Work with swatches

Swatches panel overview

The Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) lets you create and name colors, gradients, or tints, and quickly apply them to your document. Swatches are similar to paragraph and character styles; any change you make to a swatch affects all objects to which the swatch is applied. Swatches make it easier to modify color schemes without having to locate and adjust each individual object.

When the fill or stroke of selected text or an object contains a color or gradient applied from the Swatches panel, the applied swatch is highlighted in the Swatches panel. Swatches you create are associated only with the current document. Each document can have a different set of swatches stored in its Swatches panel.

Note:

When working with a prepress service provider, swatches let you clearly identify spot colors. You can also specify color settings in a preflight profile to determine which color settings work with your printer.

Six CMYK-defined colors appear in the default Swatches panel: cyan, magenta, yellow, red, green, and blue.

Swatch types

The Swatches panel stores the following types of swatches:

Colors

Icons on the Swatches panel identify the spot  and process  color types, and LAB , RGB , CMYK , and Mixed Ink  color modes.

Tints

A percentage value next to a swatch in the Swatches panel indicates a tint of a spot or process color.

Gradients

An icon on the Swatches panel indicates whether a gradient is radial  or linear .

None

The None swatch removes the stroke or fill from an object. You can’t edit or remove this swatch.

Paper

Paper is a built‑in swatch that simulates the paper color on which you’re printing. Objects behind a paper-colored object won’t print where the paper-colored object overlaps them. Instead, the color of the paper on which you print shows through. You can edit the Paper color to match your paper stock by double-clicking it in the Swatches panel. Use the Paper color for previewing only—it will not be printed on a composite printer or in color separations. You can’t remove this swatch. Do not apply the Paper swatch to remove color from an object. Use the None swatch instead.

Note:

If the Paper color is not working as described, and you are printing to a non-PostScript printer, try switching your printer driver to Raster Graphics mode.

Black

Black is a built‑in, 100% process color black defined using the CMYK color model. You can’t edit or remove this swatch. By default, all occurrences of Black overprint (print on top of) underlying inks, including text characters at any size. You can disable this behavior.

Registration

Registration  is a built‑in swatch that causes objects to print on every separation from a PostScript printer. For example, registration marks use the Registration color, so that printing plates can be aligned precisely on a press. You cannot edit or remove this swatch.

You can also add colors from any color library to the Swatches panel so that they are saved with your document.

Customize swatch display

You can control the size of swatches and whether the name displays with the swatch.

  1. In the Swatches panel menu, choose one of the following:
    • Name displays a small swatch next to the name of the swatch. The icons to the right of the name show the color model (CMYK, RGB, and so on), and whether the color is a spot color, process color, registration color, or none.

    • Small Name displays compacted swatch panel rows.

    • Small Swatch or Large Swatch displays only the swatch. A triangle with a dot in the corner of the swatch indicates that the color is a spot color. A triangle without a dot indicates a process color.

  2. To set what type of swatches display, click one of the following buttons at the bottom of the Swatches panel:
    • Show All Swatches displays all color, tint, and gradient swatches.

    • Show Color Swatches displays only process color, spot color, mixed ink color, and tint swatches.

    • Show Gradient Swatches displays only gradient swatches.

Note:

The None swatch is always displayed regardless of which button you click.

Create color swatches

Swatches can include spot or process colors, mixed inks (process colors mixed with one or more spot colors), RGB or Lab colors, gradients, or tints.

When you place an image that contains spot colors, the colors are automatically added as swatches to the Swatches panel. You can apply these swatches to objects in your document, but you cannot redefine or delete the swatches.

Note:

Before you create swatches, learn which settings are appropriate for your printer service provider. You can specify color settings in a preflight profile to highlight color settings that don’t work with your printer.

Create a new color swatch

  1. Choose New Color Swatch in the Swatches panel menu.
  2. For Color Type, choose the method you’ll use to print document colors on a printing press.
  3. For Swatch Name, do one of the following:
    • If you chose Process as the color type and you want the name always to describe the color values, make sure that Name With Color Value is selected.

    • If you chose Process as the color type and you want to name the color yourself, make sure that Name With Color Value is deselected, and type a Swatch Name.

    • If you chose Spot, type a Swatch Name.

  4. For Color Mode, choose the mode you want to use in defining the color. Avoid changing the mode after you define a color.
  5. Do one of the following:
    • Drag the sliders to change the color values. You can also enter numeric values in the text boxes next to the color sliders.

    • For spot colors, choose from color libraries in the Color Mode menu.

  6. If an out-of-gamut alert icon  appears, and you want to use the in-gamut color closest to the color you originally specified, click the small color box next to the alert icon.
  7. Do one of the following:
    • Click Add to add the swatch and define another one. Click Done when finished.

    • Click OK to add the swatch and exit the dialog box.

Note:

To directly define a spot color using the New Swatch button in the Swatches panel, make sure that no swatches are selected, and then hold down Alt+Ctrl (Windows) or Option+Command (Mac OS) as you click the New Swatch button .

Create a swatch based on the color of an object

  1. Select the object.
  2. In the Toolbox or Swatches panel, select the Fill box or the Stroke box.
  3. In the Swatches panel, do one of the following:
    • Click the New Swatch button and double-click the resulting new swatch.

    • Choose New Color Swatch in the Swatches panel menu.

The selected color or gradient appears in the Swatches panel and in the Fill box or Stroke box in the Toolbox, and is applied to the fill or stroke of all selected objects.

Add unnamed colors to the Swatches panel

While you can create colors using the Color panel or Color Picker, unnamed colors are more difficult to edit later and to use consistently. Use the Add Unnamed Colors option to search for unnamed colors applied to objects within the document, and then add them to the Swatches panel. Colors are automatically named according to their CMYK, RGB, or Lab components.

  1. In the Swatches panel, choose Add Unnamed Colors.

Manage swatches

You can edit, duplicate, sort, and delete swatches in the Swatches panel.

Edit the default colors in the Swatches panel

You can change the swatches that appear by default in new documents.

  1. Close all open documents.
  2. Edit the swatches you want to change in the Swatches panel.

Duplicate a swatch

Duplicating swatches can be useful when you want to create a warmer or cooler variation of an existing color. Note that duplicating a spot color results in an additional spot color printing plate.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Select a swatch, and choose Duplicate Swatch in the Swatches panel menu.

    • Select a swatch, and click the New Swatch button at the bottom of the panel.

    • Drag a swatch to the New Swatch button at the bottom of the panel.

Edit a swatch

You can change individual attributes of a swatch by using the Swatch Options dialog box. Additional options are available when editing mixed ink swatches and mixed ink groups.

  1. In the Swatches panel, select a swatch, and do one of the following:
    • Double-click the swatch.

    • Choose Swatch Options in the Swatches panel menu.

  2. Adjust settings as desired, and click OK.

Control swatch names

By default, the name of a process color swatch is derived from the values of the color’s components. For example, if you create a red process color using 10% cyan, 75% magenta, 100% yellow, and 0% black, its swatch is named C=10 M=75 Y=100 K=0 by default. This makes it easier to identify the composition of process colors.

By default, the name of a process color swatch automatically updates when you change its CMYK values; you can switch this option off or on for individual swatches as needed. As with any swatch you define, you can change the name of a process color swatch at any time.

  1. Double-click a process color in the Swatches panel.
  2. Do one of the following, and click OK:
    • To let InCopyrename the swatch when you adjust its CMYK percentages, make sure that the Name With Color Value option is selected.

    • To rename a swatch when you adjust its CMYK values, make sure that the Name With Color Value option is deselected.

Note:

The new swatch is automatically renamed New Color Swatch (this has a number following it if more than one New Color Swatch exists) when this option is deselected. You can change this name manually.

Sort swatches

You can sort swatches by name or by color values. You have the option to sort all swatches or selected swatches.

Sort by Name

Swatches are sorted alphabetically (A to Z).

To sort all swatches by name, do one of the following:

  • Select Sort from the Swatches panel menu and choose All Swatches by Name. 
  • Right-click on a swatch and select Sort > All Swatches by Name.

To sort selected swatches by name, select the swatches and do one of the following:

  • Select Sort from the Swatches panel menu and choose Selected Swatches by Name. 
  • Right-click on selected swatches and select Sort > Selected Swatches by Name.

Sort by Color Values

Swatches are sorted based on their color values. First swatches are sorted in the following order: CMYK > Lab Color > Mixed Ink > RGB. Then all swatches of
a particular color mode are sorted based on color values.
For example, all CMYK swatches are sorted based on values of C, M, Y, and K.

To sort all swatches by color values, do one of the following:

  • Select Sort from the Swatches panel menu and choose All Swatches by Color Values. 
  • Right-click on a swatch and select Sort > All Swatches by Color Values.

To sort selected swatches by color values, select the swatches and do one of the following:

  • Select Sort from the Swatches panel menu and choose Selected Swatches by Color Values. 
  • Right-click on selected swatches and select Sort > Selected Swatches by Color Values.
Note:

Swatches within a color group are also sorted based on the sorting applied.

Delete individual swatches

When you delete a swatch that has been applied to an object in the document, InCopy prompts you for a replacement swatch. You can designate an existing or unnamed swatch. If you delete a swatch used as the basis of a tint or mixed ink, you are prompted to choose a replacement.

  1. Select one or more swatches.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Choose Delete Swatch in the Swatches panel menu.

    • Click the Delete icon at the bottom of the Swatches panel.

    Note:

    You cannot delete spot colors that are used by placed graphics in the document. To delete these colors, you must first delete the graphic.

  3. InCopy asks you how to replace the swatch you’re deleting. Do one of the following, and click OK:

    • To replace all instances of the swatch with another swatch, click Defined Swatch, and choose a swatch in the menu.

    • To replace all instances of the swatch with an equivalent unnamed color, click Unnamed Swatch.

Delete all unused swatches

  1. Choose Select All Unused in the Swatches panel menu. Only swatches that are not currently used in the active file will be selected.
  2. Click the Delete icon.

Merge swatches

When you import swatches or copy items from other documents, you may end up with duplicate swatches that may be applied to different objects. Use the Merge Swatches command to combine duplicate swatches.

  1. In the Swatches panel, select two or more duplicate swatches.

    The first swatch you select is the one the survives (gets merged into).

  2. Choose Merge Swatches in the Swatches panel menu.

Copy swatches between InCopy documents

You can copy or drag a swatch (or objects with a swatch applied) from one document to another. When you do so, the swatch is added to the destination document’s Swatches panel. If you want to copy the swatch’s tints and gradients as well, you need to copy the original object, not just the swatch.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • Copy an object into the current document using drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste.

    • Select the swatches you want to copy and drag them from the Swatches panel to the document window of another InCopy document.

    Note:

    If you drag a swatch that has an identical name as an existing swatch (including capitalization) but has different color values, InCopy renames the swatch “[original swatch name] 2.”

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