Software > HTMLColorPicker



freeware for Mac OS X
by Philippe Martin
version 1.0

What is it?

HTMLColorPicker is a little application (made in Cocoa) that allows to easily pick, edit, convert and store web safe colors to use in your Web pages (Screenshot).

It lets you select a color in a variety of ways, round it to the closest of the 216 Web safe colors or to the closest of the 138 Netscape colors, and copy the corresponding hexadecimal code ("HexCode", for short) or Netscape color name. It also provides some Services accessibles from most applications.

HTMLColorPicker is freeware.


Mac OS X 10.2.x or newer (up to Mountain Lion!).


  • Choose colors using a color wheel; RGB, CMYK or HSB sliders; different palettes (including the provided Web safe and Netscape colors palettes); or the magnifying glass tool that allows you to pick a color from anywhere on the screen.
  • Round the chosen color to the closest web safe color or to the closest Netscape color.
  • Enter an HexCode or a Netscape color name to see the corresponding color.
  • Convert a Netscape colors to HexCode (Web safe or not) and vice versa.
  • Match your background and foreground colors in a Preview window using editable styled text and/or images.
  • Save your favorite colors for quick access.
  • Load your own images or color palettes to pick colors from.
  • Services commands to use HTMLColorPicker from other applications (replacing the selection with the HexCode or Netscape color name of the last choice you've done in HTMLColorPicker; displaying the color corresponding to the selected HexCode or Netscape color name; converting the selected HexCode to the closest Netscape color name, or converting the selected HexCode or Netscape color name to the closest Web safe color).


HTMLColorPicker 1.0b1.dmg (240 KB)


  • Mount the disk image
  • If you want to use HTMLColorPicker from the Services menu, you must copy it into the Applications folder in any of the file-system domains Local, Network, and User:
    Then, log-out and back in.
  • If you don't want HTMLColorPicker to appear in the Services menu, copy it anywhere else. In this case you don't have to log-out.

Optionally, you can also load the Web Safe and the Netscape Colors palettes provided in the Extra Palettes folder. See the "Extra Palettes ReadMe" file for instructions on installing them in a few simple steps.


  • Quit HTMLColorPicker if it's running, and drag it to the trash.
  • You may also trash the preferences file that can be found at "~/Library/Preferences/com.flip.htmlColorPicker.plist".
  • Finally, if the HTMLColorPicker submenu appears in the Services menu, log-out and back in.


Screenshot of HTMLColorPicker

HTMLColorPicker's main,
Colors and Preview windows


Hopefully you won't need any help to use HTMLColorPicker. But here are some tips that you may find useful.

1. Use the popup menu to switch between Web safe colors, Netscape colors, or all colors.

2. Click on the color Well (the colored rectangle on the left) to open the Colors window.

3. Select the "Window>Preview Window" menu item to display/hide the Preview window.

4. Check the Group Windows item of the Window menu if you'd like all the windows to move when you drag HTMLColorPicker's main window.

5. By default, the hexadecimal code generated by HTMLColorPicker is uppercase with a pound sign prefix (e.g. #FFCC00). If you prefer a lowercase HexCode, or without the pound sign prefix, just change it in the text field as you see fit, and press Return or Enter. HTMLColorPicker will then learn your preference and keep using it.
Note that you can also enter an HexCode just to see the corresponding color.

6. The Copy button is the default button only when the text field doesn't have the focus. If the HexCode is selected in the text field, you can copy it using the good old cmd-C, or you can press Return to deselect it and "activate" the Copy button, so it will respond to the Return and Enter keys.

7. Both the Preview window and the Colors window have a toolbar. If you don't see them, just click on the oval button at the right end of their title bar. Make sure to explore the options available from the Colors window's toolbar: from here you can not only choose between various methods of selecting colors, but also load your own palettes and images to pick colors from.

8. You can change everything you want in the Preview window: you can resize the window up to 800 x 600 pixels, you can change the text it contains, its font, font size and style (by clicking on the A toolbar icon or from the Font and Text items of the Edit menu). You can even drop an image file or paste a copied image into it. And of course you can change the background and the text color by clicking on the bucket toolbar icons. Here too, HTMLColorPicker will remember all your preferences (including images).

9. Since HTMLColorPicker uses the standard Cocoa color well, the colors you save in the bottom "drawer" or the palettes you load will also be available from any other application that uses the Cocoa color well.

10. There are several commands available from the Services menu that you can use from most applications (assuming you installed HTMLColorPicker as explained in the Installation section ). Here's what they do:

Lauch HTMLColorPicker if it's not already running and take it to the front.

Replace With Last Choice
Replace the selection with the HexCode or Netscape name of the last color you chose in HTMLColorPicker (the format, HexCode or Netscape color, will be the format you selected from the popup menu).

Reveal Color of Selection
Select an HexCode or a Netscape color name, and use this command to take HTMLColorPicker to the front and display the corresponding color.

Selection to Netscape Color
Select an HexCode and use this command to replace the selection with the closest Netscape color (without taking HTMLColorPicker to the front).

Selection to Web Safe Color
Select an HexCode or a Netscape color name, and use this command to replace the selection with the closest Web safe color (without taking HTMLColorPicker to the front).

Known issues and limitations

As far as I know there is no unresolved issue at this time, but please let me know if you find any problem.

The main limitation, in my opinion, is the impossibility to choose and insert an HexCode from the Services menu. I wanted to allow the user to put the insertion point in a text document, select a command from the Services menu to be taken to HTMLColorPicker, choose a color, click a button, and be taken back to the text document to find the corresponding HexCode automatically inserted. Unfortunately, I'm afraid this won't be possible because HTMLColorPicker's main window would then have to be modal, and that would prevent to use the color picker and the Preview window. The Replace With Last Choice command is an attempt to compensate the absence of this feature.


Click here to email me.


Thanks a lot to Didier Terrieu for the icon!

Legal Stuff

HTMLColorPicker: Copyright © 2003 - 2023 Philippe Martin. HTMLColorPicker is free software: you can redistribute as you want as long as you don't make any profit from it, and as long the original readme files and extra palettes are included.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY. If you use it, you do so at your own risks.

Revisions History


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