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A Color Picker For Your Desktop or Internet Explorer Window

, 3 Jun 2000
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A Color Picker that sits in IE or on the Desktop, Requires IE4+
<!-- Link to demo file download -->
  • Color Picker Tool - 228 Kb
  • <!-- Article image -->

    Logo - RBColorPicker.gif

    <!-- Add the rest of your HTML here -->

    Screen Shots


    Acessing through IE Menus - access1.gif Accessing through IE Toolbars - access2.gif Accessing through Desktop Toolbars - access3.gif

    In Use

    (Shows Docking to Desktop, Floating on Desktop, In IE as Toolbar)

    In Internet Explorer - toolbar.gif In Internet Explorer (Shows Delete Capability) - toolbar2.gif

    Color Picker docked to desktop - deskbanddoc.gif

    Color Picker floating on desktop - deskband.gif


    Why create another utility that will grab colors off the desktop? For a few simple reasons.

    • It is FREE.
    • Did not want screen space to be obstructed or to have a window that required to be moved around the screen to be used effectively, ie. Docking Toolbar.
    • Wanted a color history pallette.
    • Wanted it to be a click away.
    • Wanted it to be light wieght, compact, and efficent.
    • Did not want a large User Interface.

    All of these reasons are implemented in version 1.0.

    System Requirements

    • Windows NT/2000: Requires Windows 2000 (or Windows NT 4.0 with Internet Explorer 4.0 or later).
    • Windows 95/98: Requires Windows 98 (or Windows 95 with Internet Explorer 4.0 or later).


    • Has a history pallette.
    • Can delete items off the pallette with the context menu.
    • Can dock the window to all sides of the Desktop.
    • Can float the window on the Desktop.
    • Works with Internet Explorer 4+.
    • Works under Windows 95, 98, 98SE, NT4, 2000
    • Takes up space already used by existing applications, Taskbar and Internet Explorer Toolbars.

    Known Issues

    • History does not save when using the Desktop version.
    • Multiple instances of Internet Explorer do not share the same color history
    • Grabbing colors requires the left mouse button to be held, preventing hot buttons from activating which prevents users from grabbing colors of hot buttons.
    • Second chevron drop down does nothing. This feature will be implemented in the next version.
    • Desktop docking version does not dock properly to left and right sides of screen.
    • Can't enter color value into edit box and have color value added to history or be displayed.

    Technologies Used

    • COM (IOleWindow, IDockingWindow, IObjectWithSite, IDeskBand, IPersist, IPersistStream, IDispatch)
    • ATL (CWindowImpl)
    • DeskBand ATL Object Wizard

    The Package

    The zip file above contains a MSI file containing the DLL and the helpfile. When it is installed using the Microsoft Installer, it will register the component for the desktop and as a toolbar inside Internet Explorer. The helpfile is accessible through Start | Programs | RadBytes | Color Picker. If you are under Windows 2000, you can uninstall it through Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel. For those of you that do not yet have Microsoft Installer installed, I will be putting a EXE install version up on my website as soon as the router tables are updated. Or you can email me, and I will send you the EXE install version.

    Closing Remarks

    I created this component, because I wasn't completely happy with what was available and because I learned a lot from developing it. I wanted everything I implemented and more (next version). It is also something that any novice can use to experienced web developer; without getting a headache trying to use it. I hope someone out there finds this useful, let me know your comments. In the next version I hope to provide XML support, import/export abilities, additional pallettes and more. Enjoy!!!


    This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

    A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


    About the Author

    Erik Thompson
    Web Developer
    United States United States
    Erik lives in Redmond, Washington. He works as a Senior Software Engineer specializing in C++, COM, ATL and the middle-tier and now .NET. When he isn't coding for work, he can be found trying to extend Internet Explorer with yet another Desk band or simplifying his development process with ATL Object Wizards.
    He spends his free time snowboarding, mountain biking, and online gaming.

    Comments and Discussions

    GeneralCould you help me,Eric Pinmemberthompson27-Aug-02 20:05 
    GeneralRe: Could you help me,Eric PinsitebuilderErik Thompson13-Nov-03 7:49 
    GeneralToolbar needed in IE client area Pinsusstalex31-Jul-02 4:40 
    GeneralToolbar needed in IE client area Pinsusstalex31-Jul-02 4:37 
    GeneralHelp needed PinmemberChob25-Apr-02 2:06 
    GeneralRe: Help needed PinsitebuilderErik Thompson25-Apr-02 9:33 
    GeneralWndProc for Toolbar PinmemberHeath30-Nov-01 7:24 
    GeneralImplementing MSHTML Control PinmemberHeath22-Jun-01 9:42 
    GeneralRe: Implementing MSHTML Control PinmemberErik Thompson29-Jun-01 9:37 
    GeneralRe: Implementing MSHTML Control PinmemberHeath17-Aug-01 12:59 

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