Pick Colors Directly from Your Windows Display with AutoHotkey!

Coloretta Viva Adds Accuracy to Color Picking

This AutoHotkey app embodies one characteristic in paint tools which I consider a huge plus—precision. While you can find many Windows color-picking tools, most depend upon expanding the view of the screen to get pixel level exactness. On a normal size image, the process becomes hit-or-miss. Coloretta Viva combines AutoHotkey color capturing commands with a magnifying glass to expand the selection area. The script homes in on images “by rendering a (x20) magnifier which follows your cursor around, showing you a representation of not only the pixel you’re about to pick but also the spread of pixels around it. “

The enlarged selection box travels around the screen along as if attached to the mouse cursor (in the form of the text editing icon) as shown in the image below. The pixels surrounding the mouse cursor appear inside the moving box.


Upon execution of one of the Hotkey copy combinations, AutoHotkey saves to the Windows Clipboard one of the forms of the center square color code. You can then add the code(s) to Web programs, paint or photo editing apps, or any other software which supports color codes.

In the top image, I copied the “human readable” RGB colors by holding down CTRL+SHIFT while clicking the right-mouse button. (“Human readable” codes represent the values of the three components of a color pixel: red, green, and blue.) A system tray message popped open telling me exactly what I had just saved.

If you download the ZIP file which contains the EXE compiled version of Coloretta Viva, you won’t need to install or use the free AutoHotkey language. However, if you do know the AutoHotkey language, you can make minor modifications to suit your specific needs. If you have AutoHotkey installed on your Windows computer, then you can run the AHK file directly—plus make modifications to the script.

The first time you load Coloretta Viva, the following Help window opens:


After that first loading, you must press F1 to pop-up the command list.

If you’re choosing between a number of different colors in the expanded box, you can freeze it in place by holding down CTRL+SHIFT and clicking the left-mouse button. Then hover the cursor over the desired pixel in the magnifier before executing a color code copy command.

I found Coloretta Viva intuitive. Anyone who needs to match colors from random images might find it extremely useful.

On the downside, I would have liked a method for turning the color picker on and off without exiting the app. If you need to paste the code into another program, the continuous tagalong of the magnifying window becomes annoying. Since the script saves the results to the Windows Clipboard, usually exiting from the script does not create a problem. However, when using the using the “human readable” form, exiting the script disables the Hotkeys for parsing and inserting the color values (CTRL+1, CTRL+2, and CTRL+3)—even though the data remains intact in the Clipboard. (I have put together a short AutoHotkey fix for this problem. It passes the values into the individual Red, Green, and Blue fields of the Windows Paint color editor with just one Hotkey—even after exiting the app. I plan to discuss the technique in an upcoming blog at Jack’s AutoHotkey Blog.)


The color saved from the top image gets added to Windows Paint by inserting the Red, Green, and Blue values from the Windows Clipboard into the appropriate fields.


Unlike most color picking apps, Coloretta Viva allows exact selection of a pixel color without too much trial and error. With a little bit of tweaking, I would immediately add this to my graphics toolbox.



2 thoughts on “Pick Colors Directly from Your Windows Display with AutoHotkey!

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