Version 3.0.0

Color wheel

A color wheel lets users visually change an individual channel of a color on a circular track.

An example of a color wheel with a circular track showing a range of hue.


Anatomy of a color wheel, showing the handle and the circular track.


Example of a color wheel background, showing a full range of hue.


The background of the color wheel is a visual representation of the range of values that a user can select from. It can represent color properties such as hues or color channel values (such as RGB or CMYK levels). The exact format this background property takes will depend on what implementation you are working with. Some examples of the format include image, canvas, and gradient.

Example of a color wheel showing hue. The value is 166, the min value is 0, the max value is 360, and the step is 1.

Value, min value, max value, step#

The value is the number selected within the color wheel’s range, from the min value to max value.

The min and max values can also be customized appropriately for what the color wheel is being used for. By default, the min value starts at 0 and max value is set to 360.

The step refers to the increment by which these values increase or decrease. A step value of 1 (default) allows a user to only select whole numbers within the min and max range.

Example of a color wheel showing hue, at a customizable size.


A color wheel’s size can be customized appropriately for its context. By default, the size is size-2400 (192 px on desktop, 240 px on mobile).

Example of a color wheel in a disabled state, showing grey and that no input is available.


A color wheel in a disabled state shows that an input exists, but is not available in that circumstance. This can be used to maintain layout continuity and communicate that the wheel may become available later.

Table of options#

From the design point of view, each component has a number of options. These options and their names are platform agnostic, and each implementation should adapt these to fit into their framework.

PropertyValuesDefault value
This will vary depending on implementation.
number (from min to max)
min value
max value
is disabled
yes / no


Example of a color wheel showing hue in keyboard focus state, with the handle enlarged.

Keyboard focus#

A color wheel can be navigated using a keyboard. The keyboard focus state enlarges the handle to become twice as large.

Example of a color wheel showing hue at size-2400.

Minimum size#

A color wheel’s minimum size is the same as its default: size-2400 (192 px on desktop, 240 px on mobile).

Usage guidelines#

Placing a color area inside a color wheel#

The color wheel is often used together with the color area component for color selection. When placing the color area inside the color wheel, make sure to leave enough of a margin between the two components to ensure there’s enough space for the both handles.

Example of the correct way to place a color are inside a color wheel, with an adequate margin between the two components.

Display color selection#

When using color areas, it’s important to clearly display the color selection in real time. It can be in a color swatch, directly on the canvas, or both.

Key example of a color swatch above a color wheel and transparency slider correctly representing their combined values.

Color loupe on down/touch state#

The color loupe component can be used above the handle to show the selected color that would otherwise be covered by a cursor, stylus, or finger on the down/touch state. This can be customized to appear only on finger-input, or always appear regardless of input type.

Example of a color wheel using a color loupe to show the selected color that would otherwise be hidden by a user's finger on input.

Keyboard interactions#

TabPlaces focus on the handle. If the handle is already in focus, moves focus to the next element in the page tab sequence.
Shift + TabPlaces focus on the previous element in the page tab sequence.
Right ArrowMoves the handle clockwise.
Left ArrowMoves the handle counter-clockwise.


Apr 06, 20223.0.0
  • Updated all colors to 6.0.0
May 13, 20202.0.0
  • Removed color loupe (separated into its own component)
  • Removed color area from component
  • Added background option
  • Added value, min and max values, step options
  • Added size option
Mar 26, 20201.0.1
  • Updated handle border transparency to meet minimum contrast ratio
Apr 20, 20191.0.0
  • This component has been included to the website.

Design checklist#

All interactive states

Includes all interactive states that are applicable (hover, down, focus, keyboard focus, disabled).

All color themes

Works properly across all four color themes (lightest, light, dark, darkest).

All platform scales

Includes a desktop scale (UWP, macOS, web desktop) and a mobile scale (iOS, Android, web mobile).


Accessible use of color

Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information (WCAG 2.0 1.4.1).


Accessible contrast for text

Text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for small text and at least 3:1 for large text (WCAG 2.0 1.4.3).

Accessible contrast for UI components

Visual information required to identify components and states (except inactive components) has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 (WCAG 2.1 1.4.11).


Content design

UI language and information design considerations have been incorporated into component design.

Defined options

Includes relevant options (variant, style, size, orientation, optional iconography, decorations, selection, error state, etc.)

Defined behaviors

Includes guidelines for keyboard focus, layout (wrapping, truncation, overflow), animation, interactions, etc.

Usage guidelines

Includes a list of dos and don'ts that highlight best practices and common mistakes.


Writing guidelines

Includes content standards or usage guidelines for how to write or format in-product content for the component.


Internationalization guidelines

Works properly across various locales and includes guidelines for bi-directionality (RTL).

Keyboard interactions

Follows WCAG 2.0 standards for keyboard accessibility guidelines and includes a description of the keyboard interactions.

Design tokens

All design attributes (color, typography, layout, animation, etc.) are available as design tokens.

UI kit

Includes a downloadable XD file that shows multiple options, states, color themes, and platform scales.

Generated UI kit

Includes a downloadable XD file, generated by code using design tokens defined in Spectrum DNA, and shows multiple options, states, color themes, and platform scales.

In Spectrum for Adobe XD plugin

Component is included in the Spectrum for Adobe XD plugin.