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Revision Date: 6 July 2016

Colors Window Colors Window icon

The Colors Window is used to set the Primary and Secondary colors and to manage palettes.

Paint.net allows two colors to be selected, a Primary color and a Secondary color.  These may be considered 'slots' where any hue can be held for quick access. Many effects use both the Primary and Secondary color slots.

Show/Hide the Colors Window

The Colors Window can be hidden by pressing the F8 key or clicking the Colors icon.

Colors Window icon
Colors Window icon

Clicking the Colors icon or pressing F8 key again toggles the visibility of the window back on.

Resetting the Colors Window

The window can be reset to its original position (including docking) by pressing Ctrl + Shift + F8 or by holding down Ctrl + Shift and clicking the Colors icon.

Relocating the Colors Window

The Colors Window can be relocated by clicking and dragging it by the title bar.

Using the Colors Window

Colors Window
Colors Window
  1. Primary/Secondary Color Selector

    The drop down list has two options to activate either the Primary or Secondary color slots.  Choosing an option activates the color slot. The color held in the slot will be used for subsequent editing operations.

    Tip

    Use the shortcut key C to quickly switch between Primary and Secondary colors.

  2. More » Button

    Click this button to expand the Colors Window to reveal detailed color information about the color held in the active color slot (Primary or Secondary). The entire palette of 96 colors will be visible in the expanded window.

    Expanded Colors Window
    Expanded Colors Window

    The RGB (Red, Green & Blue), HSV (Hue, Saturation & Value) and Opacity sliders are used to change the attributes of the color in the active color slot.

    Hexadecimal values for the color in the active color slot are displayed and are editable within the text box. New hex values can be pasted into the text box to generate a new color.

    In expanded mode, the More button is renamed "Less".  Clicking the button in this form returns the Colors Window to its minimized (default) size.

  3. Current Color Selection

    The overlapping squares in the upper left of the Colors Window show the currently selected Primary (foreground square) and Secondary (background square) colors.

    Current Color Selection Icons
    Current Color Selection Icons

    The double headed arrow icon situated at the upper right of the Current Color Selection icon swaps the colors in the Primary and Secondary color slots.

    The black and white icon to the lower left of the Current Color Selection icon installs the default Black and White colors as Primary and Secondary color slots respectively. The keyboard shortcut for this icon is C.  Use this key to quickly swap the active color.

  4. Color Wheel

    The Color Wheel is used to make color selection to the currently active color slot. If the Primary color is active, clicking on the color wheel will install the color clicked on to the Primary color slot, and vice versa.

    Holding down the Ctrl key with the pointer in the Color Wheel limits color selections to the same radius as the currently selected color.  This is the same as changing the Hue (H) in the expanded Color Window's HSV section.

    Color Wheel + Ctrl
    Color Wheel modifier: Ctrl

    Holding down the Alt key with the pointer in the Color Wheel limits color selections to a single spoke in the Color Wheel.  The spoke will be generated through the current color.  This is the same as changing the Saturation (S) value in the expanded Color Window's HSV section.

    Color Wheel + Alt
    Color Wheel modifier: Alt

    Holding down the Shift key with the pointer in the Color Wheel limits color selections to specific spokes in the Color Wheel.  The current color may not be located on one of the spokes. This is the same as changing the Saturation (S) (changes on a single spoke) and/or Hue (H) (changes from spoke to spoke) in the expanded Color Window's HSV section.

    Color Wheel + Shift
    Color Wheel modifier: Shift
  5. Palette Controls

    These controls are used to manage palettes. For more information see the Working with Palettes section.

    Palette tools
    Palette Controls
  6. Palette

    This control is used to quickly select one of the colors in the current palette. Left click on a color shade to load it into the Primary color slot.  Right clicking will load the color shade into the Secondary color slot.

    When the Colors window is at it's smaller size, only 32 colors of the current palette are show.  When the Colors window is expanded the entire palette of 96 shades is shown.

    For more information on palettes, see the Working with Palettes section.