Help, Help! My Color Selector Palette Is Gone!
I just tried to change the color of a layer in my ArcMap session and my color selector palette has gotten corrupt; all of the default color swatches had disappeared and were replaced with many “odd” colors. After a moment’s panic, it was rather clear where all of the bogus colors had come from – my recent overuse of the eye dropper tool. The eye dropper tool in ArcMap can be a very useful feature for many reasons. I’ve been using it to test the apparent RGB colors on some transparent layers (attempting to avoid the known issue of flattening PDF exports when transparency is applied while raster layers are also in the data frame).
If you don’t use the eye dropper tool or didn’t know about it, it can be accessed in Customize Menu > Customize Mode. Click on the Commands tab. I find it easiest to type “eye dropper” into the search box (who wants to sift through all those commands?!?), but it is located in the Page Layout Category on the left. The Eye Dropper tool can then be found in the “abbreviated” commands list on the right. The tool can then be drug into any of the existing toolbars. I’m hoping that ESRI will at some point allow the user to create a custom toolbar, just like creating a style file… maybe this already exists somehow?
So, I’ve lost the convenient, yet limited color palate that ESRI has given me and I want it back, darn it! What happened in this case was that the eye dropper doesn’t just spit out the RGB values for the location you clicked, but saves it into ArcMap’s memory, which is why the color palette doesn’t reset when you close out and open a new map document. It may seem like the color swatches are lost forever, but the solution is much easier than you think. If ArcMap can remember these strange color swatches, they must be saved somewhere. In fact, they have been written to a style file. The solution to getting the default color palette back is to simply delete this style file but be warned, this will delete all of the color swatches that were just created.
The style file that must be deleted is located in the following directory:
With all ArcGIS applications closed, delete the [computer username].style file. It will be recreated next time you open ArcMap, with all of its default settings.
So, if you really needed one of those color swatches, my recommendation is to create a custom, project-specific style file. You can save some of the color swatches to this style file before you recreate the default one. Then, you can add and remove this style file from your map document at will… ahh, freedom!