When developing web-pages or graphics we frequently need a tool that will give us the RGB value of the color of a particular region in some other application's window. An example could be that you need to know the background color of a JPG image so that you can use the same color for the background of the webpage on which you will display the image. ColorFinder comes in handy exactly for this. You can use this tool to pick color from any pixel on the desktop.
How to use the tool
To get the color value left click on the dropper icon and while keeping the left mouse button pressed down move it over the desktop. As the mouse moves, ColorFinder shows the color under the mouse pointer and at the same time it displays the pointer coordinates, value of the color in decimal, hex, and HTML color format. When the mouse pointer is over the color you want to select, release the mouse button. Then using the buttons labeled ">" on the right of any of the text-boxes displaying the color value, copy that value to the clipboard.
By default the tool is always on top of all the application. This allows you to see the color under the mouse pointer as you move the pointer over the desktop. You can disable this behavior by unchecking the "Always on top" menu option in the application's system menu.
Using the code
The source files CButtonSK.h, CButtonSK.cpp, CUrl.h, Curl.cpp are not directly relevant for this application.
CButtonSK is used for skinning buttons and are used for the copy buttons (labeled with '>').
Curl is used in the About box to display URLs that behave identically to the URLs inside a browser.
The class associated with the main dialog is
CColorFinderDlg and it is defined and implemented in the files ColorFinderDlg.h and ColorFinderDlg.cpp
In the constructor for this class the icon and cursor for the dropper is loaded and the variable
m_bTracking is set to
false. The current color
m_colCurrent is set to black
CColorFinderDlg::CColorFinderDlg(CWnd* pParent )
: CDialog(CColorFinderDlg::IDD, pParent)
m_bTracking = false;
m_hCursor = AfxGetApp()->LoadCursor(IDC_DROPPER);
m_hDropperIcon = AfxGetApp()->LoadIcon(IDI_DROPPER);
m_colCurrent = RGB(0,0,0);
To get the color three Windows messages
WM_LBUTTONUP have been used.
When the message handler for
WM_LBUTTONDOWN is called, the handler verifies that the location of the mouse button down is inside the rectangle for the static control that displays the dropper icon. It then sets the mouse tracking flag
m_bTracking and captures the mouse so that all subsequent mouse move messages are sent to the window for
CColorFinderDlg. The handler also changes the mouse cursor to that of the dropper and hides the dropper icon on the dialog. This gives an impression that the dropper is picked up from the dialog's window.
void CColorFinderDlg::OnLButtonDown(UINT nFlags, CPoint point)
if (PtInRect(&rect, point))
m_bTracking = true;
The handler for the
WM_MOUSEMOVE first verifies that the mouse is being tracked, i.e., the mouse left button is currently down. It does that using the
m_bTracking variable set in
OnLButtonDown. The current mouse pointer location is obtained using the Win32 API
GetCursorPos. To get the color under the mouse pointer first a handle to the desktop device context is obtained using the API
GetDCEx . This handle is then converted to a CDC class pointer using
CDC::FromHandle. Then color is retrieved using the CDC method
void CColorFinderDlg::OnMouseMove(UINT nFlags, CPoint point)
str.Format ("%d, %d", pt.x, pt.y);
CDC *pDesktopDC = CDC::FromHandle ( ::GetDCEx(NULL, NULL, 0));
m_colCurrent = pDesktopDC->GetPixel(pt);
BYTE rVal = GetRValue(m_colCurrent);
BYTE gVal = GetGValue(m_colCurrent);
BYTE bVal = GetBValue(m_colCurrent);
str.Format("%02X, %02X, %02X", rVal, gVal, bVal);
str.Format("%d, %d, %d", rVal, gVal, bVal);
str.Format("#%02X%02X%02X", rVal, gVal, bVal);
CDC *pSDC = m_statCol.GetDC();
In the handler for the
WM_LBUTTONUP the mouse capture is released and the
m_bTracking flag is cleared. The dropper icon on the dialog is also restored.
void CColorFinderDlg::OnLButtonUp(UINT nFlags, CPoint point)
m_bTracking = false;
Points of Interest
The color displayed in the
m_statCol is not updated with
The tool gives the actual RGB value of the pixel on the desktop. If the color depth on your desktop is less than 24-bit then all 24-bit colors will be displayed after approximating to the nearest supported color. ColorFinder will display the approximated color and NOT the actual color.
- v1.0 This is the initial version.
I just love coding. I started programming in 1995 with BASIC and then moved through Cobol, Pascal, Prolog, C, C++, VB, VC++ and now C#/.NET.
I received a Bachelor of Technology degree in Computer Science from University of Calcutta in 2001.
I worked for some time in Texas Instruments, Adobe Systems and now in Microsoft India Development Center in the Visual Studio Team Systems.
I am from the City of Joy, Kolkata in India, but now live and code Hyderabad.