Apologies for the term "rogue" document, by that I mean a pdf file that has been downloaded (not created by myself first), then opened in Illustrator.

The problem I'm getting is that when I try to open up the colour swatches from the top left, I get nothing but none or registration black as fill choices:

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Is there a way to load my standard pallet back in this document or have certain setting disabled this?

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At least most of the default swatches are in the swatch libraries. Select the options in the top right of the swatches panel, and choose Open Swatch Library > Default Swatches > Basic RGB. There's other sets in there, choose the ones you think fit best.

Swatches are stored within the document. If a document doesn't have any swatches (to save disk space, for example), Illustrator won't display any. If you want access to your default swatches all the time, open them up as a separate panel and dock that somewhere in your workspace.

  • I understand I can get the swatches up this way but why have they vanished from the "quick swatch" section up the top left? I've had this happen so many times when altering pdf's and it gets a little frustrating. – SaturnsEye Jul 29 '14 at 10:25
  • Ah thank you! that's the reason why then. So the top left set of swatches are what's set in the document itself. It all makes sense now :) – SaturnsEye Jul 29 '14 at 10:29

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