How to Import a Color Palette Into Paint.NET

Painter's pallete superimposed upon a laptop

 pagadesign/E+/Getty Images

Color Scheme Designer is a handy free web application for producing color schemes. It is ideal for helping you to develop attractive and harmonious color palettes and it is able to export the color schemes in formats that allow them to be imported into GIMP and Inkscape.

Unfortunately, Paint.NET users do not have the convenience of this option, but there is a simple workaround that could be a useful trick if you want to use a Color Scheme Designer palette in the popular pixel-based image editor.

Take a Screen Shot of a Color Scheme

The first step is to produce a color palette using the Color Scheme Designer.

Once you've finished producing a scheme that you're happy with, go to the Export menu and select HTML+CSS. This will open a new window or tab with a page containing two representations of the color scheme that you produced. Scroll the window down so that the lower and smaller palette is visible and then take a screenshot. You can do this by selecting the Print Screen key on your keyboard. Ensure that you move the mouse cursor so that it isn't on top of the palette.

Open Paint.NET

Now open Paint.NET and, if the Layers dialog isn't open, go to Window > Layers to open it.

Now click the Add New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers dialog to insert a new transparent layer on top of the background. The tutorial on the Layers dialog in Paint.NET will help to explain this step if necessary.

Check that the new layer is active (it will be highlighted blue if it is) and then go to Edit > Paste. If you get a warning about the pasted image being larger than the canvas size, click Keep canvas size. This will paste the screenshot onto the new blank layer.

Position the Color Palette

If you can't see all of the small palette, click on the document and drag the pasted screenshot to your preferred position so that you can see all of the colors in the small palette.

To neaten this step off and also to make this palette easier to work with, you can delete the rest of the screenshot that surrounds the palette. The next step will show how to do this.

Delete the Area Surrounding the Palette

You can use the Rectangle Select tool to delete the unneeded parts of the screenshot.

Click on the Rectangle Select tool in the top left of the Tools dialog and draw a rectangular selection around the small color palette. Next, go to Edit > Invert Selection, followed by Edit > Erase Selection. This will leave you with just a small color palette sat on its own layer.

How to Use the Color Palette

You can now select colors from the color palette using the Color Picker tool and use these to color objects on other layers. When you don't need to select a color from the palette, you can hide the layer by clicking the Layer Visibility box. Try to remember to keep the colors palette as the uppermost layer so that it will always be fully visible when you turn the layer visibility back on.

While this isn't as convenient as importing GPL palette files into GIMP or Inkscape, you could save all the colors of a color scheme into a palette in the Colors dialog and then delete the layer with the color palette, once you've saved a copy of the palette.