Coloristic for Mac & Windows


Coloristic is a utility which magnifies the area of the screen surrounding the cursor. It will also display the color value for the pixel that is exactly under the cursor and allow you to copy that color value to the clipboard. The current cursor position is represented in the Coloristic window with a square that is always located in the center of the magnified image.

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The color values can be displayed in one of four color models: RGB, CMY, HSB, and Internet. The Internet model is that which is used in HTML based web pages. The formatting of color values is controlled through the Color Format dialog which can be accessed via the Options menu.

You can also take a snapshot of the magnified image. Using the snapshot items in the File menu, you can save the current magnified image to a file. You can also use the "Copy Image" item in the Edit menu to copy the current magnified image to the clipboard.


The Display menu allows you to control the Coloristic display and color value formatting. Some of the following functions are also available via a contextual menu in the Coloristic window.

The Color Format dialog can be used to choose between different color models and how the color values for those models are formatted when displayed in Coloristic and when copied to the clipboard. The Prefix, Separator, and Suffix edit fields in the dialog can be used to insert up to 4 characters each for the formatted color value that is copied to the clipboard.

mac format dialog windows format dialog

The "Snap To Web Colors" menu item forces color values to be rounded to the nearest color value of the web color palette. When this option is on there will be a small world icon in the top-right corner of the color value area as a reminder. You can also toggle the web colors option by clicking on this icon.

The "Color Display" menu items are used to control the size of the color information area at the top of the Coloristic window. As a shortcut, you can also press the space bar or double click in the window, and Coloristic will cycle through the three possible options. Mac users can also click the toolbar button at the top of the Coloristic window to cycle through the options.

The "Show Histogram" menu item is used to show and hide a histogram representing the range of image tones for the magnified image.

The "Magnification" menu items are used to change the magnification level used in the Coloristic window. An additional shortcut for changing the magnification level is to press the 1 through 6 keys on your keyboard.

The "Show Grid" menu item can be used to turn on and off a grid in the Coloristic window which corresponds to the boundaries between the pixels in the magnified image. (The grid will not be shown if the current magnification level is less than 4x.)

Locked Images

When the caps lock key is down or when the Lock Image menu item in the Edit menu is used, the magnified image in the Coloristic window is locked and won't change as the mouse is moved. There will also be a small lock icon in the top-right corner of the color value area as a reminder. You can also toggle the lock state by clicking on this icon. Locking the magnified image allows you to use your mouse without losing the last color value.

While the magnified image is locked, if you move your cursor into the Coloristic window, the color value will be updated to match the color under the current cursor location. This allows you to lock the image on a certain portion of the screen and read multiple color values.

Also while the image is locked, you can click and drag in the Coloristic window to measure horizontal and vertical pixels distances. If you drag the cursor outside of the window, then the magnified image will scroll to the new location. You can also scroll the locked image by using the arrows keys on the keyboard or by holding down a modifier key (Option key on the Mac and Control key on Windows) and clicking and dragging.


The Preferences dialog (or Options dialog on Windows) allows you to configure less frequently used features.

mac preferences dialog windows preferences dialog

When the "Float windows..." preference is enabled, all new Coloristic windows will float above all other application windows. This preference does not effect existing Coloristic windows, only those created after this preference is enabled. Because the window is floating, some menu items in Coloristic will no longer function for that window. Instead, use the contextual menu to control those functions.

Normally Coloristic only updates its windows when the mouse is moved. Enabling the "Continuously update..." preference allows you to examine portions of the screen which might be changing, such as movies playing in a window, without having to move the mouse to detect changes in the screen.

The "Draw cross hair..." preference will substitute for the square that is centered in the Coloristic window with a cross hair cursor that remains a constant size regardless of the current magnification level. The cross hair is only drawn when the grid is off.

When the information area of the Coloristic window is hidden, the "Show values..." option can be used to display the color values in the window's title bar area.

The "Play snapshot sound" preference controls whether or not Coloristic will play a special sound when taking a snapshot of the magnified image.

The final option controls the grid color when the grid is shown. The default behavior is to draw the grid by inverting the colors underneath the grid lines so that they are always visible.

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