Pick Colors from websites your entire screen with the JavaScript EyeDropper API

Mid-August the WICG published a (unofficial) specification for a Native Eye Dropper — a tool you can use to get the color from the pixel that’s underneath the cursor — on the web.

Let’s take a look …



The proposal is pretty straightforward:

This API enables authors to use a browser supplied eyedropper in the construction of custom color pickers.

It describes an EyeDropper and a ColorSelectionResult which you use as follows:

// Create an EyeDropper object
const eyeDropper = new EyeDropper();

document.getElementById("eyedropperButton").addEventListener('click', e => {
    // Enter eyedropper mode
        .then(colorSelectionResult => {
            // returns hex color value (#RRGGBB) of the selected pixel
        .catch(error => {
            // handle the user choosing to exit eyedropper mode without a selection

Upon clicking the button in the example above, an EyeDropper will open. After clicking, the color underneath will be captured and its outcome is a ColorSelectionResult, of which you can current get the SRGB Hex Code via colorSelectionResult.sRGBHex

💡 As pointed out by reader Šime Vidas it’s worth nothing that you’re not limited to picking colors from the page itself, but from anywhere on your screen — even outside the browser window.

Live updating the color value as you move the cursor is currently not specced — it is, after all, a very young spec. This is considered a limitation and is being discussed in this GitHub Issue.



See the Pen
EyeDropper API Demo
by Bramus (@bramus)
on CodePen.


Browser Support

Whilst the API is still unofficial, it’s already supported in Chromium 95 (current Canary). Other Browsers (Firefox, Safari) have no support for it (yet). Relevant Issues to track:


Extra: Quick one-liner

To open the EyeDropper with just one line of code you can use this snippet:

await new EyeDropper().open();

Handy for launching it from the Console, as demonstrated in the video below:


To help spread the contents of this post, feel free to retweet the announcement tweet:


🔥 Like what you see? Want to stay in the loop? Here's how:

🗣 This post originally was a set of tweets.

About the author

Bramus is a Freelance Web Developer from Belgium. From the moment he discovered view-source at the age of 14 (way back in 1997), he fell in love with the web and has been tinkering with it ever since (more …)

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