I am looking for help solving the issue of Adobe Illustrator automatically assigning a color to a layer every time one creates a new one. I am aware that...

  1. This is part of the core code of Adobe Illustrator.
  2. That I can change it manually by double clicking a layer and changing the color in 'layer options'.
  3. That Illustrator randomly assigns a new color in a pre determined sequence.
  4. That some people aren't bothered by this, and yet, I'm not the only one. See: Illustrator: Disabling random layer colors?

My hope was that someone out there might have a new perspective on this issue and a clever fix. If not, no worries, carry on.

(Clarified for the sarcasm challenged)

  • 4
    In spite of your threats... it can't be done. In order to remove the layer highlight colors you need to alter the core code base of the app. A script isn't ever going to do that. And really, this is a temper tantrum of a question. Stop whining and just change it from yellow when needed. The yellow highlight is a very valuable color to thousands of users. You are not special™.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 3:34
  • You can change the color for that particular layer, you just can not change the predefined list and the color that gets auto generated. Is changing the color for the layer your question or how to ensure adobe never changes color to yellow automatically. The former can be done the later is hard coded. Contact Adobe and request a feature. Be warned Adobe insnt really nimble or user friendly when it comes to customizing stuff. Sometimes the problems get so bad i wonder why i use tham at all, until i remeber there is really no competition. There is not much you can do atleast legaly.
    – joojaa
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 8:30
  • @joojaa I'll contact them but won't hold my breath. As someone who does his UI wire framing via illustrator with hundreds of layers this becomes a huge pain in the ass. I think we're in agreement that it is bad UX to not allow the user to choose the assignment. Oh well. Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 16:35
  • @Scott I created the script to change labels more than year ago. .. ...
    – Ilan
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 17:07
  • 1
    @Ilan you can change the color assignments yes.. but you can't change the colors which are available -- in other words you can't remove yellow from the list of colors.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


You can't create an Illustrator script which alters the core code base of the application. Essentially, that is what would be required to remove a color or otherwise alter the list of available layer highlight colors in Illustrator. So what you are seeking is impossible, even for a script.
Okay, you could write some malware script to alter applications, but that's a different matter entirely.

Over the years tons of users have suggested the yellow be removed. And really, just as many have wanted to keep it. It has also been suggested often that users be allowed to alter that list. But if you think about it, what alteration would there be other than to NOT use a specific color? I mean the list has a wide range of colors already and it allows you to select a custom color if you desire. So, I speculate that Adobe doesn't feel the ability to change the default list of colors is an area worthy of development time and money. I kind of agree with them on that. You can choose the color assignment. You just can't alter the fact that it uses the next color for the next layer created.

For my money I find black a much worse highlight color than yellow will ever dream of being. I have always found yellow exceptionally useful when working on "darker" files. So I personally don't get the witch hunt against the yellow. It's no better or worse than any other color (except it's better than black) and depends upon the color of the artwork being worked on.

If you wish to use one color for all layers, or even just change the highlight color for several layers to be common, you can do that easily. Just highlight all the layers in the Layers Panel then choose Options for Selection from the Layer Panel Menu.

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You can then pick a color and all highlighted layers will change to that highlight color.

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That's about as good as you are going to get.

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