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I'm looking for a way to easily pick a color from anywhere on the screen in Mac OS X and get the value as a hex code (like #ACC782 ).

OS X has a built in system "color picker" and I found a standalone "app" that will just run that, but I don't see any way to get the hex code from it.

Firefox and Chrome both have "color picker" extensions but I'm looking for something that I can use on any application.

What can I use for that? It would be really nice if it automatically copied the value to the clipboard, but that may be asking too much :)

enter image description here

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  • You do realize that you didn't need to register a second account to answer your questions, but can simply answer them with your own account (like e.g. I do)?
    – Daniel Beck
    Dec 30, 2011 at 8:26
  • I asked a moderator about it; if you want, they could merge your accounts. There is no rule against answering your own questions. (Assuming you are haxie)
    – Daniel Beck
    Dec 30, 2011 at 8:55

4 Answers 4

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OS X comes with DigitalColor Meter:

Applications > Utilities > DigitalColor Meter.app

It has many options and preferences.

command+shift+c will copy the color under the cursor to the clipboard in many different formats.

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  • 32
    Just to add you can get the output in hex by going to View->Display values->Hexadecimal
    – donturner
    Jul 13, 2014 at 19:09
  • I tried command+shift+c but it does not copies the values in mountain lion. Update: We have to keep the DigitalColor Meter Selected, I would click on the image expecting the keys to copy the color.
    – pal4life
    Aug 8, 2014 at 20:53
  • @broom, Where did the color picker go to?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 12, 2017 at 7:33
  • @Pacerier Digital Color Meter is still available in macOS. I still see it in 10.15.4.
    – kas
    May 26, 2020 at 1:08
  • Wow this is so cool, it's still available for me as well. I didn't know MacOS came with this, they really did think of everything.
    – scorgn
    Mar 22, 2021 at 18:58
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The Mac OS X color picker is extensible.

Use Hex Color Picker to add a tab that provides you the configured color in hexadecimal RGB.

enter image description here

Just run e.g. TextEdit and press Cmd-Shift-C to open the color picker, or run your standalone program.


An even more versatile color picker is Developer Color Picker with many different output formats, one of which is hexadecimal.

enter image description here

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    Can they pick color under cursor?
    – qed
    Jul 18, 2014 at 15:56
  • @Daniel, I dun get it.. Why not just use mac DigitalColor?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 12, 2017 at 7:35
  • @Pacerier Because that's the option I was aware of and used at the time. Note that the latter has a number of additional features useful in many contexts you may want to use the color in.
    – Daniel Beck
    Oct 12, 2017 at 17:48
  • The Mac DCM doesn't seem to work on full screen apps...
    – Sergiu
    Jun 22, 2021 at 1:27
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This is easily done with AppleScript. A complete working example of code is available here.

enter image description here

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I know this is a super old post, but just thought I'd throw this one out there that I've been using for awhile: Sip. Works pretty sweet, and you can get a ton of different color options.

App Store Link: Sip

I have no affiliation with the developer, just think it's a cool little app. And it's Free! :-) Enjoy

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  • I dun get it..What can Sip do that DigitalColor cant?
    – Pacerier
    Oct 12, 2017 at 7:34
  • Granted... It works similar to DigitalColor. Where I've found differences is in the how the app functions over all. Sip for instance has a lot more options in terms of what it can capture the color as; NSColor RGB, HSB, OpenGL RGB, Swift NSColor, UIColor RGB, CSS Hex, Java RGB, Android XML etc... just to name a few (30+ options in total). Versus the six options that DC has. Personally, I also like the history palette that stores some of my recent color pics, and that it sits up in the menu bar tucked away neatly. Anyway, yeah, the both do (pretty much) the same thing. I just prefer Sip.
    – Drew
    Oct 12, 2017 at 16:05

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