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Since it was asked in Beta and I want to know the answer, I post it here.

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See also this question: gis.stackexchange.com/q/3589/162 –  julien Nov 17 '10 at 16:47

6 Answers 6

up vote 11 down vote accepted

For thematic maps, the handy Colorbrewer has an ArcGIS plug-in, ColorTool

The built-in styles also contain lots of professionally selected color palettes and ramps that you could repurpose for other needs. To look at the styles without having to dink around in ArcMap, you can view them in PDF form

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I would be interested to know if there is a way of directly installing colorBrewer in ArcGIS 10. I emailed the previous developers (gis.cancer.gov/tools/colortool) and received the response: "The current installer does not fully succeed in ArcMap 10 environments, however you can manually add the "ColorToolPro9_2.0.tlb" from the installation location (usually c:\program files\NCI GIS Tools\colortool) to add the command to a toolbar. " Which I suppose is a satisfactory workaround. –  djq Feb 16 '11 at 18:15

You can download the ColorBrewer styles for use in ArcMap through the ArcScripts site

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Do these work ok with ArcGIS 10? –  djq Feb 16 '11 at 18:17

Have you seen the map templates?

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http://kuler.adobe.com/ is another source of predifined color palettes.

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It is not only for ArcGIS, but you can use colorbrewer for that.

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Late answer, but it could be useful. I developed an online tool to extract main colors from an image, an visualize their relations and proportions on a (HSL) color wheel :


It could be used to examine a map, considered pleasant, and retrieve its colors.

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