I love this little utility and use it all the time. Having tried most of the stuff out there I ended up with Color Cop for several reasons:
It’s light and fast – there’s no need to wait ages for it to load
It’s small, taking up minimal screen room
It’s very easy to use and has an almost zero learning curve
It does exactly what I want it to do and no more – which is to pick a color from the screen and display the Hex code for it (though there are a few other options as well).
It has the Windows color picker integrated into it which I love for its ease of use – particularly when it comes to lightening or darkening colors.
It has an option to always stay on top of other applications.
Oh – and it’s free.
Downloading it’s easy – you can do it here
Once it’s downloaded (and unzipped if necessary) then right-click on ColorCop.exe, click ‘Send to desktop’ and drag the desktop icon into the bottom taskbar. Clicking on the icon will start Color Cop.
What you’ll then see is the Color Cop window with an eyedropper icon.
Click on that eyedropper and drag it across the page. As it goes over different colors those colors are shown towards the top of the Color Cop window, whilst at the bottom of the window a zoomed-in version of the colors the eyedropper is going over is shown.
For large areas of identical color the color can be selected simply by letting go of the mouse button.
For colors that are only 1 pixel or so in size, get as close as you can, let go of the mouse button and and then move to the magnified area and select the color there (see below).
Instead of an eyedropper you can also use cross hairs – like this:
Towards the bottom of the color cop window is a magnifying glass icon. Clicking on the ‘plus’ sign will magnify the image that is being shown in color cop. You can then select your color from within that magnified image.
Towards the right of the window is the color history, showing the last seven colors clicked.
At the bottom left of the window is a palette of complementary colors (in relation to the last color hovered over). You can click anywhere on this palette and as you do so the displayed hex and RGB values are changed.
There are other options, too. To access them, right-click anywhere in the main body of the color cop window (you get a slightly different menu if you right click at the very top). Take a look at these (below):
Here’s a description of the various options that were shown above:
- Color. Websafe colors are almost irrelevant on modern monitors. I can’t see the point of the random color option either, but both the ‘reverse’ color and the ‘convert to grayscale’ options might have their uses. Having selected a color you just need to right click and select those menu items.
- Mode. There’s quite a lot to choose from here: HTML hex, Delphi hex, PowerBuilder, Visual Basic Hex, Visual C ++ Hex, RGB float, RGB int and Clarion hex. Most of which, in my color-ignorance, I’ve never heard of
- Space. The color space to choose from – RGB or CMYK.
- Sampling. The area sampled can be changed between one, three and five pixels. For normal purposes one pixel is best as the other sizes give an average over a larger area.
- Options. I’ll list them as they’re largely self-explanatory: Autocopy hex to clipboard, Omit hex symbol, Uppercase hex, Magnify while eyedropping, Use cross hair cursor, Put cursor over eyedropper on startup.
- Application. Another list: Always on top, Easy move (drag by clicking anywhere on the screen), Expanded dialogue, Minimise to system tray, Minimise on startup, Allow multiple instances.
And, of course, there’s the Window color picker, accessed by clicking on ‘Custom’.
- There are hot keys for various functions (see Application/Help).
- There are x,y coordinates along the bottom of the screen to determine where the cursor or crosshairs are. By pressing the control key when using the eyedropper these can be reset to zero, and dragging the cursor or crosshairs will now display the width and height of the rectangular area covered.
- Double-clicking on the magnified area copies it to the clipboard as a bitmap.
All in all this is a delightful little piece of software.