User Guide


ColorHelper is a CSS/SCSS/Sass tooltip. When the cursor is on a CSS color, the tooltip will appear. When entering a color into a supported file, the color palette panel will be triggered so you can optionally insert a color from a saved palette. The panel will popup after either: #, rgb(, rgba(, hsl( or hsla(.


Popups are provided by the mdpopups dependency.

Color Info

The Color Info Panel will show a preview of the color, and other format variations of the color such as: color name, hex, rgb, rgba, hsl, and hsla format; if desired, you can convert the selected color to one of the shown formats by clicking the link to the left.

color info

From the color info panel, you can launch a color picker, bookmark colors as a favorite, add/save the current color to a palette of your choice, or open the Palette Panel to select a pre-saved color from an existing palette.

Color Picker

The internal color picker can be launched from the view's context menu, the command palette, or from the Color Info Panel. When launched it will use the color under the cursor (if available) as its starting color. The internal color picker is contained inside a tooltip. It has a color map section at the top where different colors can be selected. It shows various valid CSS formats of the colors at the bottom. And it shows either rgba channels or hlsa channels; a toggle is available to switch between them.

color picker

The color channels are coarse, but can generally allow you to get close to a color that you like. As you select colors in the channel the selections will shift revealing more selections until the bounds of the color channel are reached. If you need finer selections, you can click the label to the left and scrollable tooltip with much finer selections will appear so that you can select the best suited value.

fine channel picker

If you would like to pick from a list of CSS color names, you can select the CSS color names link and a CSS Color Names panel will open:

CSS color names

If you would like to directly enter a different color, you can select the enter new color option. An input panel will be open that can receive a color in the hex form of #RRGGBBAA where RR is the red channel, GG is the green channel, BB is the blue channel, and AA is the alpha channel.

To select a color, just click the >>> link to the right of the CSS format you want.

Add Color Panel

The Add Color Panel presents the user with the option of either adding a color to an existing palette or creating a new global or project palette and adding the color to it.

add color palette

When creating a new palette, the user will be presented with a input box to type the name of the palette to create.

Palette Panel

The Palette panel will allow you to view the current saved palettes: favorites, saved user palette, and saved project palettes.


The Favorites palette and user palettes are found in your Packages/User/color_helper.palettes. Project palettes are stored in your actual project file; if one does not exist, it will be stored in memory.

By clicking a palette, you will be taken to the Color Panel to select a color to insert into the current document. You can also access the Palette Delete Panel directly.

Palette Delete Panel

The Palette Delete Panel allows a user to delete an existing palette. The only palettes that cannot be deleted is the Favorites palette and the Current Colors palette (if enabled).

delete palette

To delete a palette, a user simply clicks a palette and it will be removed.

Color Panel

The Color Panel allows you to click a color to insert it at your current color position.

color palette

You can also bring up the Color Delete Panel from the view's context menu or the command palette.

Color Delete Panel

The Color Delete Panel can delete any color from the given palette. A user simply clicks the color to remove, and it will be removed.

color delete palette


Settings for Color Helper are contained within the color_helper.sublime-settings file.


Enable/disable auto popups.

    // Show popups automatically in configured files.
    "auto_popup": true,


Enable/disable inline color previews. inline_previews generates an image previews after the identified color in your source file. You can click the preview to bring up the ColorHelper panel.



ColorHelper does it best to calculate the correct size for inline images, but with some font's or screen resolutions (or for a reason I don't quite understand) it will get it wrong and create an image larger (or maybe smaller) than your line height which may cause an undesirable look. Set this value to either a positive or negative value which will be applied to the inline preview's image size.

    // Adjust the size of inline image previews by the offset given.
    // Please use either a positive or negative number.
    "inline_preview_offset": 0,

If you need to set this per OS or per host, you can via multiconf.


Previews can be positioned to the left or right of a color. Set this value to "left" or "right to toggle its behavior.

    // Adjust the position of inline image previews.
    // (left|right)
    "inline_preview_position": "left",


When inserting a color from the tooltip, this setting will determine if hex colors get uppercased or lowercased.

    // Upper case hex when inserting
    "upper_case_hex": false,


Will determine if a HTML color name will be shown for the currently selected colors. If inserting a web color name, transparency will be removed.

    // Use webcolor names when value color matches a webcolor name.
    "use_webcolor_names": true,


This will make the color preview box in the Color Info Panel clickable. When set to color_picker and clicked, it will open the color picker via the ColorPicker plugin (if installed). When set to palette_picker and clicked, it will open the Palette Panel. The respective menu item will not be shown in the Color Info Panel once relocated to the color preview.

    // Color picker and palette picker by default
    // are accessed by clicking an icon on the color info panel.
    // Click access for one of thesecan be moved to the color box
    // (visual representation of the color).
    // (none|color_picker|palette_picker)
    "click_color_box_to_pick": "none",


Controls the size of generated graphics. Graphics in the tooltips look best large as Sublime slightly distorts images, but on small screens, some of the tooltips (especially the internal color picker) may be too large. graphic_size can be used to control the size of these generated images. Valid settings are small, medium, and large where medium is the default.

    // If the color picker is too big, try playing with this.
    // Graphics in tooltips usually look better bigger (especially in HiDPI),
    // but that can make the tooltips really big. If they are too big,
    // you can play with this setting.  We compromise with medium.
    // (small | medium | large)
    "graphic_size": "medium",

If you need to set this per OS or per host, you can via multiconf.


Enables the ability to launch the color picker from the tooltip. By default, the internal color picker will be used. If you have @weslly's ColorPicker package installed, you can use use_color_picker_package to use it instead of the internal color picker.

    // Enable color picker option.  Will use native color picker
    // unless "use_color_picker_package" is enabled and external
    // package is installed.
    "enable_color_picker": true,


Enables or disables the use of the hex color picker. When enabled, the color picker has a hex shape as the colors fan out from the white center. If disabled, the color picker will be a rectangular one that shows the colors by hue and by brightness.

    // This can be turned off to get a rectangular color picker
    // That displays possible options by hue and brightness/luminance.
    "use_hex_color_picker": true,
Disabled look
alternate color picker


If you have @weslly's [ColorPicker][color-picker] package installed, user_color_picker_package will cause it to override the default color picker, but only the default color picker supports transparency.

    // Use for the color picker if installed.
    "use_color_picker_package": false,


Enables showing user palettes (found in Packages/User/color_helper.palettes) in the Palette Panel.

    // Show global palettes in palette panel
    "enable_global_user_palettes": true,


Enables showing the Favorites palette (found in Packages/User/color_helper.palettes) in the Palette Panel.

    // Enable storing favorite colors to the favorite palette
    "enable_favorite_palette": true,


Enables scanning of the current active view buffer for colors and showing them in the Current Colors palette in the Palette Panel.

    // Enable showing current file color palette
    "enable_current_file_palette": true,


Enables showing and storing of user palettes in the project file. Project palettes will be shown in the Palette Panel.

    // Enable project palettes in palette panel (Palettes stored in project file).
    "enable_project_user_palettes": true


Enables showing the color conversion options on the Color Info Panel.

    // Enable color conversion options on color info panel
    "enable_color_conversions": true,


Set whether indexing status is shown in the status bar.

    // Show index status in the status bar.
    "show_index_status": true,


Temporary workaround for Windows 10 HiDPI setups that reduces image sizes.

    // For Windows 10 HiDPI setups.  This is a temporary workaround
    // to help reduce abnormally large color previews and other images.
    // This will be removed once the issue is fixed in Sublime Text 3.
    "line_height_workaround": false,


Setting to control color scanning which is responsible for both auto-popups and constructing "Current File Palette".

color_scanning is an array of rules. Each rule can target file(s) and enable certain scanning certain scopes for specific colors. Each rule is a dictionary. syntax_files, base_scopes, and extensions or used to target the a file for scanning; you can use a specific one, or multiple.

    "color_scanning": [
            "syntax_files": [],
            "syntax_filter": "whitelist",
            "base_scopes": [
            "scan_scopes": [
                // CSS, CSS in HTML etc. (based on: Sublime Default)
                " -comment -string",
                // CSS3, CSS3 in HTML etc. (based on:
                "meta.value.css -comment -string",
                // HTML attributes (based on: Sublime Default)
                "meta.tag.inline.any.html string.quoted",
            "scan_completion_scopes": [],
            "extensions": [],
            "allowed_colors": ["css3"],
            "use_hex_argb": false,
            "compress_hex_output": true


syntax_files is an array of syntax file (tmLanguage or sublime-syntax)names and are relative to Packages (extensions should be excluded). They are used to filter views that will be targeted for scanning. Depending on how syntax_filter is set, syntax_files will either require the files to be in the list or not in the list. If syntax_files is set as an empty array, all views will be targeted unless filtered further by other settings.

Assuming that you have a tmLanguage file Packages/CSS/CSS.tmLanguage:

    "color_scanning": [
            "syntax_files": ["CSS/CSS"],


syntax_filter will cause syntax_files to be treated as either a blacklist or whitelist. Acceptable values are "blacklist" and "whitelist". "whitelist" is the default setting.

    "color_scanning": [
            "syntax_filter": "whitelist",


base_scopes is used to target specific file views that are syntax highlighted with a specific base scope. This allows you to target multiple syntax highlighters that all use the same base scope. base_scopes is an array; if the array is left empty, all views will be targeted unless filtered further by other settings.

    "color_scanning": [
            "base_scopes": ["source.css"],


extensions is used to target specific file views that a file name with the specified extension(s). extensions is an array; if the array is left empty, all views will be targeted unless filtered further by other settings. For this setting to work the file usually must exist on disk as views that do not exist on text usually do not have a file name.

    "color_scanning": [
            "extensions": [".css"],


scan_scopes is an array of scopes that will be searched for colors. Scopes in this array contain usually tmTheme scope syntax, so you can include scopes or exclude scopes etc.

In the example below, we target, but only if it is not also scoped as a string or a comment.

    "color_scanning": [
            "scan_scopes": [" -comment -string"]


scan_completion_scopes is an array of scopes that will be searched for certain syntax for color completions. This is used only if scan_scopes is not sufficient to also capture colors that need to be completed. For example: sometimes scan_scopes is not broad enough to capture incomplete colors, but we don't want to generally want to scan so broadly when scanning an entire file for complete colors. Scopes in this array contain usually tmTheme scope syntax, so you can include scopes or exclude scopes etc.

In the example below, we target source.scss and source.sass, but only if they are not also scoped as string or comment.

    "color_scanning": [
            "scan_completion_scopes": [
                "source.scss -comment -string",
                "source.sass -comment -string"


allowed_colors defines which colors will be scanned for in a specific file. It is an array of strings where each strings specifies a color type or category of colors to scan for.

Value Description
webcolors CSS3 color names plus CSS4's rebeccapurple.
hex Hex colors in the form of #RRGGBB.
hex_compressed Hex colors in the form of #RGB.
hexa Hex colors with an alpha channel in the form #RRGGBBAA or #AARRGGBB if use_hex_argb is set to true.
hexa_compressed Hex colors with an alpha channel in the form #RGBA or #ARGB if use_hex_argb is set to true.
rgb RGB colors in the form rgb(255, 128, 0) or rgb(100%, 50%, 0%).
rgba RGBA colors in the form rgb(255, 128, 0, .5) or rgb(100%, 50%, 0%, .5). It also supports CSS4's alpha as a percentage format: rgb(100%, 50%, 0%, 50%).
hsl HSL colors in the form hsl(360, 100%, 50%).
hsla HSLA colors in the form hsla(360, 100%, 50%, .5). It also supports CSS4's alpha as a percentage format: hsla(360, 100%, 50%, 50%).
gray CSS4's gray format: gray(255) or gray(100%).
graya CSS4's gray with alpha format: gray(255, .5) or gray(100%, .5). It also supports alpha as a percentage format: gray(100%, 50%).
hwb CSS4's HWB color format: hwb(360, 50%, 100%).
hwba CSS4's HWBA color format: hwb(360, 50%, 100%, 5) or hwb(360, 50%, 100%, 50%).
css3 All CSS3 formats: webcolors, hex, hex_compressed, rgb, rgba, hsl, hsla.
css4 All CSS4 formats: css3, gray, graya, hwb, hwba, hexa, hexa_compressed.
all All color formats.
    "color_scanning": [
            "allowed_colors": ["css3"]


When scanning and processing hex rgb colors with alpha channels, process them as and output them with the alpha channel first opposed to at the end. By default the value is false.

    "color_scanning": [
            "use_hex_argb": true


When outputting hex formats compress the color if possible #334455#345. The default is false.

    "color_scanning": [
            "compress_hex_output": true


Certain settings that lend them self better to be setting up per OS or per host will be configured to use multiconf. multiconf is a library that will parse a setting as a normal setting or a per OS and/or per host setting (if configured properly). For the settings that have this enabled, you can optionally use the format below to specify the setting per OS or per host.

The optional multiconf format requires a dictionary with a special identifier #multiconf# and a list of dictionaries identified by a qualifier of the form

    "<qualifier name>:<qualifier value>[;<qualifier name>:<qualifier value>]..."

For example, the following setting

    "user_home": "/home"

would result in get("user_home") returning the value "/home" but it could also be replaced with

    "user_home":  {
                    "#multiconf#": [
                        {"os:windows": "C:\\Users"},
                        {"os:linux;host:his_pc": "/home"},
                        {"os:linux;host:her_pc": "/home/her/special"}

Now the same configuration file will provide different values depending on the machine it's on. On an MS Windows machine the value returned by get will be "C:\Users", and on a Linux machine with the host name his_pc the value will be "/home", etc.