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The NSColorPanel class provides the standard colour picker. It also provides a set of swatches at the bottom. Here is how to get at the swatches (works on Leopard 10.5.2, not tested on anything else…)

Note that the ordering of the indices is column-major, so the colours are arranged as

0 10 20 30 … 340 1 11 21 31 … 341 2 12 22 32 … 342 … 9 19 29 39 … 349

Anyway, here’s the code.

// Load swatches [[[NSColorPanel sharedColorPanel] valueForKey:@”_colorSwatch”] readColors];

// Get the NSColorSwatch’s internal mutable array of NSColors NSMutableArray *colors = [[[NSColorPanel sharedColorPanel] valueForKey:@”_colorSwatch”] valueForKey:@”colors”];

// Add a new NSColor [colors replaceObjectAtIndex:8 withObject:[NSColor redColor]];

// Find all those swatches which aren’t the default white. NSMutableArray *userSwatches = [[NSMutableArray alloc] init]; NSEnumerator *e = [[[[NSColorPanel sharedColorPanel] valueForKey:@”_colorSwatch”] valueForKey:@”colors”] objectEnumerator]; NSColor *color; while( color = (NSColor *)[e nextObject] ) { if( [color colorSpace] == [NSColorSpace genericGrayColorSpace] && [color whiteComponent] == 1.0 ) continue; [userSwatches addObject:color]; }

// Save changes [[[NSColorPanel sharedColorPanel] valueForKey:@”_colorSwatch”] writeColors];

Note that you need to do

[NSApplication sharedAppcliation];

or something similar at least once (which is already done in Cocoa applications) before you can access the NSColorPanel. (This is a note for those who want to manipulate the swatches from the command line.)

NSApplicationLoad() is the function to call when using AppKit outside of a GUI application.

Many thanks for sharing this. I was looking for information on how to access the colours in the swatch and was surprised there was nothing in the public NSColorPanel methods, so this was really helpful. I wanted to provide a contextual menu with the user-defined swatch colours in it, so I used the above code to create an NSColorPanel category that makes this easy. I’ve tested this on Tiger (10.4.11) and Leopard (10.5.2), but it should (hopefully) fail safely if it stops working. Here’s the code:

@interface NSColorPanel (SwatchAdditions)

@implementation NSColorPanel (SwatchAdditions)


Many thanks again to the op for sharing. KB