When Image Tracing an image, I like to control the amount of colours exactly. As far as I know, older versions allowed this with the 'Colors' slider, enabling me to pick exactly the amount of colours I want in the tracing result.

The newest version of Illustrator CC has significantly changed this behaviour. pIcking any amount of colours on the slider only has the faintest effect on the actually appearing colour amount. Even the preset called '6 colors' yields a trace with, judging by the information at the bottom of the window, 550 colours.

What gives? How can I strictly control the amount of colours again?

When I try the 'Document library' option to limit the colours to a folder of swatches in my Swatches palette, the function flatly refuses to do so and sticks with its ridiculous colour count.

an example of the Image Trace palette, showing a setting to 3 colours, and yielding 26 colours in the resuling trace.

2 Answers 2


Turns out this was a bug in Illustrator 27.1. Updating to version 27.1.1. fixed the problem with the amount of colours.

Forcing a set of swatches with 'Document Library' still doesn't work, though.


Good that you solved it.

Another option would be to posterize the image on Photoshop before importing it, so you have better control of the color zones.


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