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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Sampling Color

You can sample a color from anywhere on your screen, including other Fireworks documents, non-Fireworks documents, and your desktop. You can use the colors that you sample as the colors of your fills and strokes for your current artwork. This process is known as sampling.


Your monitor needs to be at 32-bit color depth to get the best, and most accurate, sample. 24-bit is okay, but not 16-bit; it just doesn't provide the quality you need.

Applying Color That's Sampled from Your Screen

Sampling enables you to identify and use the exact color that you want. It also enables you to identify a color's hexadecimal value before and after you apply it to selected objects. Here's how to use sampling:

  1. Select a stroke or fill Color box on the Tools panel or from any of the other Color boxes in the program. The Color box pop-up window appears (see Figure 5.2). The pointer changes to an eyedropper.

  2. Figure 5.2Figure 5.2 The Color box pop-up window with the eyedropper cursor.

  3. Move the cursor around the screen. Notice the hexadecimal value that's displayed in the field at the top of the Color box pop-up window.

  4. Click anywhere onscreen to select a color. If an object is currently selected, the color is applied to the selected object.

  5. On a Windows machine, you must click and hold the mouse button and move your cursor over the color that you want to sample. Release the mouse over that color, and it is inserted into the field at the top center and appears as the current color in the Color box.

    Hint: Hold the Shift key to shift colors to web-safe colors as you sample them.

Changing Color Sets

Fireworks enables you to use different color sets from which to create your artwork:

  1. Click any of the Color boxes throughout the program. The Color box pop-up window appears.

  2. Click the Color box panel's Options pop-up menu in the upper-right corner to display the color sets.

  3. As you can see in Figure 5.3, the options are Color Cubes, Continuous Tone, Windows System, Macintosh System, and Grayscale.

Figure 5.1Figure 5.3 The Color options pop-up menu is expanded by using the control circled at the top right of the Color box panel.

You can add, delete, sort, and replace color swatches in the Swatches panel if you so desire. The colors changed automatically updates in the Color box pop-up windows as well.


Changes to the Swatches panel cannot be undone by using Edit, Undo.

Working with Swatches

To add a color from a Fireworks document to the Swatches panel by using the Eyedropper tool, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Eyedropper tool from the Tools panel.

  2. Move the cursor around the screen and click the color that you want to add. To select a color outside of Fireworks on a Windows machine, hold the mouse button as you move the cursor out of the Fireworks program window. Release the mouse button.

  3. On a Mac, you don't have to hold the mouse button. Just click to sample the color.

  4. In the Swatches panel, move the pointer to an open space after the last swatch. The pointer becomes the paint-bucket cursor.

  5. Click the empty swatch to dump your color into it.

After you add colors to the Swatches panel, you can save them. To save a selection of your sampled colors, display the Swatches panel, if it's not already showing, and follow these steps:

  1. Click the Options pop-up box (use the right-pointing arrow) at the top of the Swatches panel.

  2. Choose Save Swatches. The Save As dialog box appears.

  3. Give your swatches a name. Fireworks adds the .act extension, which saves the color as a swatches file. Click Save.

To delete a swatch from the Swatches panel, simply hold the Ctrl key (for Windows) or the Command key (for a Macintosh) and move your cursor over a swatch. Then, click the swatch to delete it from the Swatches panel.

To clear an entire Swatches panel, click the Options pop-up arrow at the top of the Swatches panel to reveal the swatches options. Then, click Clear Swatches.

To return to the default color swatches, click to reveal the swatches options, and choose Color Cubes. You can sort the swatches by color by choosing Sort By Color from the Swatches panel Options pop-up menu.

If you have saved your own swatches set, you can load your swatches by following these steps:

  1. Click the Swatches panel Options pop-up box. Select Add Swatches.

  2. Navigate to the Swatches panel that you saved. It is an .act file.

  3. Select it and click Open to add it to the current swatches.

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