System Color Picker
System Color Picker is a FREE macOS utility that provides users the ability to find color values anywhere on their screen by using the selector tool from the app. The selector identifies the color and records the value so the user can paste it somewhere else. It's a very easy-to-use app and it is very useful.
- EASE OF USE
The perfect color picker utility for your Mac
Recently we did a complete overhaul of MacSources.com. We switched hosting providers switched to a brand new website layout, and completely revamped our branding. Because of this, we needed new social media images that went along with our new branding style and color scheme. This led to us having to open up Photoshop multiple times to use the color picker tool or reference the text file that we made with all of the color value codes.
This meant we needed to switch back and forth between apps many times just to make sure we had the right color codes. Needless to say, we could have had a much simpler solution to this by just installing System Color Picker.
System Color Picker is a nicely designed utility app for macOS that lives in your menu bar. It was developed by Sindre Sorhus who is a full-time open-source developer from Thailand. He focuses on macOS app development with Swift and Node.js-based packages and CLI Tools. This app was built with Defaults, Regex, KeyboardShortcuts, and LaunchatLogin – all designed by Sorhus.
According to the readme file on github, the built-in color picker also supports the following plug-ins: Scala Color, Pro Picker, Material Design, and Color Picker Plus.
- Quickly copy, paste, and convert colors in Hex, HSL, RGB, LCH format
- Show as a normal app or in the menu bar
- Pick a color or toggle the window from anywhere with a global keyboard shortcut
- Make the window stay on top of all other windows
- Launch it at login (when in the menu bar)
- Shows recently picked colors
- Shortcuts support
- Hide menu bar icon
My journey with System Color Picker began by downloading it from the Mac App Store. After clicking on ‘get,’ the app downloaded within about 10 seconds. When it first opens you will see a screen that has the following message:
Welcome to Color Picker!
If you have any feedback, bug reports, or feature requests, use the feedback button in the “Help” menu. I quickly respond to all submissions.
There’s often not enough info in an app review to fix a bug and I cannot easily ask for more info there.
Known issue: The color picker can in some obscure situations crash when interacting with the palette at the bottom. This crash is caused by a bug in macOS and it out of my control.
Once you click the “Get Started” button at the bottom of this screen, the app will open up with its color picker window. With the window open, there is a standard set of application menus in the menu bar. From the File menu, select Preferences. This is where you can really make the app your own personal assistant for finding color values.
I immediately selected the “Show in the menu bar instead of dock” option and told the app to launch at login. In my opinion, the drop-down menu from the menu bar is sufficient for my needs. I really like the ability to find different color values through the color picker window, but since my main use is finding colors using the dropper-style tool, the menu bar is the way to go for me. I also set a shortcut so that I could quickly reveal the color picker tool.
Preferences also allows users to select different color options such as your preferred color format. I decided on Hex and preferred to have mine set as uppercase. I also decided to only have the Hex and RGB values shown. After you have your preferences set, you are ready to just use the Color Picker when you need it.
System Color Picker is a solid utility that has been able to correctly get the color of everything we have thrown at it. I love the fact that it’s written with open source code and it can be viewed at any time. It doesn’t require any sketchy system security changes to record the screen to do its job like some other utilities in the App Store.
Back in the day, I used to design business cards, flyers, and all sorts of graphic-heavy materials. I also did quite a bit of web design and since UI/UX was part of my job, I looked up color values frequently. My process back then was tedious. I opened the clunky Photoshop copy I had (this was before Creative Cloud was an option), waited for it to load, checked the color, closed Photoshop, and guess what? Two minutes later I would be doing the same thing again for the same color because the code wasn’t saved anywhere. It was mind-numbing. Having a tool like System Color Picker would have made my job much easier.
After you’ve recorded a color value using the selector tool, you can click on it in the menu bar drop-down. This copies the color value to your clipboard, which you can then paste into any location you need. Since this function utilizes your clipboard, I have actually rolled Color Picker into a workflow using PastePal, my clipboard manager. It’s amazing.
System Color Picker will live in my menu bar as long as its developer keeps on pushing updates to it. Looking at the version history, the developer does a good job of keeping the app up to date with the last update happening on April 9, 2022. I am still in shock this Mac App is FREE. I know I shouldn’t be this happy for a color picker app but when you have played open-and-close Photoshop games as much as I have, this utility is a game-changer.
I would love to see if an iOS app could be created to pick colors and share the data via iCloud to my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. Being able to open the camera app on my phone snap the color of any image or item and share it back to the Mac would be outstanding. That is something that does not affect how well this Mac app works and is certainly not a deal-breaker, it’s just something I hope the developer considers at some point. All in all, it seems to be a very lightweight Mac app that is designed to work and stay out of the way. I really love that it’s not trying to overload you.