Want to save and reproduce or use and know a color on your Mac’s screen? Find out here how to use the eyedropper tool to identify the color of any pixel on screen with macOS and learn (and easily copy) its RGB value in various color spaces.
First, They Set Fire to Stone
in the Hindukusch six score years ago; then, cold water was thrown after the flames.
Want to know the RGB values of that skyish blue on your Mac’s screen? You need neither throw fire at it nor high water; follow these steps instead to crack the coloring code:
How to Use the Eyedropper Tool to Identify the Color of Any Pixel on Screen with macOS
Time needed: 5 minutes.
To find the color value (in RGB) of any pixel on a Mac’s screen using the macOS Digital Color Meter (or eyedropper tool):
- Open Digital Color Meter.
Tip: You can find Digital Color Meter using Spotlight search as well as using Launchpad, of course, or open the Utilities folder in Finder.
- Turn down the Aperture Size to its very smallest (on the left).
Note: This will allow you to see the color value of a single pixel; with an aperture bigger than this, you will get an average value of all the pixels in the selection square.
- Position the mouse cursor exactly over the pixel for which you want to identify the color.
- Optionally, press
Lto lock the picker on the currently selected pixel or pixels.
Note: You can also press
Xto individually lock the horizontal dimension and
Yto lock the vertical dimension respectively.
- See the RGB color values listed under RGB.
Tip: You need not copy the values by typing.
Cto copy the color values as a triplet of plain text numbers.
Cto copy a 74⨉74 square filled solid with the color; you can paste it into a graphics program, for instance, or just into Notes.
How to Use the Eyedropper Tool to Identify the Color of Any Pixel on Screen with macOS: FAQ
What do the RGB values mean?
The RGB values are the amounts of red (R), green (G) and blue (B) that combined make up the measured color. The values are from 0 (lowest) to 255 (highest).
A RGB value is relative to a color space.
Can I choose a different color space for the values?
Yes. Select the desired color space in the Digital Color Meter’s drop-down menu; choices include various standard RGB color spaces as well as the human-eye L*a*b color space.
What is a color space?
A color space contains all the colors a specific device can produce and a method to express them. Specifying the color space together with the RGB values lets you reproduce the same color accurately across devices.
Choose a color space that the device where you want to use the color supports.
What is the L*a*b color space?
The L*a*b color space contains all the colors the human eye can see. Instead of using red, green and blue, L*a*b defines colors as brightness (0–100)—L—, colors from red (-128) to green (127)—a—and colors from blue (-128) to yellow (127)—b.
Can I convert the color values to CMYK, XYZ, HSL and other color spaces?
Yes, though Digital Color Meter itself will not do that for you.
Turn to a site like Colorizer to enter the values gained from Digital Color Meter and have them converted to the color space and specification you need.
(How to use the eyedropper tool to identify the color of any pixel on screen with macOS tested with macOS Catalina 10.15; updated March 2020; title image: StockUnlimited)