When I place a few objects one over another, each with different colors and transparencies, so that they all overlap somewhere, how would I measure the color on this overlapping area? Similar to the way the eyedropper in photoshop would just give me the color of the pixel he is hovering.

Is this possible without ridiculous detours? All I could imagine is making a screenshot pasting it and measuring from there - but this kind of the definition of a ridiculous detour...

7 Answers 7


I think the closest to what you are looking for is Flatten Transparency, under the Object menu, which breaks the selected objects up into objects with fill colours based on the result of their overlaps. Still a bit of a detour but it gives you the colours as proper fill colours which can be picked up with the eye dropper or used any other way.

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Since it changes the original objects you'll probably want to copy them off the art board then flatten transparency the copy, or, flatten, get the swatches you need, then undo the flattening.

(when working in cmyk, watch out for gamut-related surprises when turning the partially transparent version of a red or blue into a solid swatch, resulting in what appears like a big change in colour)

  • this worked best for me as I don't use Photoshop, thanks! :) Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 14:41
  • Doesn't work for me. Just samples blank/transparent when I click on the bitmap.
    – Moss
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 9:26
  • If you're doing it this way there shouldn't be a bitmap, nothing is being rasterised. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 9:51
  • 1
    I just used this method and it produced an accurate color match. The Photoshop eyedropper method was close, but not spot on for my CMYK file.
    – Dan Tabata
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 23:56

Another slightly easier workaround would be to use Photoshop's eyedropper tool directly.

This doesn't seem to be commonly known, but it can sample outside Photoshop docs.

With the Eyedropper tool selected, click and hold in a Photoshop document, then drag to any point on your screen, release and you'll sample the colour at that point.

  • 1
    You are right, probably some website developer's color picker would suffice as well. At least in the RGB spectrum, but I assume this would be the case with photoshop's out of work area picker as well...
    – Jan
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 13:17
  • That's still pretty frustrating, though, as I'm trying to sample CMYK color, and it's not simple to copy over to Illustrator like hex colors are.
    – Codesmith
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 17:09
  • Also frustrating to have to have PS open just to sample colors from illustrator ...
    – nikk wong
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 2:01

The easiest way i found to sample any colour in illustrator document is using navigator window in combination with eyedropper tool. Open navigator window, resize and place it as you want to see the whole document. Select eyedropper tool, click and hold mouse button (tap and hold if you using a stylus) and drag cursor to any place on the navigator window, after releasing a button (stylus) you coping a colour to selected object as fill or stroke, depending on what is selected at this moment. With this method you sampling only colour of the picture as it looks like on the screen without switching to another program

  • Forget to write about one restriction of this method. If navigator window overlapping a document window, this trick doesn't work. Navigator window must be placed in any part of illustrator workspace outside document area.
    – formozoid
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 15:35

Just printscreen, paste, pick the color, and delete pasted bitmap.

  • technically, this is the "WORST" suggestion - but it works in the best and easiest way! and it'll ALWAYS work!
    – kumarharsh
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 14:45

Unfortunately, no.

An easier hoop may be to select the object, choose Object Rasterize. Then shift-click and area with the Eyedropper Tool. Note the color, then undo twice.

Or, select the objects, drag them to the Symbols Panel to create a symbol. Shift-click with the Eyedropper tool. Then choose "Break Link" from the Symbol's Panel menu.


Try using the DigitalColor Meter app in the Utilities folder. It lets you sample any pixel you can see on the screen, in all flavors of RGB or Lab.

  • but it gives a different hex value than what illustrator gives for the same color :| Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 14:38

try using Live paint function. it sucks a little bit cause you have to expand your artwork, but is the only solution i figured out.

  • 2
    how does it work, can you explain?
    – Luciano
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 12:57

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