Sip review: Get exact color information of on-screen pixels

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Sip

Editor’s note: The following review is part of Macworld’s GemFest 2013. Every day (except Sunday) from mid-July until late September, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a standout free or low-cost program. Learn more about GemFest in this Macworld podcast. You can view a list of this year’s apps, updated daily, on our handy GemFest page, and you can visit the Mac Gems homepage for past Mac Gems reviews.

If you work with colors—say, as a designer, Web coder, or app developer—you frequently need to find the exact color of a particular item or pixel on your screen. Sip 1.3.2 (Mac App Store link) is perhaps the easiest way to get that information.

On initial launch, you choose your favorite color model/format from Sip’s systemwide menu. After that, you simply press Sip’s keyboard shortcut, or choose Pick Color from its menu, and you get a magnifying circle with a single-pixel “bullseye” in the middle for choosing the particular onscreen pixel you want to sample. (Sip lets you use one of three magnification levels.) Click on a pixel to sample it, and Sip copies to the clipboard the code for that color, in the format you’ve specified.

Sip supports CSS Hex; CSS3 HSL and HSLA; CSS3 RGB and RGBA; Calibrated NSColor for HSB and RGB; Device NSColor for CMYK, HSB, and RGB; UIColor HSB and RGB; CGColor Generic RGB and CMYK; raw decimal; and raw 8-bit. You can cycle through available formats, as well as cycle through previously captured colors in Sip’s color history, using convenient keyboard shortcuts—as you do, an elegant status box appears beneath Sip’s menu-bar icon, indicating the selected format or color. (Sip also shows recently sampled colors in its menu.)

Even more convenient: After sampling a color, changing the format automatically copies to the clipboard that format’s code for the most-recently sampled color—you don’t have to sample it again.

Sip offers a number of options for formatting color codes, and you can disable formats you never use. It’s a easy-to-use tool that makes quick work of an otherwise tedious task. It’s only major drawback is that if you have multiple displays, the magnifying circle works properly only on your primary display.

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At a Glance
  • An easy-to-use tool for determining color information.

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