Copy customized color pickers

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If you’ve been reading here for a while, then you know all about the secrets of the color picker—that’s the Colors box that pops-up in applications like Pages, Keynote, and TextEdit when you want to apply a color to some text or an object. As this article explains, it’s possible to do many things with the color picker to help customize the colors you typically work with—for instance, you can drag color swatches into the empty bins at the bottom of the window for easy future use.

But what if you have multiple Macs, and you want them all to have the same customized color picker? It’s as simple as copying a file (or folder) from machine to machine. On the machine whose color picker you’d like to use, find the user’s Library/Colors folder. Inside of that, you’ll either see a single file named NSColorPanelSwatches.plist , or that file and any number of image files. If you see just the single file, copy it to the same location on the target Mac, and you’re done. If you see a number of files, then you’ll want to copy the entire folder—the images there are being used for custom color palettes within the color picker.

If you’d like to give all the users on your single Mac the same color picker, the process is essentially identical. The easiest way to copy the file or folder over is to user the target user’s Drop Box, which you’ll find under their user name, in the Public folder. Just copy the file (or folder) to that location from the source Mac, then use fast user switching to activate the other account. Move the file or folder out of the Drop Box and into its proper spot, and you’re done.

The truly ambitious out there could probably automate this process, using Automator or AppleScript, so that the color pickers always stay in sync.

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