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How To Use The Color Picker In macOS As A Stand Alone App

macOS has a color picker utility. It’s been there for years but the way it’s incorporated in the OS, it seems like a feature that can only be accessed in select apps. For example, you can access the color picker from the Mail app but not from Safari. You can use the color picker in macOS as a stand alone app if you want. There’s a small trick to accessing it but nothing too complicated. Because the color picker has been part of macOS for years, this will work on just about any version of the OS that you might have running. We assume, at the very least, that this will work as far back as Snow Leopard.

Color Picker AppleScript

In order to use the color picker in macOS as a stand alone app, you need to access it via an Apple Script. Open the AppleScript app on your Mac. It’s in the Utilities folder. With the app open, enter the following;

choose color

That’s it. Now you have to save the script. Go to File>Save. Save the script as an application, and save it to the Applications folder. It’s best to name it Color Picker so that it’s easier to identify and access later but you’re free to name it anything else that might suit you.

Open Launchpad and you will see a new Apple script icon with the same name that you saved the script with. Click it to open the Color Picker.

Color Picker In macOS

The color picker in macOS has basic features; it supports web colors, CMYK, RGB and HEX, there’s a color wheel, a color spectrum, a color palette, and the crayon layout. You can explore colors with all these different layout. To actually pick a color off an image on your screen, click the eyedropper button at the very bottom next to the current color swatch. It will transform the cursor into a magnified lens. Click anywhere to pick the color.

While this script was saved as an application, it doesn’t have the properties that a typical macOS app has. You will notice this when you’re trying to exit the color picker and the Quit option on the dock icon won’t help. The close button likewise is inactive. In order to close the color picker, you have to tap the Escape key.

A part from this one quirk, the color picker works like any other app. If you have the time, you can change the icon of the AppleSript app you created and make the color picker in macOS easier to identify in the launchpad.

Leave a comment

  • AWilson

    Thank you for a very useful tip, been wanting this for a while. Still new to macOS.

  • Thanks for tip but there is no really need use this. You can use Digital Color meter, as like spotligh search; https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/49c90373b6877385e8de14c4490b7e917a824f1704b539a26fe79dd29f2d314f.png
    Digital color meter is the best choice.

    • Vitalik Dominichenko

      Seems like it’s impossible to copy value from there. But using this script you can.

    • thanks .

    • Andrey Radchishin

      This is not the same thing

  • Glyn Harrison

    Anyone else getting an error when trying to save?
    “The document “Untitled” could not be saved as “Color Picker”. (Error -5,000)”