A spectrophotometer, also known as a color scanner or paint code scanner, is used to match paint codes. These specialized scanners come in different sizes and are used in a wide variety of industries from automotive repair to interior decorating.
Color scanners bounce white light, which is composed of all colors in the visible spectrum, off the selected color sample and back to the scanner where it hits a small wheel. The wheel analyzes the light using interference filters to determine the exact color. Some scanners can be configured to work with a specific color library, like the Pantone COLORCUE2 which uses Pantone color swatches. Users can even transform a phone or tablet into a color scanner by downloading apps such as iMatchColor for Android.