Color Manager

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Origin provides a Color Manager tool to customize the Color List and Palettes used in Origin.

  • You can specify which Origin Color Lists and Palettes to show in the GUI.
  • You can import the Color Lists and Palettes from web or files.
  • You can create a new Color Lists and Palettes according to your customization.

To open the Color Manager dialog box:

  1. Click Preference: Color Manager or press CTRL + SHIFT + O.

Color Manager.png

Available Color Lists or Palettes

In the left panel Color Manager tool, it lists all available Color Lists / Palettes. Note: These Color Lists / Palettes are not all show in the GUI of Origin.

Click on the Name cell for the Color Lists / Palettes, then you can rename them. Click on the Category drop-down list, you can set them to Undefined/ Sequential/ Diverging/ Qualitative Category.

Click on the header of Name or Category to order this list by Name or Category.

Managing Color Lists or Palettes in the GUI

In the right panel Color Manager tool, it lists the Color Lists / Palettes that you can select in GUI for customizing colors.

To add a Color List / Palette to the current GUI
  • Select a available Color List / Palette in the left panel. (You can use Shift' or Ctrl to select multiple Color List / Palette)
  • Click the Button Select To Right.png button to add the selected Color List / Palette to right panel.
To remove the the Color List(s) / Palette(s) from the GUI
  • Highlight the Color List(s) / Palette(s) in the Selected for GUI list .
  • Click the Button Select To Left.png button to remove it.
To order Color Lists / Palettes showing in the GUI
  • Click on the click on the desired Color List / Palette.
  • Use Button Layer Contents Up.png and Button Layer Contents Down.png button to rearrange the order.
To edit a Color List or Palette
  • Right-click on a Color List or Palette and choose Edit Color.
  • To edit built-in Lists or Palettes you can first Duplicate them. The duplicate is editable.
  • Color Lists and Palettes are edited using the Build Colors dialog.
To delete Custom Color Lists or Palettes
  • In the left panel, right-click on the custom List or Palette and choose Delete.

Import Color Lists or Palettes

Origin supports to import Color Lists or Palettes from website or local files. When the new Color List or Palette is imported, it is added in both Available and Selected for GUI lists.

Note that, by default, any imported palette of less than 20 colors will be saved as a color list (.oth) instead of a palette (.pal). Modify this behavior by changing the value of system variable @MPS.

Import from Web

Click on this button, it will pop up a dialog for entering the URL for a Color List or Palette on website.

Origin supplies some URL samples in the drop-down list ,you can select them to import the Color Lists or Palettes.

Import from Web.png

Import from Files

Click on this button, you can select the local file of Color List / Palette on your machine.

You can import these file formats: Scribus (.xml), CorelDraw and Corel PhotoPaint (.xml), Office Color Table (.soc), Adobe Color (.aco), Adobe Color Table (.act), Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ase), JASC PaintShopPro (.pal) and GNUPlot Palette (.pal).

With the exception of the XML formats, these palette files can also be added by drag-and-drop.

Add a New Color List or Palette

Click New button to open this Build Colors dialog. In this dialog, you can add custom the color list as you need.

Build Color List.png

Color List

In the left panel, it shows the Color List with Hex color code.

Color List.png

Add, Insert or Delete a Color
  • Click the button Color List Add button.png or right-click on the Color List and select Add to add a color item to the bottom of the Color List. Then specify a color using the various Colors controls (including the eyedropper tool) and click Replace.
  • To insert a color, highlight a list color and click Insert to insert a Current color item above the highlighted color. Use some combination of the Colors controls (including the eyedropper tool) to create a New color, then click Replace.
  • To remove a highlighted color, click the button Color List Delete button.png or right-click on a color and select Delete.
Rearrange Color List
  • Click the Flip button Color List Flip button.png to flip the color list.
  • Click the Move Up Color List Up button.png or Move Down Color List Down button.png buttons to move the highlighted color one position in the list.
  • Click the Move to Top Color List Top button.png button to move the highlighted color to the top of the list; click the Move to Bottom Color List Bottom button.png button to move the highlighted color to the bottom of the list.
  • You can also drag list numbers to rearrange the order of the Color List.
Load Increment List or Palette

Right-click on Color List, and select Load Increment List or Load Palette to load an Increment List or Palette. Then you can do modify this Color List and save it as a new one.

Define colors

Use the middle panel to define a color and add it to the Color List.

You can define colors in one of three ways:

  • Manipulate the cross-hair and slider to pick a color.
  • Click the eyedropper tool, then click on the desired color in another portion of your workspace.
  • Enter the value of RGB, HSL or HEX of color in edit boxes.
Add or Replace Colors.png
  1. To replace a list color, define the color, select the list color to replace, then click Replace.
  2. To append a new color to the list, define the color and click Add as New.
  3. Click Rename to put the selected list color into renaming mode where you can click on the hex color code beside the color block and give your color a name (note that system colors -- e.g. "Red" -- cannot be renamed).


Click the Interpolate button in the right panel. In the pop-up dialog, you can choose to Interpolate by Group, set the Interpolation Type and the number of colors to be interpolated.

Interpolate Color List.png
  • Use this dialog to generate both palettes and color lists.
  • Palettes and color lists can be interpolated from as few as 2 colors.
  • Use Interpolate by Group to expand a color list/palette (Group Members < No. of Colors for each Group) or to reduce a color list/palette (Group Members > No. of Colors for each Group).
UG Color Manager interpolate.png

Interplolate by Group

Interpolate by Group: When checked, two edit boxes are added:

  • Group Member specifies the number of color blocks to group together in the existing sequence of colors (minimum of two blocks needed for a "group").
  • No. of Colors for each Group specifies the number of interpolated colors that should result from each "group."
UG build colors interpolate by group.png

Interpolation Type

You can specify these four Interpolation Type(s).

  • Linear
  • Spline
  • B-Spline
  • Akima Spline

For information on algorithms for each interpolation method, you can refer to the X-Function interp1xy

Apply Generate a Preview.
OK Accept the Preview, close the dialog and add the Color List/Palette to the Color Manager.
Cancel Discard the Preview, close the Interpolate dialog and return to the original list.

Set Name and Category

Bottom Name edit box is used to custom the name for the user-defined color list.

Color List Name Category.png


  • Sequential: The colors in this kind of color list are gradually changing between two main colors. And this changing is single-hue.
  • Diverging: The colors in this kind of color list are gradually changing between three main colors. And this changing is multi-hue.
  • Qualitative: The colors in this kind of color list is not gradually changing by main color.
  • Undefined: If the color list is not belong above three situation, you can set it to Undefined

Merge Existing Color Lists/Palettes

You can merge existing color lists/palettes. Note that the total number of colors in lists/palettes to be merged, cannot exceed 256 (i.e. Merge Color will not be available).

  1. In the Color Manager, select two or more Color Lists/Palettes.
  2. Right-click and choose Merge Color.

Because the number of total colors cannot exceed 256, you may need to reduce the number of colors in existing lists/palettes before Merge Color becomes available. Use the Interpolate by Group option to systematically reduce colors in existing lists/palettes so that you will be able to merge them.

Set Default Plot Color

Only available when the Color Lists radio button is selected. Click this button to open the System Increment list of Theme Organizer dialog.