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Sometimes I want to quickly use a color that I see on a picture, website or program.

I usually take a screenshot then open it in Gimp and use the "Color Picker" tool.

Is there another way to do this in Gimp, without the screenshot step?

Or is it a bad idea to begin with?

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I can't recommend any of these from personal experience, but perhaps one of these programs might be what you're looking for – JohnB Feb 5 '13 at 16:07
I'll just throw out something to test as I don't have GIMP, but in PS you can take the picker, click within the document, then hold and drag to elsewhere in the program or OS. So you can capture anything within the viewable screen. Not sure if GIMP can do that, but it might be worth trying. I use that technique all the time. – jamEs Feb 5 '13 at 16:29
@jamEs: I just tried, that trick does not work with Gimp unfortunately. – Nicolas Raoul Apr 17 '15 at 4:11
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You can use the color picker button in GIMP's foreground and background color dialog or dockable for that.

FB/GB color dockable

It works like this:

  1. you click the button
  2. you click anywhere on your screen
  3. the color is set

You will encounter one issue, however:

On 32 bit Windows platforms, the only color you'll be able to pick this way is black - this is a problem in the Cairo library on those platforms, see bug reports for GIMP and for Cairo.

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Something like GPick might work. I'm making the assumption that you're using Linux of some flavour.

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Seconded! Although you can also pick from within GIMP, Gpick is a great tool in its own. It starts really fast (in case you want to check some colour without starting GIMP) and has neat colour scheme creation tools and much more:… – unhammer May 10 at 6:54

I think this is exactly what you are looking for:

It runs in tray and it is very minimalistic.

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I would comment rather than answer but I'm not able to.

This is not really an issue with GIMP but how to extract colour codes from an image you see in your browser. In order for GIMP to work with a picture you have to feed the program with an actual image. I don't know of any extension that enables you to use the GIMP tools outside of the program (please correct me if I'm wrong). However there are several tools on the web to extract the colour codes of a pixel of content you see on the web. The most convenient may be a browser plugin, such as Rainbow Color Tools for Firefox: This however is only a solution for web content.

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Gimp's "Create Screenshot" feature is able to read every pixel of the screen, so Gimp definitely has the means to do it itself. – Nicolas Raoul Feb 5 '13 at 11:15
You have misinterpreted the answer: GIMP must be running in order to do this. The answer presumes that GIMP is not running. The answer suggests add-ons to your browser which add color-picker functionality to the browser and bypass the need for a screenshot entirely. – horatio Feb 5 '13 at 17:25
OK, so it would copy the HTML color code to the clipboard, and I would paste it into Gimp, that's it? – Nicolas Raoul Feb 6 '13 at 7:23

When I want to do it to a picture or website I use ColorZilla, a plugin for Google Chrome.

It's basically a colour picker tool that sits in your browser's toolbar just like the one in GIMP and it tells you the #rrggbb value of the colour (and copies it to your clipboard so you can paste it in any app, including back into GIMP).

Given the name ColorZilla, it probably exists (or once existed) for Firefox, too.

Unfortunately it won't help you if you want to pick a colour outside of your web browser, say in another application.

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