I've got 280 .eps files with QR-codes that I data merge into InDesign. However, I need to change the black color into the company color. I can't find a way of doing this in InDesign directly, so I'm trying with Illustrator instead.

Sadly, I can't seem to create an action which does this for me. The files do not contain the required swatch, and I cannot get swatch loading to be recorded when I create an action, so when I try applying the color, I get an error "cannot find swatch".

What are my options? I don't really care how it's done, I just need to replace the black color with a specified Pantone.

  • What platform and version of Illustrator are you working with? It sounds like you will need to work with the scripting APIs to do what you want (Javascript, Applescript, depending on the platform). Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 8:50
  • I'm using CS4 on Windows 7, 32 bit.
    – carlpett
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 8:52

3 Answers 3


This is not possible as far as I know, since the book color isn't assignable without first being in the swatches palette. And sadly, Recolor > Recolor with Preset… > 1 color job isn't recordable either … for some obscure reason.

I'm not sure if this fits your bill, but one approach is to convert the PANTONE color to CMYK or ditto, which is farily easy (ask if you don't know how). Then, record a macro where you assign this CMYK color to the artwork.

I made a test using a sample QR-code .EPS file and it's set up to use a square background path (lowest position in the Layers menu). So, maybe first recording hiding or deleting this, so as not to recolor the whole image in one color.

Then, assuming your EPS'es are laid out the same way as mine, record selecting the topmost layer, then Select > Same > Fill color, and finally record assigning that selection with the brand (CMYK) color.

Here's the EPS sample I tried: http://ge.tt/9tWPFJ8

  • @carlpett: It seems hced is correct here. I looked into the scripting APIs and Illustrator doesn't offer access to the Pantone libraries to add the Pantone colors to the swatch (and so forth). Time to put in the iPod and tuck in for some work. Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 15:41
  • is there no way of copying all colours used in a doc to swatches?
    – e100
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 15:57

Maybe a bit late, but I think somebody can use this information for his/her advantage:

Basically eps is just a text file, so it's enough to find "part of text" defining the color and replace it with another. Repeating this for any number of files requires a trivial script or some good text editor with batch search & replace capabilities. Only thing required would be to check file itself and eps/ps specification how to do that.

  • I also wonder if the OP had thought to manually create the swatch in the action, rather than loading it. If not, why not?
    – horatio
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 18:43
  • @horatio: Hm, no I did not think of that. I'm not very good friends with Illustrator, so it probably didn't strike me that it could work. I'll try to remember it though, thanks!
    – carlpett
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 10:06
  • @thebodzio: Yes, it's a bit late unfortunatly. But good thing to have recorded.
    – carlpett
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 10:07
  • Sorry for being late, glad for being helpful :)
    – thebodzio
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 10:33

haven't been following the thread but, maybe someone as answered this already but: Edit > Edit Colors > Recolor Artwork, et voila!

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