If I have a text that I want to have the same color as an object I can't select the text and then use the eyedropper tool to get the color from a (for example) rectangle. The text will get the Fill correctly, but the text will still be black. This is because the Characters layer is above the Fill layer in Appearance. How can I use the eyedropper to change color on text?

I should add that the eyedropper works sometimes, but not all the time. Sometimes the fill ends upp under "Characters", thus the fill color isn't shown.

The text has gotten it's properties from the rectangle but is still black

  • Are you sure the layer you are trying to swatch is not a gradient? The only way you can apply gradients to text objects is by using graphic styles. If you try to swatch a gradient object it will do nothing.
    – cclark413
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 11:48
  • No, it's a plain CMYK color that I am trying to get. Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 12:13
  • Strange. It works for me: with the selection tool I click the text, then activate the eye dropper and click the rectangle. The text takes over the appearance of the rectangle (fill and stroke). You should check out your eyedropper options by double clicking the eyedropper tool. Mine are set as follows: i.sstatic.net/d4U7B.png Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 13:20

4 Answers 4


It's your Eyedropper settings. Double-click the Eyedropper tool to open the Eyedropper Settings. Uncheck the Appearance box under the, "Eyedropper Picks Up" column.

If you've been trying to sample colors before changing this setting, you may have to clear the appearance by clicking on the Appearance palette options and choosing the, "Clear Appearance" option.


Hm. I have no problem applying the colour from one layer to another. Sure your layer is not locked?


  • First, check what selection tool you are using to select text
  • Second, try clear appearance. Seems mine says "no appearance" for my text:

enter image description here

  • Third, try in another file
  • Fourth, restart

One way around this be to add the colour to your swatches, and/or make a swatch group. This would probably be the most sustainable thing. You can also choose all the colours used in one layer and make a group.

In one layer, select whatever coloured objects you need, go to the menu in the panel and select add new color group

enter image description here

This gives you a colour group you can use as you please:

enter image description here

  • thanks for the reply and your suggestion is a workaround. I still, however, don't get it why I can't just use the eyedropper? It's annoying to have to create color groups just because I want to make the text the same color as something else... Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 11:18
  • @HenrikEkblom There must be some setting you have that's not allowing you to change the colour straight from the eyedropper because I can just highlight my text in Illustrator and eyedrop a block of colour anywhere on my artboard and the text will take on that colour.
    – SaturnsEye
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 11:25
  • hm, ok. Might be some settings on the eyedropper itself that I have changed (accessed by double clicking the eyedropper icon)... Going to check it out. Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 12:13
  • Oh, one thing; if you have more layers; is it possible that there are some "transparent" object on top of the coloured block?
    – benteh
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 13:47
  • @HenrikEkblom it happens because type fills are different than standard fills. This is also why you can't apply a gradient fill directly to characters. It's just one of the thousands of little odd quirks about Illustrator. There's nothing you can do about it.
    – Scott
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 17:32

uhh.. i know this thread is old, really old... but because i just had the same problem, thought i'd share what i noticed, that also helped solve the prob for me.

make sure that the shape you're copying the color from is simply "filled", as in a solid/flat fill, instead of being colored via the gradient option (in the gradient bar it would be like 2 points with the same color, thus looking like a flat fill).

i suppose it's because it adds a "gradient" layer to the text, but somehow takes the "shape" property as well when you use the eyedropper, thus the color falls under the text/characters. if you try switching the places of character and fill, you'll see there's a black outline showing beneath the "colored text".

see image for better understanding. hope this would help others with the same prob x'D solid vs gradient fill


Step 1 : Write any text desired.

Step 2 : Draw any object such as rectangle or circle,fill it with the color you wish to put.

Step 3 : click on text

step 4: now go to eyedropper tool,click on it and then click on the colored object.

Thats it.

PS : right click open the image in new tab for better view.Thanks

enter image description here

  • It works most of the times, the problem is that sometimes does the fill color end up under the Character layer (in Appearance panel). Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 8:59
  • can i have such .ai or .eps file so that i can understand better.Can u upload one if possible.I will try to look into the problem.
    – roxid
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 9:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.