So I wanted to manipulate through both the color schemes and the RGB color within that scheme but encountered a problem. I started by defining a function:

txt[input_] := InputForm[TextString[input]];

Such that I could preserve the quotation marks applied to input, needed for ColorData["input"]. Then a list of a few schemes was built:

list = txt /@ {Rainbow, DarkRainbow, Pastel}


{InputForm["Rainbow"], InputForm["DarkRainbow"], InputForm["Pastel"]}

Which then allows for list[[x]], so that manipulating {x,1,Length[list],1} cycles through the scheme in ColorData:

Manipulate[ColorData[list[[y]]][x], {y, 1, Length[list], 1}, {x, 0, 1}]

Which doesn't output correctly. Taking the part of the list seems to work fine, but the InputForm["Rainbow"] inserted into ColorData[InputForm["Rainbow"]] seems to be kicking up errors. I've tried a lot of different things but can't get it working. Any help would be much appreciated!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Why not have list as a list of strings; list = {"Rainbow", "DarkRainbow", "Pastel"}. Or even better just let Manipulate have y be the list of strings; Manipulate[ColorData[y][x], {y, list}, {x, 0, 1}]. $\endgroup$
    – Edmund
    Jun 10, 2017 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to compare the outputs of Head[InputForm["DarkRainbow"]] and Head["DarkRainbow"]. ColorData yields a ColorDataFunction when an argument has a head String and is the name of a known color scheme. $\endgroup$
    – Michael E2
    Jun 10, 2017 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


As Edmund commented:

list = {"Rainbow", "DarkRainbow", "Pastel"};

Manipulate[ColorData[y, x], {y, list}, {x, 0, 1}]

InputForm is a formatting wrapper, i.e. for display to you, not for passing between functions. (In most cases.) You may have wanted ToString or SymbolName but it is better to simply keep a list of Strings.


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