When using Adobe Illustrator, how do I preview my changes when I'm using the color picker to change the color of an element?

Picking the color of an element is dependent on what's around it, so I'd like to see my color changes as I'm making them rather than having to click apply every time I'd like to see my work.

*Bonus points if you also know how to remove the outline that appears when an element is selected during this process. [That also interferes with choosing the correct color]

2 Answers 2


Select the art and choose Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork and play to your heart's content.

To hide the selection edges, simply choose View > Hide Edges. However, if you use Recolor Artwork the edges automatically get hidden when that dialog is open.

  • This doesn't preview anything. You still can't see the color change until you apply it. Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 14:18
  • @KingOfHypocrites no clue what your'e going on about. It previews just fine here.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 22:19
  • Then go back in time to March when I made the comment and see if you can reproduce the issue with the build of Adobe Creative Cloud I was using. Nothing was updating until applying it. That's why I wrote the comment. I think it's clear what I'm going on about. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 22:23
  • I realize it's an old comment :) Thread was bumped today. But recolor art has always previewed colors here since it was implemented in CS4 without the need to "apply" them.
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 22:25
  • Hard to say at this point but I am sure the feature by design works as you describe, although it wasn't working for me at the time for whatever reason. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 22:28

You'll want to use a global swatch.

  1. Select your object
  2. Drag its fill colour from the toolbar into the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches)
  3. Double-click the swatch
  4. Check the Global checkmark
  5. Check the Preview checkmark
  6. Choose your Color Mode of choice
  7. Color pick away.

For the bonus points, to hide your selection lines, hit Control/Option+H or choose View > Hide Edges.

  • This method doesn't allow you to use the usual Color picker, but only gives three sliders to adjust with?
    – o01
    Commented Nov 8, 2020 at 20:05
  • @o01 Be aware that the colour picker is inaccurate, as opposed to the Color panel (which the 'three sliders' are lifted from).
    – Vincent
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 15:05
  • 1
    Here in the future of 2021, this seems to still be the case. Color picker: no preview. Recolor Object: cumbersome but does preview and is sort of like the Color picker. Swatch manipulation: cumbersome, and uses 3 of 1-dimensional controls, instead of 1+2 in the pickers' models. :( Commented Nov 10, 2021 at 19:21

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