Pixie Colour Picker – My Favorite Free Computer Tools

One of the things I love about the Internet is all the free programs you can find. Today I want to tell you about one of my favorites, Nattyware’s Pixie Colour Picker.

Pixie Colour Picker was created for webmasters and designers, and with the explosion of blogs across the Internet more people are learning how to tweak their templates.  I always have Pixie open when I’m tweaking my blog template, Atahualpa (which is also free and has over 200 customization options).

Pixie is a very tiny program, only 11KB in size.  It was named perfectly as it takes up a tiny amount of space on your hard drive using minute amounts of memory when running. It works with Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP Home/Pro and Microsoft Windows Vista. I have been using Pixie for several years and its creator keeps the website is updated to the current year so it is nice to know this sweet little program’s creator still cares about it.

There are two free choices at the Nattyware site; you can download Pixie as a portable application or in a zip archive. I recommend downloading the zip archive as you will get a readme.txt while which will help you figure out what this little program is if you happen to forget.

Double click on the zipped file to open.  Copy the executable file pixie.exe and paste it to your desktop.

The program icon will look like this:

ScreenShot of Pixie Color Picker Program

Now just double-click. You may get a warning message that looks like this: go ahead and click Run to open Pixie:

Pixie Color Picker by Nattyware Screenshot

When Pixie is open, it will look like this on your desktop.

Nattyware Pixie Color Picker

As you move your cursor, Pixie will show the color your cursor has landed upon. In the above image, the cursor was pointed at a brown color. See the numbers and letters to the right of the color?  You’re going to focus mainly on the HTML number.  The brown color in this sample is #AD835D.

When you place your cursor directly onto Pixie, it looks like this:

Nattyware Pixie Color Picker

Those are your Pixie hotkeys. When you have your cursor on the color you are trying to match, simply press Ctrl-Alt-c to copy the HTML code.  This copies the number onto your clipboard. When you get to where you want to add the HTML code, simply press Ctrl-v to paste the number.  If you are mouse dependent, these hotkeys may take some getting used to, but will become second nature after a few times.

I mostly use the copy HTML hotkey, Ctrl-Alt-c. But sometimes when I’m trying to grab a color that is very small, the magnifier comes in handy.  Just place your cursor in the area and press Ctrl-Alt-z. A perfect example would be if you were trying to grab a color from a favicon.  It can be a challenge to rest the cursor on the exact color you want, but with the magnifier that task becomes simple.  You can make sure it’s not only the right color, but you can then press Ctrl-Alt-c to grab the HTML number.

You can also configure the Pixie hotkeys by right-clicking on the program.  Once you change the letters you wish to use for each process, just click on the small X in the top right hand corner, and Pixie will go back to the default screen.

Nattyware Pixie Colour Picker

You can also move Pixie around to anyplace on the screen. I usually keep it up in the top right hand corner of my computer monitor. Pixie always stays on top of whatever you are working on so you can grab colors from any program or screen.  You can minimize Pixie and it will drop into the icon tray at the bottom of your screen on the right hand side.  When it’s in the icon tray, just double-click to restore it to the position you had it in last.

Keep this program in mind when you are trying to match colors on the computer as it will be very helpful.

What are your favorite free computer programs?

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