I use a mixture of InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator to produce the vast amount of printed media I design at my current position and I find myself faced with copy/pasting color values from one program to another almost all the time, I have tried to find a quicker way but have been unsuccessful. I use a program called Colorpic to copy and store my most used colors, but still, it's not the same as being able to select it from the swatches palette in Adobe CS.

So the main meat of the question is:

Can I share my colors/swatches between InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator and if so, how?

1 Answer 1


Actually, this is fairly straightforward. I'll give you the steps to save swatches in Photoshop for Illustrator / InDesign, but it works pretty much the same way in any direction.

In the Swatches palette, click the top-right menu and select "Save Swatches for Exchange". Save your file somewhere you can find it. In Illustrator, go to the Swatches palette, click on the top right menu, select "Open Swatch Library" and then select "Other Library...". Navigate to where you left your swatches file and it'll open up in Illustrator.

I like to keep stuff organized by client / project; that way I'm not trying to remember which palette I used for which client. So I'll have a palette for "ABC Software Company" and one for "Project Arcturus".

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    Actually that's really really easy.. How did I miss that? Why couldn't I find this elsewhere on the internet? This is why I like the SE family of sites. I work only in one company so I'd only need a couple of palettes, but for freelance work I'll definitely use many! Thank you, Catcher of Lawn Darts :D
    – Kyle
    Feb 16, 2011 at 12:56
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    wow, that was the most staggeringly useful tip I've seen in a month. thank you! Feb 16, 2011 at 13:58
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    Another useful tip if you're always working with the same palette in Illustrator (in CS4): load the palette, and in that swatch palette's window, in the top right menu, click 'Persistent' so it loads each time Illy loads. I set up my colour scheme so everything is one swatch group, so then, to put it in the main swatch palette, I just need to double click that 'persistent' group once. (hopefully in more recent versions you don't even need to do this...?) May 18, 2012 at 16:11

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