How-To

How to Add the Color Wheel in Photoshop CS6

Photoshop has a built-in hue color wheel that goes ignored by many. If you aren’t familiar with this tool you can give it a try without changing any complicated settings.

The color picker in Photoshop is easily one of the most-used tools when you are creating original work. In CS6 the default color picker is a boring hue box. Some people prefer the box, but if you’re like me the hue wheel is so much more appealing. I’ll show you how to change it in just a few steps.

In Photoshop click the Edit tab on the menubar and select Preferences > General. You can also press Ctrl + K as a shortcut to open this.

edit > preferences > general

In the General tab of preferences click the HUD Color Picker dropdown and select the Hue Wheel. There are 4 different sizes available and I prefer the small one as the others take up most of the screen. Press OK to save changes and exit.

preferences > general > hue wheel small

Now just press Alt + Shift + Right-click (mouse) to open up the color wheel.

alt shift right click

In case you’re curious about the different sizes, I snapped a shot of each of them below. These screenshots are ordered from smallest to largest.

small wheel

unlabeled wheel

medium wheel

large wheel

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Luna

    February 20, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Hi, how would I bring it up on a mac laptop with no mouse?
    Thanks!

    • RyomaKuumi

      June 3, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      For Mac, use the Command-Alt-Control, and touch your trackpad/tablet.

  2. Louis

    March 26, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Hi I followed the steps and it’s really good except that my colour wheel looks like this:

    http://www.trurodiocese.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Colour-wheel-hud-problems.jpg

    Any ideas?

    • clawjelly

      June 26, 2015 at 1:53 am

      You have text selected. Just rightclick somedwhere else than the selected text as a workaround.

  3. Chris

    December 27, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I followed the steps but shift+Alt+right click does nothing. I have move button selected.
    I am using PS CC.

    • Chris

      December 27, 2015 at 12:10 pm

      opps! I found it duh. Select brush or pencil first

      • chris

        December 26, 2022 at 2:53 pm

        I tried it and it does not work. How did you get it to work?

  4. Lu

    April 27, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    So how do I keep it open? As soon as I’m not holding down the key combo it vanishes. Hugely frustrating.

    • RyomaKuumi

      May 5, 2016 at 10:10 am

      I don’t think it is possible to do so.
      If you want to have a fixed color wheel, try using Coolorus 2.
      It’s a plugin/add-on that is widely used by artists.

  5. jaspreet

    April 20, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Its not working with the mac shortcut, is there a way to change the hotkeys ?

  6. Junipero

    September 19, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Also MagicPicker color wheel for Photoshop (it’s a plugin) works pretty cool for this! You can keep it open, closed, come up with a shortcut and switch modes etc.

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