Color picker

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A screenshot of the GTK+ 2 color picker. GTK color chooser.png
A screenshot of the GTK+ 2 color picker.
A screenshot of the Qt color picker. Qt color chooser.png
A screenshot of the Qt color picker.
GIMP color picker. Gimp color selector 03.gif
GIMP color picker.

A color picker (also color chooser or color tool) is a graphical user interface widget, usually found within graphics software or online, used to select colors and sometimes to create color schemes. [1]



A color picker is used to select and adjust color values. In graphic design and image editing, users typically choose colors via an interface with a visual representation of a colororganized with quasi-perceptually-relevant hue, saturation and lightness dimensions (HSL) – instead of keying in alphanumeric text values. Because color appearance depends on comparison of neighboring colors (see color vision), many interfaces attempt to clarify the relationships between colors. When the tool is engaged on a color to pick, the color may also be changed from the original one selected with it.


Color tools can vary in their interface. Some may use sliders, buttons, text boxes for color values, or direct manipulation. Often a two dimensional square is used to create a range of color values (such as lightness and saturation) that can be clicked on or selected in some other manner. Drag and drop, color droppers, and various other forms of interfaces are commonly used as well.

Usually color values are also displayed numerically, so they can be precisely remembered and keyed-in later, such three values of 0-255 representing red, green, and blue, respectively.


A color picker has two main parts, first a color slider and second a color canvas. The color slider has a linear or radial gradient of the seven rainbow colors i.e. Violet, Indigo, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red. It allows you to choose any of the seven primary colors.

The color value chosen from the color slider instantly reflects in the color canvas. The color canvas is a mixture of two linear color gradients. First a linear gradient of the current chosen color and second a linear gradient of the black color. This mixture of color gradients lets you choose a lighter and darker version of the current chosen color from the color slider.

See also


  1. Feisner and Reed 2014, Chapter 5: "Digital Color Media and Technology", Glossary: "Color picker"

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