homepage)–

One of the reasons you might be playing around with colors in the first place is to see what they would look like as a background to some text. ColorMania has got that covered! In the upper-left corner of the program you’ll find the currently selected color as the background, and some text placed over top of it. You can change the size, color, and style of the text to almost anything you want thereby giving you an accurate preview.

Here are some of the other features in ColorMania:

  • Invert your color choice
  • Shows the screen coordinates of the color picker
  • Color code support for HTML Hex, Delphi Hex, VB Hex, C++ Hex, RGB values, RGB %values, HSV (HSB) CMY, CMYK, and Photoshop
  • Adjust Hue, Saturation, Value, Red, Green and Blue values
  • Zoom in or out on the preview


–Free Online Tools–

Once you’ve used the color pickers to get the color you desire it is time to starting having fun with it. Personally there are four different tools that I use on a regular basis for that:

  • ColorBlender – This will provide a 6-color matching palette for any color.
  • Color Schemer Online – Creates a large palette of matching colors, and gives you the option to lighten or darken the color scheme in a single click.
  • ColorJack – A color-rich sphere selection utility that offers a variety of options for exporting your scheme.
  • Color Scheme Chooser – A great way to find colors that are complimentary, monochromatic, analogic, and more.


As you can see there are quite a few different tools out there for grabbing and manipulating colors on your PC. If one of your favorites wasn’t mentioned here be sure to post it in the comments below!