The Eyedropper tool makes it easy to copy a color without having to select a swatch. It copies, or samples, the color of an area in your photo to set a new foreground or background color. You can sample from the active image, from another open image, or from your computer’s desktop.
If you want the color always to be available, you can add the sampled color to the Color Swatches panel. You can also specify the size of the area that the Eyedropper tool samples. For example, you can set the eyedropper to sample the average color values of a 5‑by‑5- or 3‑by‑3-pixel area under the pointer.
To select a new foreground color from an image, click the desired color in your image. To select a color that appears elsewhere on your computer screen, click inside your image and drag away from it.
To select a new background color from an image, Alt-click (Option-click in Mac OS) the color you want.
As you click and drag the Eyedropper tool, the foreground color box changes.
You can temporarily switch to the Eyedropper tool while using most painting tools, which allows you to change colors quickly without selecting another tool. Simply hold down the Alt key (Option key in Mac OS). Once you’ve chosen your color, release the Alt key (Option key in Mac OS).
To set the foreground and background boxes to black and white, click the Default Colors icon.
To switch the colors in the two boxes, click the Switch Colors icon.
To change the foreground color, click the topmost color box in the toolbox, and then choose a color from the Color Picker.
To change the background color, click the bottom color box in the toolbox, and then choose a color from the Color Picker.
The Color Swatches panel (Window > Color Swatches) is a good place to store the colors that you use often in your images. You can select a foreground or background color by clicking a color swatch in the Color Swatches panel. You can add or delete colors to create a custom swatch library, save a library of swatches, and reload them for use in another image. You can change the way thumbnails are displayed in the Color Swatches panel by choosing an option from the More menu.
Although you can add many colors to the Color Swatches panel, you should manage its size and organization to improve performance. Creating libraries can help you group related or special swatches and manage panel size.
The Photoshop Elements installation folder\Presets\Color Swatches (for Mac, Photoshop Elements installation folder\Support Files\Presets\Color Swatches)folder contains the various swatch libraries. When you create custom libraries, saving them to the Color Swatches folder makes them automatically appear in the panel libraries pop‑up menu.
If there is a color you’d like to use often, you can save the color as a swatch in the Color Swatches panel. Saved swatches are added to the library of colors in the panel. To permanently save your custom swatches, you must save the entire library.
Click the New Swatch button at the bottom of the panel. The color swatch is added and automatically named Color Swatch 1.
Choose New Swatch from the More menu.
Position the pointer over an empty space in the bottom row of the Color Swatches panel (the pointer turns into the Paint Bucket tool), and click to add the color.
To save a library of swatches, choose Save Swatches from the More menu. To make the set appear in the panel’s swatch libraries pop‑up menu, save the file to the Photoshop Elements\Presets\Color Swatches (For Mac, Photoshop Elements\Support Files\Presets\Color Swatches) folder.
To see the new swatch set in the menu, you must restart Photoshop Elements.
To permanently remove swatches you delete, you must resave the library that contained them.
You can use the Adobe Color Picker to select the foreground or background color by choosing from a color spectrum or by defining colors numerically. In addition, you can select colors based on HSB or RGB color models, or choose to select only web‑safe colors.
Enter the hexadecimal value for your color in the text box under the RGB values. (Hexadecimal color values are often used by web designers.)
For RGB color, select a radio button and specify component values from 0 to 255 (0 is no light and 255 is the brightest light).
For HSB color, select a radio button and specify saturation and brightness as percentages; specify hue as an angle from 0° to 360° that corresponds to a location on the color wheel.
You can select colors using your system’s built‑in color picker or a plug‑in color picker. Choose Preferences > General and choose the color picker.