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I am no webmaster by any stretch of the imagination, yet there are times in the course of my work where I need to be able to match the color of something on my screen to a project that I am working on.

There are several ways that I know of to do that. The first is to open up a program and seek out its color matching dialogue and apply what I call the “gosh, that looks close enough!” method to pick out a color. Another way is to copy the item that has the color I want by hitting “Print Screen” and then opening Paint, pasting in the item from the clip board, zooming in on it and then use the ‘Pick Color’ tool. At that point I can copy down the HEX code and I am good to go.

Obviously the first method is not very exact, and the second method requires a number of steps. If you need to do this a few times a day, one heck of a lot of time gets wasted!

So, to my great delight, Instant Eyedropper reduces all of that to one click, for free!

Instant Eyedropper Home Page

Once you install the free download, a new icon appears in the system tray that looks like this:



To use the tool you simply left click on the icon and then drag the mouse to the color that you want and voila! The hex code appears in the tool window. Release the mouse button and the code is now in your clipboard. Now you can return to your project and using the PhotoShop (or another graphics program) color picker tool, just drop in the code and you are done. You’ll have the exact color match.

A simple set of options is available if you right click the icon.

Options Dialog box

As you can see, you can choose from HTML, Hex, Delphi Hex, VB Hex, RGB and HSB formats.

I think that this is a really great time saver and you sure can’t beat the price!

Do you know of any other similar color tools?

(By) Jerry Kidd is a California Real Estate Broker, blogger, educator and author of RealtyTechBytes

  1. Mackenzie
    August 25, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    HTML and Hex are *both* options? Why? It's the same thing...

    • RustyH
      April 2, 2009 at 10:23 am

      HEX does not include the # and HTML allows you to pick the option of # or not, caps or not.

  2. dgsinclair
    August 25, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Third vote for colorzilla, although you are right, it only works in the browser. If Instant Eyedropper works anywhere on the desktop, that's cool.

  3. Karl L. Gechlik
    August 25, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Awesome find! This will keep my PS closed a lot more!! Thanks.

  4. jk
    August 25, 2008 at 6:00 am Pixie :)

  5. Rarst
    August 24, 2008 at 1:01 am

    I use FasStone Capture (old freeware versions) for screenshoting and it has color-picker as well. Not very functional one but enough for my needs.

  6. Jerry Kidd
    August 23, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks for the tip about Colorzilla. I have to use IE7 about half the time so the Colorzilla tip will come in handy when I am working with Firefox.

    But, if you aren't using a browser, then InstantEyeDropper is the go to tool. It seems to work with whatever is on the screen, browser, application or whatever.


  7. Chuck
    August 23, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Now, y'see...that's just ridiculously convenient.

    No more launching Photoshop every time I have to find a color.

    • Aibek
      August 25, 2008 at 8:08 am

      LOL! Same thing here, every time I need to get the hex value for the color I launch Photoshop.

      Not anymore though :-)

  8. Andrew
    August 23, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    I second the vote for ColorZilla -- simple, great, free.

  9. Mark O'Neill
    August 23, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    I use a Firefox extension called Colorzilla which pretty much does the same thing. You point it at a color on a webpage and it tells you the HEX values. It's one of my must-have extensions.

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