Use the Adobe Color Themes panel

The Adobe Color service helps you choose harmonious and appealing color combinations for your design projects. Adobe Color is integrated right within Illustrator in the form of an extension that lets you create, save, and access your color themes. You can also explore the many public color themes available on Adobe Color and filter them in several ways: Most Popular, Most Used, Random, themes you've published, or themes you've appreciated in the past. Once you've found a theme that you like; you can edit it and and save it to your themes, or add it to your swatches in Illustrator.

Aside from Illustrator, the Adobe Color Themes extension is currently available in three other Creative Cloud desktop applications: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe After Effects. Themes saved to Creative Cloud libraries from within these desktop apps, mobile apps such as Capture CC, or using the Adobe Color website are accessible seamlessly in Illustrator.

Additionally, Adobe Color Themes extension is your portal to groups of colors, or themes, created by an online community of designers. You can use it to browse thousands of themes, and then save or edit themes to include in your own projects. You can also use the this extension to share your themes with the community by uploading them.

Access the Adobe Color Themes panel

  • In Illustrator, select Window > Adobe Color Themes.

Explore color themes

  1. Click the Explore tab in the Adobe Color Themes panel. By default, the Explore tab displays the most popular public color themes.

  2. You can do one of the following to filter the color themes:

    • Select a category and a timeframe.
    • Use the search bar if you're looking for a specific theme.
    Explore color themes

Work with the color theme

Once you've found a theme that you like; click  icon to choose the desired option from the fly-out menu of a color theme using the Adobe Color Themes panel:

Options available for color themes under the Explore tab

Edit This Theme

Opens the selected color theme in the Create tab of the Adobe Colors Theme panel. You can modify and work with the colors present in the theme as desired and save it in your Creative Cloud Libraries.

Note: Alternatively, you can click the name of a color theme to edit it.

Add To Swatches

Saves the selected color theme in the Swatches panel.

View Online

View the color theme and related information, such as who created this color theme, the date of sharing this color theme, ratings and reviews, and so on in your browser. You can also appreciate, save, share, and edit this theme from your browser.

View a color theme online

Create and save a color theme

Create color themes

A. Choose a color B. Choose a color rule C. Color wheel D. Adjust the slider E. Enter name for your color theme 

  1. Click the Create tab in the Adobe Color Themes panel.

  2. Click  icon to select the color rule on which you want to base the theme: Analogous, Monochromatic, Triad, Complementary, Compound, Shades, or Custom. For details, see Color rules.

  3. Now, choose a base color by clicking the little triangle corresponding to a color in the theme you're editing. Based upon the color rule selected, a color theme is automatically built around the base color.


    While a color is selected, you can adjust it either using the color wheel or by changing its value in one of the following color systems available under the Sliders Tab: CMYK, RGB, LAB, HSB, or HEX. For more information, see About color.

    Adjust the color under the available color systems

  4. (Optional) You can choose one of the following options while creating a color theme:

    • Click the Set Selected Color From Active Color icon () to add the active color from Illustrator workspace to your color theme.
    • Click the Click To Set Active Color icon () to set the active color in the Illustrator workspace from your color theme.
    • Click the Add To Swatches icon () to add your color theme to the Swatches panel.
  5. Enter a name for the new color theme at the bottom of the panel. Click Save.

  6. Choose the Creative Cloud library to which you want to save the theme.

  7. Click Save.


Depending on whether you're logged in using your Adobe ID or your enterprise credentials, different sets of libraries may be available for saving themes. Select Help > Manage My Account to check the credentials with which you're logged in. If you land at the authentication screen for your organization when you select this option, you're logged in using your enterprise credentials.

The same email ID may be associated with an Adobe ID as well as an enterprise ID.

Color rules


Uses colors that are adjacent on the color wheel. Analogous colors usually blend well with one another and are harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

Example: Analogous color rule


Uses variations in saturation and brightness of a single color. When you use this color rule, you're presented with five colors sharing the same hue (example: H:182) but different saturation and brightness values. Monochromatic colors go well together and produce a soothing effect.

Example: Monochromatic color rule


Uses colors evenly spaced around three equidistant points on the color wheel. When you use this color rule, you're presented with two colors with the same hue but different saturation and brightness values from the first point on the color wheel (example: HSB: 182, 90, 45 & HSB: 182, 100, 75), two from the second point on the color wheel (HSB: 51, 90, 55 & HSB: 51, 95, 45), and one color from the third point (HSB: 321, 90, 79). Triadic colors tend to be contrasting—albeit not as contrasting as complementary colors—while still retaining harmony when used together.

Example: Triad color rule


Uses colors opposite to each other on the color wheel. When you use this color rule, you are presented with two colors with the same hue as the base color (example: HSB: 182, 100, 45 & HSB: 182, 90, 100), the base color itself (HSB: 182, 100, 75), and two colors with the same hue from the opposite point on the color wheel (HSB: 23, 100, 45 & HSB: 23, 100, 75). Complementary colors provide high contrast and tend to stand out when used together.

Example: Complementary color rule


Uses a mix of complementary and analogous colors. When you use this color rule, you are presented with two colors with the same hue that are adjacent (analogous) to the base color (example: HSB: 214, 90, 95 & HSB: 214, 60, 35), the base color itself (HSB: 182, 100, 75), and two colors opposite to the base color (complementary) but adjacent to each other (HSB: 15, 75, 78 & HSB: 6, 90, 95). Compound color themes have the same strong visual contrast as complementary color themes, but they have less pressure.

Example: Compound color rule


Uses five colors—all sharing the same hue (example: H: 182) and saturation (S: 100) but different brightness values.

Shades color rule


Lets you manually select the colors on the color wheel in your palette without any rules controlling them.

Custom color rule

Access themes saved to your libraries

  1. In the Adobe Color Themes panel, click the My Themes tab.

  2. Select the Creative Cloud library from which you want to access the color theme.

  3. If necessary, select a sorting parameter/order for the listed themes: By DateBy Name, or By Quantity; ascending or descending.

    Access your themes

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