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The 6 best color picking tools for Linux

A color picker (or color palette) is a specialized program that scans your desktop and helps you identify any color, for use in graphic design programs like Photoshop, Gimp, Inkscape, and others. There are quite a few color picking tools for Linux that you can use but if you’re new to the platform, you may not know which one to use. To cut through the noise, we’ve made a list of the best color picking tools for Linux!

1. Gpick

Gpick is a chooser tool for the Linux desktop that works by reading the color of what the mouse is currently hovering over.

Unlike a lot of other color picking tools for Linux, Gpick is live-updating. This feature allows users to instantly see color codes as they move the mouse, rather than needing to click and choose manually.

Notable Features:

  • Gpick supports exporting and importing palette information from both Gimp and Adobe Swatch Exchange, CSS and others.
  • Detected colors in Gpick can be copied to the clipboard in multiple formats, like RGB, HEX, and HSL.
  • Can generate an entire color palette from a single image.
  • Able to mix and match multiple colors together.
  • Users can change the lightness of a chosen color, as well as its saturation from within Gpick.
  • Supports magnification to get a better look at the color you want to detect.
  • Allows users to control the mouse pointer with keyboard movement if desired.
  • Gpick automatically names colors, by using the “CIE94” color difference function. Something the developers claim is “closer to the way humans interpret color differences.”

Download – Gpick

The Gpick color picker supports most Linux distributions. To install it, grab a downloadable binary package from Pkgs.org.

2. KColorChooser

KColorChooser is a simple color picking application for the KDE Plasma desktop environment. Users can use the program to choose a color from anything currently on the screen, and add them to a palette for later use.

Notable Features:

  • Can detect color from anything shown on screen, with no limitations.
  • Aside from detecting colors, KColorChooser lets users generate custom ones within the color selection screen.
  • Generates a pasteable HTML color code.
  • Colors that the user detects with KColorChooser can be saved to the “custom colors” area, for later use. The custom section supports up to 16 colors.
  • Has about 50 “basic colors” to choose from.
  • Aside from HTML, colors can also be shown in HSV and RGB modes.

Download – KColorChooser

KcolorChooser is part of the KDE set of applications. If your Linux distribution has KDE, it should also have KColorChooser.

Can’t find it? Consult pkgs.org for a downloadable package.

3. Gcolor2

Gcolor2 lets users quickly grab the color from anything on the Linux desktop and save it to a file for later use.  Additionally, the app can modify selected colors and change hues and even opacity.

Notable Features:

  • Users can save detected screen colors, as well as custom colors generated with the color wheel inside of Gcolor2.
  • The  “saved colors” feature allows colors to be named custom names.
  • Simple, easy to use interface that is reminiscent of many color pickers on other platforms.
  • Detected and generated colors are shown in HTML format, a format that many graphic design tools use.
  • The color wheel in Gcolor2 has hue and saturation settings, RGB settings and an opacity slider.

Download – Gcolor2

Gcolor2 is supported by all of the major Linux operating systems. You can grab a copy for your OS of choice here.

4. Colorpicker

Are you a Linux artist or designer that prefers the terminal? If so, Color Picker may be the color detection tool for you!

Color Picker is a simple terminal application for detecting colors on the screen and generating an HTML code.

To detect colors, users run the “colorpicker” command. Soon after, the mouse turns into a cross, which can be used to click on any area of the screen. After clicking, the terminal outputs the color code of the screen selection.

Notable Features:

  • The “one-shot” feature lets users pick a color, then immediately close the program.
  • Color detection is shown in both HTML as well as RGB by default, and users can disable the RGB output with the “short” feature.
  • Colorpicker’s preview feature lets the user preview colors that the mouse hovers over without clicking, to prevent accidental clicking.

Download – Colorpicker

If you want to use the Colorpicker app on Linux, you can download the source code and compile it. There is also an AUR package available for those on Arch Linux.

5. Delicolour

Color picking tools aren’t just for artists! Web developers need color picking tools too! One of the best color picking tools for website developers is Delicolour.

Notable Features:

  • Users can generate colors with the color wheel.
  • All generated colors in Delicolour follow the standard HTML/RGB formats.
  • Delicolour can hold two colors at a time.
  • The app has an “intelligent” copy/paste feature that can remove the # symbol automatically.
  • Supports keyboard shortcuts, and the app doesn’t require the mouse to use it.
  • Users can save up to 16 colors in a custom color grid.

Download – Delicolour

To use Delicolour on Linux, you must build it from source. Grab the source code from the official GitHub page. Alternatively, if you use Arch Linux, use the AUR package.

6. Slickpicker

Need a dead-simple color picking application for Linux? Check out Slickpicker. It’s a program that, when launched as a command, opens up a color picking application that users can use to pick colors from items on-screen.

The Slickpicker application is built with Python-Qt and is ideal for artists or graphics designers on a bare-bones Linux system.

Notable Features:

  • When Slickpicker runs from the terminal, HTML and RGB tags for colors you choose are printed out.
  • Detected colors are instantly added to the color palate.
  • The Slickpicker tool, like many color choosing apps, comes with several color presets. Additionally, it has a section to save generated colors for later.

Download – Slickpicker

Slickpicker doesn’t have any packages available for installation, and major Linux distributions do not support it, so if you want to use it on Linux, building from source is required. Grab it here.

Conclusion

Having a color picker as an artist makes finding the perfect shade much faster. If you work with colors on Linux and need a good color picker, do yourself a favor and check out one of the apps on this list!

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