Use the Eyedropper to Quickly Copy Colors from Pictures in Microsoft PowerPoint

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated October 24, 2021

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

The Eyedropper (sometimes called the color picker) is one of those great timesaving tools that was added in PowerPoint without much fanfare. If you're designing presentations or templates and you'd like to use consistent colors (possibly your brand colors), it can take a lot of time to match colors. However, starting with PowerPoint 2013, you can now pick up and apply specific colors quickly and easily from pictures in a presentation or even web sites using the Eyedropper. The pictures can be in any format.

Note: Buttons and Ribbon tabs may display in a different way (with or without text) depending on your version of PowerPoint, the size of your screen and your Control Panel settings. For PowerPoint 365 users, Ribbon tabs may appear with different names. For example, the Picture Tools Format tab may appear as Picture Format and the Drawing Tools Format tab may appear as Drawing Format or Shape Format.

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Where to find the Eyedropper

The Eyedropper appears in any drop-down menu (in PowerPoint 2013 or later versions) that you use to pick a color. This includes Shape Fill, Shape Outline, Text Fill and Text Outline.

Below is the Shape Fill drop-down menu with the Eyedropper:

PowerPoint shape fill drop-down menu in PowerPoint with the Eyedropper or color picker.

Use the Eyedropper to pick up a color from a picture in PowerPoint and apply it to a shape

To pick up a specific color in a picture and use the color for a shape fill or outline in PowerPoint:

  1. In Normal View, select a shape on a slide to which you want to apply a matching color.
  2. Click the Drawing Tools Format, Drawing Format or Shape Format tab in the Ribbon.
  3. Click the arrow beside Shape Fill or Shape Outline. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Eyedropper.
  5. Move the mouse pointer (Eyedropper) over the picture. A color will appear in the preview window beside the Eyedropper pointer.
  6. Keep moving the mouse over the picture until you see the color you want to use.
  7. Click the desired color. PowerPoint will apply it to the shape as the color for the fill or outline.

When you move your pointer over different colors, the preview window displays the color and its RGB (Red Green Blue) color values if you pause on the color for a few seconds. To choose the exact color you want when many colors are close together, select the color by pressing Enter or the space bar.

Note the Eyedropper preview window in the sample below:

Eyedropper with preview to copy color to objects in PowerPoint.

Cancel the Eyedropper

To cancel the eyedropper without picking a color, press ESC (Escape).

Use the Eyedropper to pick up a color from an external picture or application and apply it to a shape

To match the color of an external picture or application and apply it to a shape:

  1. Resize the PowerPoint window so that you can view the window of the other application. You could do this by clicking the Restore button on the top right of the PowerPoint window.
  2. In PowerPoint, in Normal View, select the shape on a slide to which you want to apply a matching color.
  3. Click the Drawing Tools Format, Drawing Format or Shape Format tab in the Ribbon.
  4. Click the drop-down menu for the color you want to copy.
  5. Select Eyedropper.
  6. Left-click in the slide and drag your mouse (do not release the mouse button). You will now be able to move your mouse outside of the PowerPoint window.
  7. Hover over areas outside of the PowerPoint window until you see the color you want to use in the preview.
  8. Release the mouse on your desired color to apply that color to the selected shape.

Use the Eyedropper with text

The Eyedropper appears in the Font Color and Text Color drop-down menu on the Home tab in the Ribbon.

To use the Eyedropper to copy a color to the font color of text:

  1. Select the text and click the Home tab in the Ribbon.
  2. Click the arrow beside Font Color in the Font group. A drop-down menu appears.
  3. Select Eyedropper.
  4. Move the mouse pointer over the picture. A color will appear in the preview window beside the Eyedropper pointer.
  5. Keep moving the mouse over the picture until you see the color you want to use.
  6. Click the desired color. PowerPoint will apply it to the text as the color for the fill or outline.

Below is text with color matched from the picture on the left using Text Fill in the WordArt Styles group:

Eyedropper or color picker used to copy a precise color to text from an image.

For precise color matching, the Eyedropper is a fantastic tool if you have PowerPoint 2013 or later versions.

This article was originally published on September 11, 2016 and has been updated for clarity and content.

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More resources

10 PowerPoint Drawing Tricks and Shortcuts

How to Quickly Change Shapes in PowerPoint (2 Ways)

How to Make an Object Appear and Disappear in PowerPoint

How to Crop an Image into a Circle in PowerPoint (Crop to Shape Method)

How to Add Animation in PowerPoint (Animate Text, Images and Other Objects)

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Summary
How to Use the Eyedropper in PowerPoint to Match Colors
Article Name
How to Use the Eyedropper in PowerPoint to Match Colors
Description
In newer versions of PowerPoint, you can match colors by picking up and applying specific colors from a picture on a slide or even on a web site using the Eyedropper. Sometimes called the color picker, the Eyedropper is great if you want to copy specific colors from a picture and paste them to text or an object.
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Avantix Learning

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