Adobe Color Themes in InDesign

The Adobe Color service helps you choose harmonious and appealing color combinations for your design projects. Adobe Color is integrated right within InDesign 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.

Apart from inDesign, the Adobe Color Themes panel is available in two other Creative Cloud desktop applications: Adobe Photoshop 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 InDesign.

Access the Adobe Color Themes panel

In InDesign, select Windows > Color > Adobe Color Themes.

Explore color themes

Adobe Color Themes
  1. Click the Explore tab in the Adobe Color Themes panel. By default, the Explore tab displays all public color themes.
  2. If necessary, filter the color themes by a category and a timeframe. Use the search bar if you're looking for a specific theme.

Create and save a color theme

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

  2. Select the color rule on which you want to base the theme: Analogous, Monochromatic, Triad, Complementary, Compound, Shades, or Custom.


    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.

    Analogous color rule
    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.

    Monochromatic color rule
    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.

    Triad color rule
    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.

    Complementary color rule
    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.

    Compound color rule
    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
    Example: Shades color rule


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


    Custom color rule
    Example: Custom color rule

  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.

    Choose a base color
    Choose a 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: CMYK, RGB, LAB, HSB, or HEX.

  4. Enter a name for the new color theme. Click Save.

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

    Save theme to a library
    Save the new theme to a library

  6. 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.

Access themes saved to your libraries

Access your themes
Access your themes

  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 Date, By Name, or By Quantity; ascending or descending.