There must be something I'm missing. I created a handful of brand colors in one document and put them in a color group. I wanted to then use them in multiple documents.

Save swatch library: source EPS > Hamburger menu > Save Swatch Library as AI > x.ai

dest EPS > Hamburger menu > Open swatch library > user defined > x.ai >

Opens a window called x that is empty

Open current doc in swatch library: Dest eps > Hamburger > Open swatch library > Other Library > source EPS >

Nothing happens

Global swatches Nothing - checking that box does nothing

The only swatches each document has are the standard swatches. I really don't want to have to recreate these swatches every time I start a new document, yet everything online makes it sound like moving swatches between documents, or even having a set of default swatches when you open Illustrator, is easy peasy. I must be missing something fundamental.

Work Around I made some shapes and applied the swatches to those shapes, then copied and pasted the shapes into each new document so that the swatches showed up in the swatch panel and could be applied to elements therein. I was able to get my work done, but I'm still miffed with Illustrator and want to know what I was doing wrong.

  • 1
    Are your colors actually swatches? or just shapes on the artboard filled with colors? The colors must be actual Swatches to create/save a library. Just checking, I realize you posted they are a "Color Group" which is a Swatch Panel thing. (Global swatches are a different thing unrelated to saving/opening a library) -- Basic steps... 1) Add the colors you want to the Swatch Panel 2) Remove all the Swatches in the Swatch panel you don't want. 3) Save the Swatch Library. 4) New Document 5) Open saved Library. -- Do these steps still fail?
    – Scott
    Jan 11, 2023 at 21:46
  • @Scott - they are actual swatches (unless you view little square boxes filled with specific colors in the swatch panel that are not swatches but still can be applied to shapes on the artboard). Do I need to remove swatches? I really don't care if there is a set of primaries and gray swatches in there.
    – LadyCygnus
    Jan 11, 2023 at 21:58
  • 1
    No you don't have to remove swatches. It is just often helpful to have specific libraries not filled with the basic swatches as well. It is odd that the steps in the question (or my comment) aren't working for you. Have you tried the copy/paste to a new document for the shapes and then saving the Swatch library? At this point I'm thinking it's a "local" issue and related to the original document or a hiccup in AI itself. There's nothing I've seen universally where the steps in the Q would not work as expected. In other words, It's not you... it's AI.
    – Scott
    Jan 11, 2023 at 22:59
  • I wonder if having the swatches in a Color Group is causing the issue (possible bug in AI?)
    – Scott
    Jan 11, 2023 at 23:01
  • @Scott - thanks for your help. I treated it like a corrupted file by creating an empty new file, set it to have just the swatches I wanted, and then saved that as a swatch library. That worked perfectly. I really appreciated "it's not you" - AI is just different enough from InD (what I normally work in) that I was fearing I'd missed something basic.
    – LadyCygnus
    Jan 12, 2023 at 13:14

1 Answer 1


There is something wrong with these EPS files.

I was able to get it to work by creating an empty new file, set it to have just the swatches I wanted, and then saved that as a swatch library.

Side Note These eps files I'm editing also give me the following error when I try saving them as swatch libraries (the first time only, I didn't notice it the first time and it didn't appear in subsequent saves).

The document contains PDF objects that have been reinterpreted: To preserve appearance, some text has been outlined.

This is probably the fundamental thing I was missing.

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