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



  1. Luna

    February 20, 2015 at 7:14 pm

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

    • 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:

    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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