System-wide colour picker added to Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10

Colour picker settings in PowerToys for Windows 10

Last year I tested out the new Microsoft PowerToys for Windows 10 and liked what I saw.

One of my favourite additions since then is a system-wide colour picker utility that enables you to pick colours from any currently running application (including Windows itself) and automatically copies it in a configurable format to your clipboard.

With PowerToys running and Color Picker (sic) enabled, press Win + Shift + C.

A floating dialog follows your mouse pointer, the values changing to reflect the colour beneath the pointer.

Left click your mouse to select the colour and the colour picker utility results window shows. Mine is set to show both hex and RGB colour codes, but many other options are available (currently HSL, HSV, CMYK, HSB, HSI, HWB, NCol).

Colour picker results

The left-hand panel shows a history of previously selected colours.

This is a very welcome addition and I expect the utility that I will use most. It saves me from needing to capture a screenshot, open Corel PaintShop Pro, paste in the screenshot, select the colour picker, select the colour, open the colour selection dialog, copy the values and then sometimes convert those to whatever format I want. Thank you Microsoft.

Currently there are two limitations:

  1. Color picker can’t be displayed on top of the start menu or action center (you can still pick a color).
  2. If the currently focused application was started with an administrator elevation (Run as administrator), the Color Picker activation shortcut will not work, unless PowerToys was also started with an administrator elevation.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 50 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Sky. Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and former warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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