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Hex Color Dropper
January 14, 2004 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a lightweight, very quick utility that will give me the hex color code for any spot on the screen? (more inside)

I'm building a huge database of website color schemes, and my current system (sampling screenshots in PSP) is just too slow. I need something that moves quickly (a tiny dialog window and an eyedropper would be ideal), and I'd prefer to sample directly from the browser window. Any suggestions?
posted by oissubke to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
SLUGS* (Simple Little Utility for Generating Schemes) it will allow you to select any colour on the screen with a Photoshop-esque eye dropper tool, as well as offer a palette of complimentary colours and shades. I loves it, I don't do design without it.

*The official open source site seems to be down, so this is a backup.
posted by nelleish at 7:52 PM on January 14, 2004


BK Colour Coder is pretty cool also (free). It's more website oriented though, as it generates HTML code in addition to hex.
posted by ALongDecember at 8:15 PM on January 14, 2004


I assume you're using a PC, not a Mac — but if you're running OS X you have one pre-installed. Look for "DigitalColor Meter" in Applications:Utilities.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:46 PM on January 14, 2004 [1 favorite]


Check this thread.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:38 PM on January 14, 2004


I downloaded something very much like that at ravenblack.net a while back--look around in the Software section.
posted by casarkos at 9:39 PM on January 14, 2004


ColorPic is my fave.
posted by gramcracker at 10:27 PM on January 14, 2004


I tried out all the recommendations, and ColorPic (by Iconico via gramcracker) is the winner. Excellent tool. Thanks everyone!
posted by oissubke at 6:09 AM on January 15, 2004


I mentioned Pixie in that other thread and still think it's the best for the job. (and free)
posted by soplerfo at 6:57 AM on January 15, 2004


Pixie was the nearest runner up, I think, but ColorPic happened to have some bonus features that worked very well for my particular project.
posted by oissubke at 8:36 AM on January 15, 2004


Side question: Is there any way I can get the color of a link before the :hover color comes into effect?
posted by oissubke at 9:08 AM on January 15, 2004


(Very parenthetical: can't you just grab the css and html source and parse them for the colors? That would certainly solve the :hover problem)
posted by neustile at 9:33 AM on January 15, 2004


neustile, that's how I started out. The problem is that I'm trying to do this for several hundred (or possibly thousands of) websites, and that would get very time-consuming.

The slightly faster method I found was to take screenshots and pull the colors right off the screen. This was much quicker than hunting down the colors through HTML or CSS code, but still wasn't quite fast enough.

That's why I needed a little eyedropper utility, but the problem is that it's based on mouse position, so the link colors change when I mouseover them. If I could just get an eyedropper that was offset by 10px...!!
posted by oissubke at 9:39 AM on January 15, 2004


Given that different platforms render colors differently, don't you risk getting "innaccurate" colors by sampling from the screen?

If I code something as #33AAEE (or at least, if I create a graphic using that color), and then take a screenshot and eyedrop the color, it might appear as #35A0EF (or something). Or am I just imagining this phenomenon?

Or does it not matter for your purposes?
posted by jpoulos at 11:29 AM on January 15, 2004


I don't have a Windows box in front of me, but I wonder if you could open a dialog box in the browser, and move it off to the side so it's not in front of the links you're concerned with, and then maybe the hovering wouldn't kick in?

(As a side note, this isn't an issue on the Mac, because, as this article goes into in more detail than you probably want, browsers don't do "pervasive click-through"—links aren't active except in the frontmost window.)
posted by staggernation at 11:34 AM on January 15, 2004


Or am I just imagining this phenomenon?

I could see where that would happen in certain circumstances, but generally speaking, if you take a snap of #336699 and eyedrop the snap, you'll get #336699. However, you might run into problems on low-res monitors, or screenshots saved as jpegs, etc.

I don't have a Windows box in front of me, but I wonder if you could open a dialog box in the browser, and move it off to the side so it's not in front of the links you're concerned with, and then maybe the hovering wouldn't kick in?

Tried it. No luck with IE, but I think I'll try it with Opera, Moz, etc., to see if they work any better.
posted by oissubke at 12:13 PM on January 15, 2004


It is kind of a hassle but:

1) Open Colorpic.

2) Open Magnifying Glass in Accessories.

3) Uncheck the follow mouse option in Magnifying Glass.

4) Use the arrows to move the Magnifying Glass field of view to the links you want.

5) Select the Colorpic window.

6) Grab the colors from the magnified field of view - they do not change color there.

Note: I tried this on one of my websites where the link color was 666666. When I grabbed it, however, the color displayed in colorpic was 636563 so it seems that jpoulos was not imagining this phenomenon. :)
posted by cup at 8:28 PM on January 15, 2004


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