How-To Geek

Select Colors from Anywhere on the Screen with Instant Eyedropper

As a programmer and a fairly terrible web designer, I often need to select a color from an image somewhere on the screen, and it gets really tiring to take a screenshot, paste into Photoshop and use the eyedropper there.

There’s a small utility called Instant Eyedropper that runs in your system tray and will let you easily select a color from anywhere on the screen.

Just click on the icon in the system tray and Hold down the mouse button… you’ll see a little selector window as you move your mouse around the screen. Releasing the mouse button will copy that color to the clipboard.


The right-click menu for the tray icon will let you choose between a whole bunch of formats… mostly useful for programmers or professional designers.


The Options dialog will let you choose from a number of different color formats, as well as change the resolution of the selector window.


The biggest problem with this application is that there’s no keyboard shortcut… perhaps one of the readers can suggest a tool that includes one.

Download Instant Eyedropper from

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/22/08

Comments (4)

  1. Jon Randahl

    Just a little thought, from a validation happy web developer (or at least as much as the browsers will let me be!) please choose the lowercase settings as attribute values in caps can break your doctype depending on which you use; as could tags in caps, attributes themselves in caps, virtually anything that isn’t just plain olde text in caps might possibly invalidate your page!

    Just my two pence!

    Cheers for the info! Will be looking into this one!

  2. Ayush
  3. Syahid A.

    Nice app Mr Geek. I use Pixie to accomplish this. Very, i mean very, lightweight indeed.

  4. webjay

    As Ayush posted, I use ColorPic as well. One of the features I like about it is that you can use the arrow keys to move the cursor and easily hone in on the exact pixel you want to capture.

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