I need to generate a PMS swatch chart for all current PMS colors to do print tests off large format printers. We have old charts but need a current one. I am hoping there is a way to generate this chart in Illustrator CC without having to manually make one

  • Are you asking about Pantone process colors? Or spot colors? If the latter, I don't know if this actually makes sense (as spot colors aren't printed with CMYK). – DA01 Aug 26 '14 at 16:03
  • Spot colors. Unfortunately, all printers print these colors differently. We print out large charts to compare color – Alyssa Aug 26 '14 at 18:08
  • Why are you using spot colors on a CMYK printer? That doesn't make sense. – DA01 Aug 26 '14 at 18:38
  • I, too am looking for this kind of solution to printing a color book. Have you found an answer? – user42372 Apr 15 '15 at 21:06
  • Use Adobe's ExtendScript toolkit to roll your own solution (or pay someone to do it). It's just javascript, nothing too terrible to work with. – plainclothes Apr 15 '15 at 22:36

Are you trying to have a physical swatch booklet? Then it would be better to go to Pantone website and buy from their industry standard swatch book.

If you are just needing to use it in your design in illustrator: Swatches panel > Open swatch library > Color Books and choose your desired PMS book of colors.

  • We have a physical swatch booklet. These are specifically for color tests. We need a chart with all current PMS swatches to run off of several large format printers, to compare color shifting. – Alyssa Aug 26 '14 at 18:10
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    @Alyssa there will always be color shifting because you can't print spot colors on a CMYK printer. Are customers giving you files with spot colors? – DA01 Aug 26 '14 at 18:39
  • If you're trying to compare color shifting, it would be better to compare it with the physical pantone swatch booklet. You can print off off from the large format printer and then compare it with the individual swatch on the pantone swatch booklet. If your pantone booklet is few years old, it means it doesn't accurately represent PMS anymore. – Nomadme Aug 26 '14 at 20:28

@DA01 I think you are missing the point. You are correct that spot colors can't be printed via a CMYK printer. The Pantone to CMYK values provided by illustrator swatches also don't always accurately match Pantone Book colors with what comes out of the printer.

The large format print solution to this problem is to print an entire CMYK pantone chart using the values provided in illustrator, and compare what the printer prints to the swatch book. 300C illustrator values may come off the printer looking more like the 302C in the book due to device profile limitations among other issues.

The point is that I can grab a book (which is the standard that the customer wants to see) and compare it to what the printer is actually printing. If the print color is off I can then use the printed chart to pick the printed color which more closely resembles the pantone color in the book, and use matching printed value in my file to compensate for shift, and inaccurate device profiles.

In the past Pantone has provided an printable .AI or .EPS file with current CMYK values for comparison, but this no longer seems to be available.

Unfortunately, the only solution I currently know of is to create your own file, or find a legacy file provided by pantone.


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