MacMost Now 737: The Color Picker

The Color Picker is a small window that appears in many Mac applications. You can use it to choose a color in many different ways. You can also save your favorite colors to slots. Those favorites will then appear in any app that uses the Color Picker.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 737: The Color Picker.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at the Color Picker.

So the Color Picker is this specialized control panel that allows you to simply choose a color. Now you see color picker in many different applications. That's because it is part of the Mac OS10 Developer Kit. So basically developers who want a lighter color for some reason can simply say bring up the color picker and get the result of that. So different applications are going to show the same color picker even if they are made by different developers and have different functions.

So for instance here is the TextEdit and I have selected some text. Of course I can set the color very easily by using the tool bar here. But I can also use the color picker. I can go to Format, Font, and then Show Colors.

Now this is where it appears in TextEdit. It doesn't mean that it will appear this way in other applications. You might find it in other menus and settings and buttons. But they all bring up this window here which is the Color Picker.

So now that I have the Color Picker up I can simply select a color. I am faced here with a color wheel and say if I wanted to select red as the color of that text I can simply click in there where the red area is and color the text red. I can click on blue, I can click on kind of a light blue there and a light purple. Anywhere I want in here. As a matter of fact I can click and drag around to change the color.

I can also work on kind of the intensity of it over here by dragging the slider and making the entire circle darker or lighter. So this is the lightest color and this takes everything to black. So I have complete control over the color using this wheel and this slider.

Another cool thing that I can do is that I can click on this magnifying glass here and then pick a color I see elsewhere on the screen. So for instance if I wanted to use the same grey here in the toolbar, I can simply click there and bring up the magnifying glass, click again, and I can change to that color. It is much more useful when you are actually editing images and you want to pick a color from another part of the image.

Now the color wheel is not your only option in the Color Picker. You have several different ways to choose a color. So let's look at the second one and you get a different set of Sliders depending upon your settings. You have the Gray Scale Slider to choose a level of grey, you've got the RGB Sliders and you can choose the levels based on red, green and blue. You can even enter in numbers here from zero to 255 as you create an exact color. CMYK Slider is something used in the print world, cyan, magenta, yellow and black other than red, green and blue. You can also do hue, saturation and brightness setting the hue first, then the saturation and brightness to pick a color that way.

Now you can also make this lock to a certain palette if you want. This is a little more geeky here but say if I set something up here, I can say I want to make sure it is a part of the NTSC pallet from 1953 and it will lock it to that position. So you have that option.

You can also click here and choose from colors by name. You have different palettes here. For instance Crayons or the Apple palette. Then you can search by name here. In addition to that you can create a new color and name it whatever you want and then alter that color so this is that green that I had select. I go back to the color wheel here and create an orange, burnt orange there and then go back here and add that one as well. So you can add your favorites to an unnamed palette there.

You can also pick web colors here by their hexadecimal values. So you have a lot of different ways to pick here.

You can also go to this image here and be able to pick from this Spectrum. You can actually paste in your own image to use to select colors.

Finally, you've got the crayons where you can select from these different crayons and they have the color of crayons here and that is also very useful.

Now another thing you can do is that you can save your favorite colors. So for instance say this red here is the red I want to use in this document and other documents and images. It's part of my project. This may be the primary color. I want to not have to select this exact location every time I want to pick that color. I can save it to a slot here below by simply dragging from the top and it gives this little chip of color that I can drag and put into a slot here. Now I can change the color to something else but click in that slot and it will switch it back. So I can actually select some other text and click that slot and it will change it to that.

These favorites are saved across applications. So say for instance if I would go into changes and I can bring up the Color Picker in Pages as I have here. It is under View and Hide Colors right there. You can see there is the favorite right there. I can click on it and select that color so I can change this text here to that red. Likewise I can even go into a third party application like Pixelmator here. I can click on color to bring up the Color Picker there. You can see it and select that chip right there to set the color to that.

So there's a look at Color Picker.

I hope you found this useful. This is Gary at MacMost Now.

Comments: 10 Responses to “MacMost Now 737: The Color Picker”

    Shirley Allan
    7 years ago

    Why go all the way to the menu in two places Format>Font>Show colors in TextEdit? Just use the tool bar and choose Show Colors below the checkerboard colors. You’re using the long way round.

      7 years ago

      You can do it that way, sure. You can also use the keyboard shortcut to be even quicker.

    Ray Alston
    7 years ago

    Hi Gary, a very useful guide … as usual!
    Those colour picker favourites…. is it possible to them?

      Ray Alston
      7 years ago

      Forgot to ask … is it possible to delete them?

        7 years ago

        Replace it with white.

          Ray Alston
          7 years ago

          Now why didn’t I think of that? Many thanks, Gary.

    7 years ago

    Hi Gary, Mandarin language lessons. Using a Text Edit document to store colloquial sayings/sentences to build up vocab.
    would like all sentences (e.g. that’s right – meicuor 没错~~) to be
    in Times New Roman – regular – 18
    some i build myself > some come from the chinese lessons podcast /discussions section that i copy and paste but in different fonts and sizes > then i manually change.
    can you suggest a better way and possibly use color picker for the 2nd section (call pinyin) in a color.

      7 years ago

      I’m not quite sure what you are asking. I have no experience using non-Latin fonts in word processing so I don’t think I can be of much help.

    7 years ago

    sorry for my ambiguous question Gary.

    when i paste an english sentence with the chinese translation (as above) into my text edit document i would like the font/style /size to be >times new roman /regular/ 18 by default.

    some sentences i ‘paste’ from different language podcasts usually come in various font/style and sizes. i also would like to add a (default)color for part of the chinese translation

    i thought ‘color picker’ could be use and a text edit set-up you could suggest to save me a lot of cliking steps.

      7 years ago

      The Color Picker is for colors. What you want is the Font inspector. Command+T in TextEdit. There you can save a “favorite” font style and use that in your case. But also you might like the “Paste And Match Style” function in the Edit menu.

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