This really irritates me many times, I guess especially in gradients that I haven't created.

In first image, you can see the gradient pick tool is selected on right side, and on left side, a solid color is selected because I have selected a pointer of gradient (see right). This is what I need, so I can double click the solid color (the foreground background tool on very left highlighted) and pick color I need from the popup.

In 2nd image, everything is same, just a different gradient and on the very left, you see gradient is selected instead of solid color. I can doube click it but once I select the color from the color popup, it turns the gradient to solid color. This is what I don't need.

3rd picture is of the double click popup I mean. I like this popup because I can't find it anywhere else in my illustrator in case of gradients like these. Here I can easily choose an random color, in this case the grey colors, unlike swatches with limited colors.

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Edit (To show that both cases have gradient tool selected):

enter image description here

Why is this strange behavior?

  • Use the Color Panel, not the color picker.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 7, 2020 at 11:27
  • Let me guess its a alpha mask not a color
    – joojaa
    Commented Nov 7, 2020 at 11:29
  • @joojaa Scott do you wanna see open file for the same?
    – Vikas
    Commented Nov 7, 2020 at 12:14
  • Don't need to see anything... it's the "double-click to open the picker" that is the poor part of the workflow.. use the Color Panel.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 7, 2020 at 17:38
  • 1
    I think the bulk of your issue here, @Vikas is the double-clicking color stops for the gradient.. don't do that.. click a stop once, and use the Color panel. Just because you can do something In Illustrator doesn't always mean the devs really intended that to be the proper workflow and devoted time to making it a fluid feature. The Color Picker is really just there so people don't complain about it not being there.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 12:15

1 Answer 1


The difference in behavior has to do with the fact that in your first example you have the Gradient Tool at work. In the other instances you simply have an object selected.

With the Gradient Tool at work. Then yes, the stroke/fill selector (what you called the foreground/ background tool which is more a Photoshop terminology) works as you like to change the color of whatever individual color stop of the gradient you have selected.

I find this quite unusual and not very intuitive- in fact I never even knew the Fill/ Stroke selector would work this way when using the Gradient Tool. Typically, I will just select the color stop I want to modify (in the Gradient Panel or on the Gradient Tool) to change that individual color from the Swatches or the Color Panel (as @Scott suggests).

In your second and third example you have an object selected- then the Fill/Stroke selector works exactly as expected. It will change your Gradient fill into a solid color fill if you double click it and choose a color from the pop up color picker.

So, you must be working on the gradient itself with the Gradient Tool to have the Fill/Stroke Selector work as you wish.

  • if you see my edit, both cases have gradient tool selected.
    – Vikas
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 4:50
  • To clarify @ Vikas- When you have the Gradient Annotator showing on screen (View>Show/Hide Gradient annotator) and a color stop chosen (in either the Annotator or the Gradient Panel) you get this different behavior- you get a single color in the Fill box which you can change as you have been by double clicking the fill box. Then go up to View>Hide Gradient Annotator and the Fill Box changes to show the entire Gradient. In this state when you change the color it changes the entire Fill to what ever your chosen color is- that is the different behavior that you are asking about in your question.
    – Kyle
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 6:10
  • yes I agree, but why is it happening that Gradient annotator is not showing in one case and in one case it is showing? Even when I've selected the same tools and color point. Just the objects are different.
    – Vikas
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 7:17
  • 1
    @Vikas For the most part you need to change how you think when working In Illustrator. Rather than defaulting to "Why isn't the app working". You should default to "What am I doing differently which is causing different behavior?" - for example.... "Just the objects are different." is a very telling statement.. the gradient annotator only works on some object, not all. And it only works if you are working on a fill. So.. if the annotator is not appearing.. you need to ask.. "What's different about these objects" rather than thinking the app is "broke" or "failing".
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 10:42
  • @Scott I realized this only after Kyle's last comment, that I could ask it this way.
    – Vikas
    Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 10:55

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