Is there any application that provides a color picker for the screen?

For example: after starting the application the mouse is transformed into a color picker. Clicking anywhere on the screen it will detect the pixel color.

  • I wrote one for windows, but have not thought about it for Ubuntu, may give it a try some tine.
    – Simon
    Sep 29, 2013 at 11:11
  • 1
    Why reinvent the wheel see the answer to the following askubuntu.com/questions/163783/…
    – Simon
    Sep 29, 2013 at 11:13
  • 2
    @SimplySimon Not a duplicate. I would say the q&a you linked to is a subset of this question. The OP's requirements and use case in the other Q&A are way more specific than with this one. Sep 29, 2013 at 13:14
  • John, could you please comment on the duplicate status of this question? I personally think it is a dupe, but some people think it's not. Does the master question answer your question?
    – Seth
    Sep 30, 2013 at 19:04
  • @Seth, I think it's not a duplicate. I agree with Glutanimate. Oct 2, 2013 at 10:09

4 Answers 4


Newer alternatives to gcolor2


gcolor2 is good but hasn't been updated in quite a while. There are two more recent alternatives out there, gcolor3 and pychrom.


The first one is a GTK3 port of gcolor2. There are no differences in the features it comes with as far as I can tell:

enter image description here


pychrom on the other hand has a few additional goodies:

  • CMYK and terminal color support
  • systray indicator
  • zoom function

A couple of screenshots of pychrom in action:

enter image description here

enter image description here


The downside to these more recent color pickers is that they aren't available from the official repositories or any other repos for that matter.

gcolor3 you will have to compile manually. Please follow the instructions on the project page to do so.

pychrom is a python application and can be executed without having to be compiled first. The source archive comes with two files, pychrom and pychrom.desktop. To install the application simply copy pychrom to your PATH (e.g. ~/bin or /usr/local/bin) and move the .desktop file either to ~/.local/share/applications (user-bound installation) or /usr/share/applications (system-wide installation).

  • We need a PPA for gcolor3
    – Jonathan
    Jan 29, 2019 at 2:10

Yes there is. It's called gcolor2Install gcolo2 and it's very simple to use it. You can install it from terminal using the following command:

sudo apt-get install gcolor2


  • 3
    Ubuntu 18: Unable to locate package gcolor2
    – Jonathan
    Jan 29, 2019 at 2:00

I would suggest gpick as it's simple and to the point:

sudo apt-get install gpick


Unfortunately this app has a very non-intuitive UI, so here's help on how to use it (or at least how I use it):

  1. Right-click on the center hexagon (the red one in the screenshot).
  2. Move pointer around the screen. A zoom-view (similar to the lower-left corner of Gpick) will follow your mouse to help you pick the exact pixel you want.
  3. Press Space bar to add the color to the selected slot in the palette. Slot 1 is selected at first by default.

  4. You can drag a color from a slot an drop it into where you need it, e.g. Gimp, Inkscape, or simple read its #rrggbb-value.


  1. After adding a color, the next slot will automatically be selected so you can press Space bar successively to add to the ring buffer of slots.

  2. Instead of right-clicking the center-hexagon, you can instead click the pipette in the lower-right corner or left-click-AND-drag. I personally find right-clicking the center easier.

enter image description here

  • Nice one too! Upvoted :) Jan 26, 2016 at 11:19
  • 4
    +1 for explaining how it works - I had given up on using gpick to identify a color outside its own window. lousy UI, but relevant to this question now....
    – nealmcb
    Aug 1, 2016 at 14:37
  • Still doesn't work, most likely because of Wayland. At least gcolor3 reports this, gpick simply doesn't work with no message at all. Nevertheless thank you for the explanation
    – d.k
    Oct 19, 2020 at 20:52

I like "Pick". It's very easy to use, eye-friendly and to the point: https://snapcraft.io/pick-colour-picker

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