Digital Art How to Save a Color in Illustrator

How to Save a Color in Illustrator

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Finding the right color or color palette is essential to any design project. Sometimes while creating an artwork, you realize you need to find the color you used previously. 

To get it back, you will use the eyedropper tool. Most of the time, what you extract is not the exact color code you used before.

But, did you know there is an easy way to create and save colors in Adobe Illustrator? You can even save a whole set of colors.   

In this tutorial, I’ll guide you through a few steps to easily create and save a color in the Swatches panel. You will also find out how to access a set of colors and reuse them each time you reopen Adobe Illustrator. 

Let’s get started!

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Create and Save Colors for easy use

Let’s open a fresh document in Adobe Illustrator and select your preferred size document. There aren’t any specific document size values for this practice tutorial.

What is the Swatches panel?

The Swatches panel stores colors, tints, gradients, and panels. If you can’t find it on your artboard.  Go to Window > Swatches, to access it. 

As an example, let’s start by saving one color. I got inspired by a beach photography with beautiful bathing houses. Let’s extract one color. Draw a square with the Rectangle Tool (M). With the Eyedropper Tool (I), pick the color that you want to use. 

The square should not be outlined with a stroke, so only the color is saved.

Select your square. 

Go to your Swatches Panel, and click on New Swatch in the bottom right corner of the Swatches box. 

Name it anything you like. I chose Salmon. 

Now your color is stored in the Swatches panel. You can access it anytime you need to reuse the same color. 

To save a group of colors, follow the same steps and select all colors. Group the colors and this time, on your Swatches Panel, click on New Color Group

Name the color group, and make sure Selected Artwork is selected in the box that appears. 

Your new color group is added to your Swatches Panel, as seen below. 

If you want to access the new color group each time you open Adobe Illustrator. Open a new document. You will need to click on the Swatch Libraries menu in the bottom left corner of the Swatches Panel.

Save the new color group to the Swatch Libraries menu, while selected. Click on Save Swatches as seen in the screenshot below.

To save it permanently for future access, click Save Swatches again in the bottom left corner. 

I chose to use the same name and hit Save.

Now your new color group is integrated into the program. You can check to see if it appears in the Swatch Libraries menu. They will be at the bottom, in the User Defined folder. 

To access the Swatch Library, there are two ways. You can either go to Window > Swatch Libraries, or from the Swatches Panel. Click again on the Swatch Libraries menu.

Scroll down the list and click on User Defined > BathingHouses

The color set reappears in the Swatches Panel.

What to keep in mind 

If you frequently use certain colors, adding them to your Swatches makes your work easier. 

Keep in mind that if you do not save your colors in the library, they will disappear the next time you open Adobe Illustrator. This is why Illustrator allows you to store colors by adding them to the library for future use.

You just have to repeat the steps I mentioned in this tutorial. It’s easy once you get the hang of it. 

Add as many color palettes as you’d like and have fun! 

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