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Search our NCS FAQ’S and see if we have answered your questions about NCS Colours. We cover queries about translating other colour references into NCS, finding LRV values and choosing between the colour measurement devices. We also answer the popular question about where to buy paint in NCS colours.

Contact the Colour Standards team at if you need further help.

Can you supply free colour samples?

No, we cannot supply free colour samples for NCS, RAL and Pantone colours. There is a small charge as the colour standard is the product rather than the paint, ink or fabric.

Paint, wallpaper and curtain manufacturers may give free colour samples and charts away, as they know many people will return to buy the product. Pantone RAL and NCS cannot do this as the end product is not sold by them. They hold the global Intellectual Property of the colours with their colour reference numbers. Paint and coating companies pay a licence to have permission to produce material in those colours.

Pantone, RAL and NCS have developed internationally recognised and globally available colour standards. Use them to send to clients, plan your designs, communicate with manufacturers and check the final product.

Samples of Pantone, RAL and NCS colours can be taken to a paint mixing shop or supplied to a coatings, plastic masterbatch or textile company.


How many NCS colours are there?

The total quantity of NCS Standard colours in the NCS colour collections is 2050.

NCS publish the 2050 Standard colours in a variety of formats. Most products contain the complete collection of 2050 colours but some have smaller, specific colour ranges.

The smaller colour collections are used for designing specific products, Exterior, for example, is for colouration of exterior materials such as bricks, concrete and paving. WS 160 is ideal when only low chromatic colours (whites, greys) rather than saturated colours are required.

The Inspire is a great tool when you’re starting a colour scheme from scratch and need inspiration. It contains popular colours used by architects and designers divided into themes which makes it easy to navigate.

Bespoke colours can be created by NCS if a shade or nuance in between the standard set of colours is required.

Can I translate NCS Colour to RAL Colour?

Translate an NCS colour to RAL quickly and easily by measuring the NCS colour sample using the RAL Color Reader. This will measure any sample target and give the closest RAL number.

An alternative method is a visual check of the NCS colours in the NCS Index against one of the RAL books. The RAL Design system is likely to have the closest match as both systems colours are based similar principles.

It is unlikely a match would be found in the RAL Classic range which only has 216 options. Classic colours are more vibrant than Design colours.

Or you can Order a Colour conversion from NCS Colour in Sweden (they will check visually)

Do you sell NCS paint?

NCS paint is not sold by VeriVide. We can supply a colour standard to take to your supplier, they will measure and mix the colour from available pigments.

NCS do not manufacture paint or powder coat. Paint manufacturers are licenced to use NCS colours in their paints and coating formulas, likewise manufacturers of laminates and other materials can use the colours.

NCS is a colour system, they  standardise the colours so you can buy the colour card from VeriVide (or other worldwide distributor) and then go to a DIY store or specialised paint supplier to buy the paint. They may have a paint mixing machine on site and can measure the colour card and mix paint to the correct colour to match the card.

For a comprehensive list of approved manufacturers go to the website of NCS Colour


What is the lifetime of an NCS colour sample?

The lifetime of an NCS colour depends on the conditions under which it is stored. As with all colour standards they should be stored away from light, dust, moisture and heat. Most NCS products are supplied with a protective box or binder, we recommend NCS samples are stored in a box, under normal indoor conditions.

NCS colour samples are produced using a paint coating on paper and supplied with a 12 month guarantee.

Properties of the product such as film thickness, gloss level and opacity of the paint are controlled. The quality controls are executed at several instances during the production process. This ensures a high and solid quality from batch to batch.

The technical lifetime  of coated NCS samples can be several years depending on the environment in which they are used but NCS recommends exchanging the samples every 24 month for maximum accuracy and performance.

Colourpin or Colour Scan, which should I choose?

Colourpin and Colour Scan are both NCS colorimeters for measuring and identifying colours. Your choice of Colourpin or Colour Scan mainly depends upon if you need to identify colours from patterned materials.

We have briefly described the pros and cons below.

Reliable results on solid colours
Is used with a smartphone app that has colour management and sharing features.
Can’t be used as a stand-alone device.
Affordable price
Ideal for decorators

Colour Scan:
Reliable results on solid colours and also on patterns
Can identify up to 4 colours within size of the aperture for scanning
Is a stand-alone device, where no smartphone or application is needed
Robust design
Ideal for professional interior designers

How can I translate a colour from one system to another?

If you wish to translate a colour from one system to another, you can use the NCS colour translation service. They translate to and from most colour systems/ charts including:

NCS, Pantone Coated/Uncoated/Textile/Colour bridge etc. RAL and CMYK coated/uncoated

You can find more information about this service here.

Architects and Designers will find it useful to own physical guides from RAL, Pantone and NCS if they are regularly using colours from the different colour systems. This will enable a cross check to be done on site or with the client.

The NCS Colourpin devices can also be used to measure a colour target and find the closest NCS colour.

Please note that if you need to translate your colour from NCS to CMYK, RGB or Lab notation, you can also use the NCS+ Web or use the NCS Colourpin device.

Where can I find LRV values for NCS colours?

LRV values of the lightness of NCS colours can be found in the NCS Atlas. If you do not own an NCS Atlas the NCS Lightness Meter can help you to calculate the lightness value of a colour.

Investing in an NCS Colourpin device enables quick identification of the closest NCS colour notation as well as giving information on the LRV lightness values along with translations to CMYK, RGB, and L*a*b*.

The easiest way to find the LRV digitally is to check the NCS+ app they can also be found in the NCS Navigator Premium.

I want to get CMYK and RGB codes for NCS colours.

It is possible to find the CMYK and RGB codes for NCS colours.

With the NCS+ App or NCS+ Web, you can get CMYK and RGB codes and LRV from all 2050 NCS standard notations. You can also get CMYK and RGB values with the NCS Colourpin device

Please note that this doesn’t work the other way around and you can’t enter CMYK or RGB values and get the closest NCS notation. For this, please use the NCS colour translation service.

How can I use NCS colours with Adobe?

NCS colours can be used in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign software.

You can download the NCS colors to ASE files that can be imported into Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

The full NCS colour range of 2050 colours, or your own selection of it, can be downloaded through NCS+ Premium, accessed via

The video found on NCS+ app will provide an overview of the functionality of the app and demonstrate how easy it is to use the web based option.

The is also access to NCS via Adobe CS/CC plugin, which works with Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign.


What is the difference between Colourpin SE and Colourpin II?

Colourpin II is the new version of Colourpin SE which was discontinued in 2023.

There is no difference between the two models regarding functionality and technical specifications. The Colourpin SE comes in a black finish together with a wrist lanyard and a carrying pouch. Colourpin II is silver coloured and comes in a smaller packaging, it connects to the Smartphone App using Bluetooth. A cost effective device for all decorators, building contractors and designers to identify the closest NCS colour.

How do I turn my Colourpin device on and off?

The Colourpin devices are easily powered on and off.

Press the button on top of the device once to power on. The Colourpin device shuts off automatically after 20-30 seconds.