Select a color quickly? With Microsoft’s free PowerToys utility for Windows 10, you can instantly open a color picker with a keyboard shortcut and use your mouse cursor to identify any color on the screen in hex, RGB or HSL format. Here̵
Install PowerToys and enable Color Picker
To use Microsoft’s handy system-wide color picker, you must first download PowerToys from Microsoft’s website. You can find the latest release at the top of the download page linked above. D.Ownload an EXE file such as “PowerToysSetup-0.27.1-x64.exe” (the name will vary based on the latest release.) And run it.
After the installation process is complete, launch PowerToys Settings from your desktop or Start menu and click “Color Picker” in the sidebar. Next, make sure the “Enable Color Picker” switch is in the “On” position.
By default you use Windows + Shift + C to activate the color picker. You can change this hotkey on this screen to the desired hotkey if you want.
Then close PowerToys and get ready to grab some colors. The PowerToys Settings app does not need to be running for Color Picker to work.
RELATED: All PowerToys from Microsoft for Windows 10, explained
Activate Color Picker with a keyboard shortcut
Once Color Picker is enabled, you can use it at any time by pressing Windows + Shift + C (or whatever hotkey) on your keyboard. After you press the shortcut, you will see a small popup box next to your mouse cursor with a square preview of the color you are referring to and the hex code (often referred to as “hex” for short) for that color.
You can point your cursor at any color on the screen, including icons, applications, pictures, desktop wallpapers, the taskbar and more. If you want more information about the color, click the left mouse button while hovering over it and a window will pop up.
This window shows the hexadecimal color code, the RGB value (red, green, blue) and the HSL value (hue, saturation, lightness) of the color you have just selected. To copy one of those values (as a text string) to the clipboard, hover the mouse over it and click the “copy” icon that appears.
You can also adjust the color value you just selected in the Color Picker by clicking the center of the large color bar at the top of the window.
After clicking the color bar, you’ll see another screen with sliders that let you adjust the color with your mouse or by entering values with your keyboard.
When done, click “OK” and the color will be added to your saved color palette, the vertical column of boxes on the left side of the window. To delete a color from the palette on the side of the window, right-click on the color square and select ‘Delete’.
To exit this window and choose a different color, click the eyedropper icon in the top left corner of the window.
The details window will close and you can repeat the process by selecting any color you want.
To exit Color Picker at any time, press Escape on your keyboard or click anywhere to bring up the details window again and click the “X” button in the top right corner to close the window. When you need Color Picker again, just hit Windows + Shift + C wherever you are and you’ll be right back choosing colors.
It’s a colorful world, so have fun!