Color Picker utility

A system-wide color picking utility for Windows that enables you to pick colors from any currently running application and can copy it in a configurable format to your clipboard.


Getting started


To start using Color Picker, enable it in the PowerToys Settings (Color Picker section).


Once enabled, you can choose one of the following three behaviors to be executed when launching Color Picker with the activation shortcut (default: Win+Shift+C).

ColorPicker behaviors.

  • Color Picker with editor mode enabled - Opens Color Picker. After selecting a color, the editor is opened and the selected color is copied to the clipboard (in the default format - configurable in the Settings dialog).
  • Editor - Opens editor directly, from here you can choose a color from the history, fine-tune a selected color, or capture a new color by opening the color picker.
  • Color Picker only - Opens Color Picker only and the selected color will be copied to the clipboard.

Select color

After the Color Picker is activated, hover your mouse cursor over the color you would like to copy and left-click the mouse button to select a color. If you want to see the area around your cursor in more detail, scroll up to zoom in.

The copied color will be stored in your clipboard in the format that is configured in the settings (default: HEX).

Selecting a Color.


To select the color of the non-hover state of a element:

  • Move the mouse pointer close, but not over the element
  • Zoom in by scrolling the mouse wheel up (image will be frozen)
  • In the enlarged area, you can pick the color of the element

Editor usage

The editor lets you see the history of picked colors (up to 20) and copy their representation in any predefined string format. You can configure which color formats are visible in the editor and in what order that they appear. This configuration can be found in PowerToys Settings.

The editor also allows you to fine-tune any picked color or get a new similar color. Editor suggests two lighter and two darker shades of the currently selected color. Selecting any of those alternative color shades will add the selection to the history of picked colors. It will appear at the top of the colors history list.

The color in the middle represents your currently selected color from the colors history. By clicking on it, the fine-tuning configuration control will appear, where you can change HSV or RGB values of the current color. Using the Select button will add the newly configured color into the colors history.

ColorPicker Editor window.

To remove any color from the colors history, right-click a color and select Remove.

To export the colors history, right-click a color and select Export. The exported values can be grouped by colors or formats.


Color Picker has following settings:

  • Activation shortcut
  • Behavior of activation shortcut
  • The default format of a copied color (HEX, RGB, etc.)
  • Show the name of the color. The shown color name will be a high-level representation of the color. Example: Light Green, Green, Dark Green.
  • Order and presence of color formats in the editor

ColorPicker Settings screenshot.

To reorder the colors, select the ... button on the right and select Move up or Move down.

To disable a color format, toggle the switch on the right. Disabled color formats are not deleted but also not shown in the Color Picker Editor window.

To delete a color format, select the button with the bin icon.

To edit a color format, select the button with the pencil icon. In the appearing window the name and the format can be modified.

To add a new color format, select Add custom color format.

Managing Color Formats

Color formats can be deleted or edited and new color formats can be added to the list. The syntax of the color formats is described in the color format editor window.

The following table contains the parameters, which can be used for defining a color format and their meaning:

Parameter Meaning
%Re red
%Gr green
%Bl blue
%Al alpha
%Cy cyan
%Ma maghenta
%Ye yellow
%Bk Black key
%Hu hue
%Si saturation (HSI)
%Sl saturation (HSL)
%Sb saturation (HSB)
%Br brightness
%In intensity
%Hn hue (natural)
%Ll lightness (natural)
%Lc lightness (CIE)
%Va value
%Wh whiteness
%Bn blackness
%Ca chromacity A
%Cb chromacity B
%Xv X value
%Yv Y value
%Zv Z value
%Dv decimal value
%Na color name

The red, green, blue and alpha values can be formatted to the following formats:

Formatter Meaning
b byte value (default)
h hex lowercase one digit
H hex uppercase one digit
x hex lowercase two digits
X hex uppercase two digits
f float with leading zero
F float without leading zero

For example %ReX means the red value in hex uppercase two digits format.

The color format may contain any words or characters that you prefer. For example, the default color format, which shows up on color format creation is: _'new Color (R = %Re, G = %Gr, B = %Bl)'_.


  • Color picker can't be displayed on top of the Start menu or Action Center (you can still pick a color).
  • If the currently-focused application was started with an administrator elevation (Run as administrator), the Color Picker activation shortcut will not work, unless PowerToys was also started with an administrator elevation.
  • Currently Wide Color Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR) color formats are not supported.