Gem of the Week: ColorSnapper

Product: ColorSnapper
Developer: Koole Sache
Date Reviewed: 4-25-11
Retail Price: $2.99 via Mac App Store

ColorSnapper is a boon for designers who are yearning for a better method of color picking on the Mac. This little application, unlike Apple’s pre-bundled DigitalColor Meter, lives right in the menubar for super quick access. With ColorSnapper, you can quickly pick colors and retrieve them within any application you are working in.

Who’s it for?

Well, it’s designed for anyone who works with colors on a daily basis. Whether it be for web or graphic design, photography or even video – you’ll find ColorSnapper to be a useful tool to have in your arsenal.

But before I go on, I should mention that in the days before my love affair with ColorSnapper, I used the freely available DigitalColor Meter (DCM) utility that comes bundled with Mac OSX. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with DCM, per say, but I found three things that really bugged me about it:

  1. It requires an application launch to use.
  2. It takes up screen real-estate with its window and the aperture area it presents is powerfully distractive when you’re hovering your mouse around your screen.
  3. It requires you to have the application active when sampling colors

ColorSnapper, on the other hand, lives as a menulet on your menubar. You can see its icon on the far right on the screenshot below.

ColorSnapper icon (far right)

You can activate ColorSnapper in two ways. The first is through the Pick Color menu option in the ColorSnapper menulet. The second is through invoking a custom system-wide keyboard shortcut (I use Control-S). When activated, ColorSnapper turns your mouse cursor into a radial aperture (shown below).

ColorSnapper screenshots

Find the color you want, click your mouse, and the value is stored in the ColorSnapper pull-down menu.

ColorSnapper screenshots

ColorSnapper screenshots

Within the ColorSnapper preferences, you can choose the specific format to save your sampled color as. You can also choose an alternate format (invoked with the addition of the Option key coupled with your configured system-wide keyboard shortcut).

ColorSnapper screenshots

ColorSnapper lets you save your color information in one of many different formats.

ColorSnapper screenshots

You can easily change the magnification of your aperture through a slider, and you can also have a text overlay (in one of three formats) to accompany the aperture as you prepare to capture the color you want.

ColorSnapper screenshots

For me, ColorSnapper is one of those “How could I live without this?” apps. I can say with complete confidence that this little app was easily the best $2.99 I’ve spent. I really love this app, but one thing would make it even better. I would like an option to have the text overlay information that accompanies the aperture to be at a larger size. It would be great for folks like me who suffer from eye strain.

Barring that niggle, though – ColorSnapper is a fantastic utility. If you work regularly with color, check it out!

(Update: ColorSnapper 1.0.2 now offers both 32- and 64-bit support – which is great news for folks who own older 32-bit Intel Macs.)

ColorSnapper earns a solid 4.5 out of 5 Bob Weiners.

These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • George Coghill
    April 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Looks handy, glad to hear (via Twitter) that it works with Adobe software. But FYI, it’s $5 not $3.

    • Krishna
      April 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks! I forgot to mention that the app was on sale for $2.99 when I purchased it. Still worth the money if you work a lot with color, though.