Using Color Swatches and Libraries

Using Color Swatches and Libraries

The Swatches palette and swatch libraries help you choose the correct colors. Using swatches and choosing a library is always a good idea when you’re creating documents in InDesign. Swatch libraries help you use colors for specific publishing purposes. The colors you use in a document can vary greatly depending on what you’re creating the document for. For example, one publication you make with InDesign might be for a catalog that only has two colors; another might be for the Web, where you have many colors available to you.

The Swatches Palette

You can create, apply, and edit colors using the Swatches palette. In addition to solid colors, this palette also allows you to create and edit tints and gradients, and then apply them to objects on a page.

Choose Window®Swatches to open or expand the Swatches palette, as shown in Figure.

Click To expand
Figure: The Swatches palette.

To create a new color swatch to use in your document, follow these steps:

  1. Click the arrow in the upper-right corner to open the Swatches palette menu; choose New Color Swatch.

    The New Color Swatch dialog box opens.

  2. Type in a new name for the color swatch.

    This name is displayed next to the color swatch when it is entered into the palette.

  3. Choose a new color by using the controls in the dialog box.

    Use the controls in the New Color Swatch dialog box to set a color for the swatch. Use the color sliders or use numbers to define the color. You can choose from different color modes to work with.

  4. Click OK.

    The New Color Swatch dialog box closes, and the color you just defined appears in the Swatches palette.

You can make changes to the swatch by selecting the swatch in the Swatches palette, and then choosing Swatch Options from the palette menu.

Swatch Libraries

Swatch libraries — also known as color libraries — are standardized sets of named colors that help you because they are the most commonly and frequently used sets of color swatches. This means that you can avoid trying to mix your own colors, which can be a difficult or tedious process to get right. For example, InDesign includes a swatch library for Pantone spot colors, and a different library for Pantone process colors. These libraries are very useful if you’re working with either color set. (Refer to the earlier section, “Understanding Color Models,” where we explain the difference between spot and process colors.)

To choose a swatch from a swatch library, follow these steps:

  1. Choose New Color Swatch from the Swatches palette menu.

    The New Color Swatch dialog box opens.

  2. Select the color type you want to work with from the Color Type drop-down list.

    You can choose from Process or Spot Color types.

  3. Select a color library from the Color Mode drop-down list.

    The drop-down list contains a list of color swatch libraries to choose from, such as Pantone Process Coated or TRUMATCH. After choosing a swatch set, the library opens and appears in the dialog box.

  4. Pick a swatch from the library.

    Click a swatch in the library’s list of colors to choose a swatch color, as shown in Figure. All the colors in the list belong to the specific library that you chose in Step 3.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Choose a color from the swatch library and add it to the Swatches palette.

  5. Click the Add button.

    This adds the swatch to your list of color swatches in the Swatches palette. You can add as many color swatches as you like.

  6. When you’re finished adding swatches, click the Done button.

After you add a new color, the swatch is added to the list of swatches in the Swatches palette and is ready to use in your project. Look in the Swatches palette to see the newly added colors.

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