A gradient is a graduated blend between two or more colors or between two tints of the same color. The output device you use affects how gradients color separate.
Gradients can include Paper, process colors, spot colors, or mixed ink colors using any color mode. Gradients are defined by a series of color stops in the gradient bar. A stop is the point at which a gradient changes from one color to the next, and is identified by a color square under the gradient bar. By default, a gradient starts with two colors and a midpoint at 50%.
When you create a gradient using colors of different modes and then print or color separate the gradient, all colors are converted to CMYK process colors. Because of the color mode change, colors may shift. For best results, specify gradients using CMYK colors.
You can create, name, and edit gradients using the same Swatches panel you use to work with solid colors and tints. You can also create unnamed gradients using the Gradient panel.
To choose a color that’s already in the Swatches panel, choose Swatches, and select a color from the list.
To mix a new unnamed color for the gradient, choose a color mode, and enter color values or drag the sliders.
Tip: By default, the first stop of the gradient is set to white. To make it transparent, apply the Paper swatch.
Drag the color stops located under the bar.
Select a color stop under the bar, and enter a Location value to set the position of that color. This position represents the percentage of distance between the previous color and the next color.
Drag the diamond icon located above the bar.
Select the diamond icon above the bar, and enter a Location value to set the position of that color. This position represents the percentage of distance between the previous color and the next color.
Although the Swatches panel is the recommended panel for creating and storing gradients, you can also work with gradients by using the Gradient panel (Window > Color > Gradient), with which you may be familiar if you also use Adobe Illustrator. You can add the current gradient to the Swatches panel at any time. The Gradient panel is useful for creating an unnamed gradient that won’t be used often.
A. Gradient fill B. Gradient type menu C. Reverse button D. Starting color stop E. Midpoint F. Ending color stop
If you select an object that currently uses a named gradient, editing the gradient by using the Gradient panel will change the color of that object only. To edit every instance of a named gradient, double-click its swatch in the Swatches panel.
Drag a swatch from the Swatches panel and drop it on the color stop.
Alt‑click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) a color swatch in the Swatches panel.
In the Color panel, create a color using the sliders or the color bar.
You can modify gradients by adding colors to create multicolor gradients, and by adjusting color stops and midpoints. It’s a good idea to fill an object with the gradient you plan to adjust, so that you can preview the effect on the object while you adjust the gradient.
You can modify gradients pasted from Adobe Illustrator, provided that the gradient was pasted using AICB (Adobe Illustrator Clipboard) format. (See Pasting Illustrator graphics into InDesign.) To select the gradient, use the Direct Selection tool.
If you edit a color swatch, any gradient stops that use that swatch will update accordingly, changing the gradient.
You can also drag a swatch from the Swatches panel onto the gradient bar in the Gradient panel to define a new color stop.
Once you have filled an object with a gradient, you can modify the gradient by using the Gradient Swatch tool or the Gradient Feather tool to “repaint” the fill by dragging along an imaginary line. The Gradient tools let you change the direction of a gradient, change its beginning point and endpoint, and apply a gradient across multiple objects. The Gradient Feather tool lets you soften the gradient in the direction in which you drag.
Dragging the Gradient Feather tool across the gradient progressively softens the colors in the gradient within the area you drag.
If a compound path with a gradient is selected, you can edit the gradient across all of its subpaths by using the Gradient panel alone, without having to use the Gradient tool.
Within a single text frame, you can create multiple ranges of gradient text alongside default black text and color text.
A gradient’s endpoints are always anchored in relation to the bounding box of the gradient’s path or text frame. Individual text characters display the part of the gradient over which they are positioned. If you resize the text frame or make other changes that cause text characters to reflow, the characters are redistributed across the gradient, and the colors of individual characters change accordingly.
A. Underlying gradient fill B. Text characters with gradient applied C. Text added, and text shifting position relative to gradient fill
If you want to adjust a gradient so that its complete color range spans a specific range of text characters, you have two options:
Use the Gradient tool to reset the gradient’s endpoints, so that they span only the characters you selected when you applied the gradient.
Select the text and convert it to outlines (editable paths), and then apply a gradient to the resulting outlines. This is the best option for a short run of display type in its own text frame. The gradient will be permanently anchored to the outlines, not the text frame, and the outlines will continue to flow with the rest of the text. However, the outlines will function as a single inline graphic within the text frame, so you won’t be able to edit the text. Also, typographic options will no longer apply; for example, text converted to outlines will not hyphenate.
For information on converting text outlines to paths, see Create paths from text outlines.
Within a single text frame, you can select different ranges of text and apply a unique gradient to each range. Each gradient is added to the text frame and tracked separately with the characters you selected when you applied each gradient. However, the endpoints of the gradient are still anchored to the text frame’s bounding box, not to individual ranges of text.