Lightroom Tips

Tip – Picking Colors from Anywhere

Happy Friday fellow color pickers 🙂 Today’s tip works in the Develop, Print, Web, and Slideshow modules. Basically, it works in any module that has a color picker in it. For example, let’s say you’re in the Web module and you go to the Color Palette panel. You’ll see a few color swatches listed there. Each one of these controls the color in your web gallery. Well the tip is that if you click on one of those swatches it opens a color picker. Sure you can select the color you want right in the color picker but that’s not the tip. You can also select a color from anywhere on your desktop or other open windows. The trick is to click first in the color picker then drag anywhere on your computer to select a different color. Once you click in the color picker though, don’t let the mouse button go. Keep it pressed as you drag around and you’ll see the color changes to whatever your cursor is over regardless of what window or area of the screen you hover over. Here’s a quick list (but probably not complete) of most of the areas that have a color picker:

• Develop (Split Toning Panel)
• Slideshow (Stroke, ID Plate, Text Overlays, Backdrop panel, Titles panel)
• Web (Color Palette panel and Appearance panel)
• Print (Stroke Border setting and Overlays panel)

Thanks everyone and have a great weekend!



  1. jjay 18 January, 2010 at 00:55 Reply

    I don’t get it. This doesn’t work for me at all. When I move the eyedropper over something black the color box turns white. I wanted to color in a horse’s eye that had gone white due to flash. The eye needed a sorrel color which was on the horse’s coat, as well as black for the pupil. No way either of those colors could be selected. When I moved it over the sorrel color (dark chestnut) the picker showed orange and when I moved it over black the picker showed white. I tried both anyway and they painted what the picker showed. It seems no matter where I move the eyedropper the picker only shows the neares color in it’s own pallet. I can’t imagine a reason for the pallet to be so limited. So far for me the selection of colors in it have not been what I needed for any photo I was working on. In every case I had to edit in photoshop.

  2. ErinS. 5 December, 2009 at 20:49 Reply

    In the Web module, is there a way to not have to choose a background color and have it blank? The background of my website has a design and I would like the photos to be right on the designed background, as opposed to a on a colored box on the designed page. Any tips??

  3. Shangara 26 April, 2009 at 06:08 Reply

    Christopher, the logic is different in Photoshop. You don’t need to make a trip to the Color Picker. Just select the Eyedropper tool, click in your document window and then drag to a target area on your desktop.

  4. Mike 24 April, 2009 at 09:34 Reply

    Great tip esp picking any color from any program/desktop.

    Oh yeah, thanks for this tip and the arches pictures they are awesome. Of all the places and workshops or photowalks, arches just might be my first when you all come back this way.

  5. Eric 24 April, 2009 at 03:38 Reply

    Great Tip Matt,

    it also works in the develop Module – local adjustments.
    The only thing I’m missing at the color picker is that you can’t select dark grey or black or so.

  6. Irene S. 24 April, 2009 at 02:26 Reply

    Great tip Matt – if only the cursor would not jump all over like crazy and change from pointer to hourglass while dragging and hovering. Is this normal or is it just my computer?

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