I have a file that contains of many objects which can be images, vectors or clipping masks. But all the objects are grouped with the same specific color swatches. Let's say the color is CMYK Cyan.

enter image description here

I want to select all of CMYK Cyan color and move them to New Layer (Layer 2), change the CMYK Cyan color to another color (CMYK Red) and give it an outline preview (by ctrl+click on "eye" icon in layer the menu).

enter image description here

Here are the steps I tried to record in the action:

  1. Copy objects grouped with swatches
  2. Create new document
  3. Paste
  4. Use Magic Wand Tool (W) to select CMYK Cyan color
  5. Create new layer
  6. Move "Indicates Selected Art" (it should be all CMYK Cyan color) to Layer 2
  7. Change CMYK Cyan to CMYK Red

enter image description here

The recorded results missing step 4 and step 6. The question is, how to record step 4 in an action?

Actually this question is only about step number 4, but I would be very grateful if someone could also tell me how to record step number 6.

  • I dint think 4 is possible
    – joojaa
    Oct 10, 2020 at 9:39
  • Actually it is not nessesary to use Magic Wand. All I want just record selected swatch color
    – Veldry
    Oct 10, 2020 at 9:47
  • Seems to me that you are trying to think in gui bound ways.. what are you trying to uktimately accomplish? I dont mean tgis subsection since once you move over to scripting its easier to do all tasks in one go.
    – joojaa
    Oct 10, 2020 at 12:01
  • Rather than using the Magic Wand... you can click a swatch in the Swatches Panel and that will be recorded in an action. Since Cyan is a default swatch, it should be present in most documents with default swatches. So....
    – Scott
    Nov 9, 2020 at 22:42

2 Answers 2


The Magic Wand tool won't work as an Action in Illustrator.

The magic wand tool doesn't record in an Action because it needs to be used on a specific object. So for example, if you wanted to run your action on another image, Illustrator would not know which shape to choose as the selection basis.

Illustrator's Magic Wand isn't like the one in Photoshop. It can't select any specific colours. All it can do is search for the same fill colour/stroke colour/stroke weight/opacity/blending mode as the object it is used on.

One possible solution which will record as an Action, is to select one filled shape first, and then do Select > Same > Fill color. When you want to use your Action, you will of course need to manually select one filled shape before you play it back.

I'm not entirely sure how practical this will be for your particular Action. What you want to do may not be possible with actions. It might be better to look at the possibility of writing an actual script.

  • The CMYK Cyan thing is not image, its a path / compound path which is grouped with others object such as image/clipping mask. Thats why I can used Magic Wand to select those CMYK Cyan. I just want records all Action in 1-click button so it can speed up my work.
    – Veldry
    Oct 10, 2020 at 9:57
  • @Veldry Yeah, I realise that. It still doesn't matter. The Magic Wand can't select a specified colour. That's not how it works. It may not be possible to do all this in an Action. Scripting may be the answer though.
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 10, 2020 at 10:00
  • @Veldry Just thinking this through a little more, might be possible to record drawing a little square, fill it with cyan, then do Select > Same > Fill colour. After the action has been run however, you'd be left with a little extra square, which could then be deleted manually.
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 10, 2020 at 10:29
  • yeah I know that method. But still better directly using Magic Wand rather than create a little square, because as you said, I'll need a little extra step to delete that square too.
    – Veldry
    Oct 10, 2020 at 10:51

While you can't set a swatch color via actions, you can set the fill/stroke color of a selected object or objects.

Simply input numbers in the Color Panel while the action is recording....

enter image description here

Now, each input into the panel is going to create a new action step (at least in CS6 and earlier CC versions - I don't know if this is still the case in bleeding-edge CC versions).

So, for the above CMYK color there's...

  • a step for the Cyan
  • a step for the Magenta,
  • a step for the Yellow
  • a step for the Black.

enter image description here

However, the final Black step will have all the values. So after the action is done recording you can go into the Actions Panel and merely delete the 3 unnecessary steps. This leaves you with 1 step that sets the color value.

Works with RGB too, just has 3 steps rather than 4.

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