Can any raster format (JPG/TIF/PSD/PNG/etc) introduce swatches in InDesign when placed as a link?

There are 2 swatches in my INDD document that won't delete (i know its an old issue), and these did not get introduced via any of the vector (AI) links. Just asking if the possibility existed that these swatches got into ID from PS files, or looking for a way to trace these back to their source.

  • 1
    Yes and no. If the file contains new spot color inks they will be added. And a swatch for each ink will be added too.
    – Wolff
    Feb 11, 2017 at 9:34
  • You must have a very large document! You could open the "Separations Preview" panel, turn of the CMYK colors and scroll through your document to manually spot the spot colors.
    – Wolff
    Feb 13, 2017 at 16:08
  • About 100 pages with about 300 links, mostly raster files. I already tried what you're suggesting with no success. These swatches are not visible, not included in any links, but still, won't delete! :)
    – Lucian
    Feb 13, 2017 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


To find spot colors introduced by placed images do the following:

  • Open the Links panel.
  • In the menu in the upper right corner choose Panel Options.
  • Scroll down and find Swatches Used and check the Show Column checkbox.
  • Now you can see in the Linkspanel which images that contains which spot colors.

Swatches Used

If none of the placed images contain the undeletable swatches, there could be a bug in your document. Then you could do the following (a tip from Derek Turnbull at https://indesignsecrets.com/color-swatches-that-wont-delete.php):

  • Create an image containing the unwanted spot colors (make sure to choose colors with the exact same name).
  • Place the image in InDesign.
  • Remove the image again.
  • Now you should be able to delete the unwanted colors.
  • Thanks. This does answer the question, but still I need to dig around some more because the column is left absolutely empty for all ~300 links in my document.
    – Lucian
    Feb 13, 2017 at 16:29
  • Yikes! Too bad. Have you tried making a copy of your document where you first delete the last half of the pages. If the swatches disappear you know that the problem is in the last half, if not it is in the first half. Then continue this way - always deleting half of what is left. Does it make sense? This way (with 100 pages) it will take less than 8 tries to find the page with the bad image.
    – Wolff
    Feb 13, 2017 at 16:43
  • Actually i did find the solution at indesignsecrets.com/color-swatches-that-wont-delete.php See Derek's reply. It sounds bizzare, but it works! I just fixed this with his solution. You could add this to your own answer as an "if all else fails" solution.
    – Lucian
    Feb 13, 2017 at 16:48
  • In the end a hack fixed it :-). I'll add it.
    – Wolff
    Feb 13, 2017 at 16:49

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