Sample Color with Photoshop Elements' Eyedropper Tool - dummies

Sample Color with Photoshop Elements’ Eyedropper Tool

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

One way that Photoshop Elements enables you to choose color is via the Eyedropper tool. The Eyedropper tool comes in handy when you want to sample an existing color in an image and use it for another element.

For example, you may want your text to be the same color as the green background in the image shown in the figure. Grab the Eyedropper tool (or press I) and click a shade of green in the background. The tool samples the color and makes it your new foreground color. You can then create the type with your new foreground color.

The Eyedropper tool enables you to sample color from your image to use with other elements, such as
Credit: © Image #3417360
The Eyedropper tool enables you to sample color from your image to use with other elements, such as type.

Here are a few things to remember when you’re using the Eyedropper tool:

  • Sample a new foreground or background color. Obviously, you can select either the foreground or background swatch on the Tools panel before you sample a color. But if the foreground color swatch is active, holding down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) samples a new background color, and vice versa.

  • Choose a color from any open image. If you have multiple images open, you can even sample a color from an image that you’re not working on!

  • Choose your sample size in the Tool Options. You can select the color of just the single pixel you click (Point Sample), or Elements can average the colors of the pixels in a 3-x-3- or 5-x-5-pixel area.

  • Make colors web-safe. If you right-click your image to bring up the contextual menu, you have a hidden option: Copy Color as HTML. This option provides the web hexadecimal color formula for that sampled color and copies it to the Clipboard. You can then paste that formula into an HTML file or grab the Type tool and choose Edit→Paste to view the formula in your image.

  • Choose to sample All Layers or just the Current Layer. If you have multiple layers in your image, you can choose to sample from all of those layers or just your currently active layer.

  • Toggle between the Eyedropper and other tools. Elements, multitasker that it is, enables you to temporarily access the Eyedropper tool when you’re using the Brush, Pencil, Color Replacement, Gradient, Paint Bucket, Cookie Cutter, or Shape tool. Simply press the Alt (Option on the Mac) key to access the Eyedropper tool. Release the Alt (Option on the Mac) key to go back to your original tool.