Sample Colors From Anywhere
On Your Monitor

You can sample colors from anywhere with Photoshop Elements Eyedropper tool. This is useful if you like a color you see somewhere else like a website.

You can get the color into Elements and use it in your image.

First go to your Toolbox and click on the Eyedropper tool which is the fourth tool from the top.

Eyedropper tool for Photoshop Elements

Next go up to the Options bar and click on the Sample Size window.
You have 3 choices:

  • Point Sample This samples the color of whatever single pixel you click your Eyedropper on
  • 3 by 3 Average This samples the average color of the 3 square pixel area surrounding the area you click on
  • 5 by 5 Average This samples the average color of the 5 square pixel area surrounding the area you click on

Options for Eyedropper tool in Photoshop Elements

I recommend using either 3-by-3 or 5-by-5 to compensate for the slight variation a single pixels' color might have. To sample a color from your Photoshop Elements image all you do is click on the color you want to pickup. This loads that color as your foreground color as shown in the image below.
Sample a color using the Eyedropper tool in Photoshop Elements

Here's the good part. You can sample a color from anywhere on your desktop. First you have to turn off Elements background so you can see your desktop from inside Elements. PC users don't have the option to turn off the background so they must float the toolbox and the contents of the Palette Bin and reposition them so that they can float the main window off to one side revealing other applications.

If your a Mac user and don't know how to turn off Elements background see my tip for Seeing your Desktop from Inside Elements.

Make sure you position whatever you want to sample so that you can see it from Elements. You might have to reduce the view of your Elements document so you can see more of your desktop. In the image below you can see my web browser behind Elements.

Now with the Eyedropper tool click anywhere inside your Elements document. Continue holding down your mouse and move your cursor over any color you can see on your desktop that you want to sample. Let go of your mouse and that color will show up in your Foreground color box, ready to use in your image. Pretty cool eh? Sample color from outside Photoshop Elements

I hope you found this tip useful.
Until next time,



  • 20 TECHNIQUES that will help you work smarter
  • 4 VIDEOS showing EXACTLY how to use the tips in Elements
  • One-page printable CHEAT SHEETS to use with Elements

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