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When opening a new image from a PNG file in Illustrator as the background for my artboard to trace over I am not able to select any color swatches the only available options are [none] and [registration].

I have black and white available for gradients but thats it. I have checked the color settings and they are set to RGB.

Has anyone come across this before, I'm hoping to either force colors or else find a way to add images from a file into the artboard as when I create a new document the standard colors are all present.

The weird thing is I have just traced round a photo and I cannot remember having this problem in the past!

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I just found that I could open up a swatch library, select the whole library by clicking and holding the shift key, and then drag and drop swatches into my swatch tab. I don't know if that helps you or not, but it was a quick and easy option for me. – user29506 Sep 6 '14 at 21:28
up vote 5 down vote accepted

See this question: Where did my default brushes go?

The same holds true for Swatches, or any library of items.

To recap, when you open raster images, and sometimes PDF files via Illustrator, the files open without any of the stock libraries. This is because the files don't contain the information about the stock libraries, including the swatch library.

To load the default swatches:

  • From the Swatch Panel menu choose Open Swatch Library... > Default Library... > (Then the color space you want - CMYK or RGB)

You can also avoid this by opening a new Illustrator document and using File > Place and then placing a raster image rather than opening the raster image with Illustrator.

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Thanks Scott, placing will do the job fine great tip! – KryptoniteDove Sep 12 '13 at 21:02

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