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HEX to NCS Converter

This HEX to NCS converter does a great job by quickly running through a list of all possible NCS colors and considering each one of them as a match to your input HEX color. The tricky part in this case is to find a good match when HEX color does not represent any predefined NCS color. In that case we use our internal algorithm that is equipped to pick the best match and present this NCS color for your judgement.

Enter HEX color value

Important: It is expected that your input format in HEX matches the standard expression for HEX colors which is a six-character string representing a combination of red, green, and blue values. E.g.: #9B9664 for Red: 155, Green: 150, and Blue: 100. This converter tool will only process valid HEX values and will not compute invalid or incomplete HEX codes.

How does this tool work?

Converting HEX to NCS requires us to match two fundamentally different color systems. While HEX is very widely used in digital spaces to represent RGB values, NCS does not have this versatility in digital space, as it is intended for other purposes. However, even if we cannot directly match these together, we do our best to approximate such conversions.

Here’s an outline of our general approach that is being taken:

    1. We first convert your HEX input values to RGB. This step is straightforward as HEX is a direct representation of RGB values.
    2. We then convert your RGB values to a Perceptual Color Space (namely, CIELAB). For this, we use a standard RGB to CIELAB conversion, which involves converting RGB to XYZ and then to CIELAB. This is necessary because CIELAB is a perceptually uniform space, meaning distances in this space correspond to perceived color differences.RGB to XYZ (for hex to ncs)
      XYZ to CIELAB (for hex to NCS)
    3. We then compare the distance between the resulting CIELAB values and our known subset of CIELAB values that already have mapped NCS colors.

You can see this in action, just click the links below to perform some conversions:
NCS Color: S 2060-B from HEX: #0087BD (blue)
NCS Color: S 0580-Y from HEX: #FFD700 (gold)
NCS Color: S 2030-Y50R from HEX: #DD9C77 (tan)

You can try different variations or even use HEX values from some known color collections like RAL, Pantone, Munsell, etc. Some matches may be more accurate than others, however, this should be sufficient for general reference purposes. Hope that you will find it useful. Let me know what you think via the contact form on this site.