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Applying color

Adobe InDesign gives you a variety of tools for applying color, including the Toolbox, Swatches panel, Color panel, Color Picker, and Controls panel.

When you apply a color, you can specify whether it is applied to the outline or fill of an object. In the contour is the border or frame of an object, while the filling whose background represents. When you apply a color to a text frame, you can determine whether you want the change in color to affect the text frame or the text within that frame.

  1. Select the object to be colored by doing one of the following:

    • For a path or frame, use the selection tool as needed. or the direct selection tool.
    • For a grayscale or monochrome (1-bit) image, click the Content Selection Tool or use the Direct Selection Tool. You can only apply two colors to a grayscale image or a single color image.
    • Use the type tool for text charactersto change the color of a single word or all of the text within a frame.

    To change the color of gaps in a dashed, dotted, or striped stroke, use the Strokes panel.

  2. In the Toolbox or in the Color or Swatches panel, choose Formatting Affects Text or Formatting Affects Borders to choose whether to apply color to the text or the text frame.

  3. In the Toolbox or in the Color or Swatches panel, select the Area or Stroke swatch to define the area or stroke of the object. (If an image is selected, the "Contour" field has no effect.)

    A. "Area" fieldB. Formatting affects framesC. "Contour" fieldD. Formatting affects text

  4. Do one of the following:

    • Choose a color, hue, or gradient from the Swatches panel or Gradient panel.
    • Choose a color, tint, or gradient from the Fill or Stroke menu in the Control panel.
    • Double-click the Area or Stroke swatch in the Toolbox or the Color panel to open the color picker. Select the color you want and click OK.

You can apply color to any grayscale image, as long as the images do not contain alpha or solid channels. When importing an image with a clipping path, select it with the direct selection tool to color just the clipped area.

You can use the color picker to choose colors from a color field or set them using numerical values. The RGB, HSB, LAB and CMYK color models are available for defining colors.

  1. Double-click the Fill or Stroke swatch in the Toolbox or the Color panel to open the color picker.

  2. You can change the color spectrum displayed in the color picker by clicking on one of the letters: R (red), G (green) or B (blue) or L (luminance), A (green-red axis) or B (blue -Yellow axis).

    A. Original colorB. New colourC. SwatchD. Color slider trianglesE. color range

  3. To define a color, do one of the following:

    • Click in the color field or drag the mouse pointer into the color field. The position of the color within the color field is indicated by a crosshair.
    • Drag the color slider triangles along the color spectrum or click in the color spectrum.
    • Enter values ​​in the text boxes.
  4. To save the color as a swatch, click Add CMYK Swatch, Add HSB Swatch, Add RGB Swatch, or Add LAB Swatch. The color is added to the Swatches panel. The name displayed in the control panel is made up of the color values ​​of the color.

The last used color or the last used gradient is displayed in the toolbox. You can apply this color or this gradient directly from the toolbox.

  1. Select the object or text that you want to assign a color.

  2. Depending on which part of the text or object you want to assign a color to, click the “Area” or “Outline” button in the toolbox.

  3. In the Toolbox, do one of the following:

    • Click the Apply Color buttonto apply the last fill color selected in the Swatches panel or the Colors panel.
    • Click the Apply Gradient buttonto apply the last gradient selected in the Swatches or Gradients panel.
    • Click the "None" buttonto remove the face or outline of the object.

  1. Select the text or object whose color you want to remove.

  2. Depending on which part of the text or object you want to change, click the “Area” or “Outline” button in the toolbox.

  3. Click the "None" button to remove the face or outline of the object.

You can easily apply colors or gradients by dragging them from a color source onto an object or panel. You can use drag and drop to apply color or gradients to objects without first selecting them. You can drag the following items:

  • The Area or Contour fields in the Toolbox or a control panel.

  • The history box in the history panel.

  • Swatches from the Swatches panel.

  • The most recently used color swatch in the gamut, located in a control panel next to the out of gamut warning icon is located.

You can drop colors or gradients on the following objects and panels:

  • Area or contour of a path. To drop color on an area or contour, position the drag icon exactly over the area or contour of the path while dragging a color and then release the mouse button.

  • Swatches panel.

You can drag and drop swatches from the Swatches panel or the color swatch next to an out of gamut icon to another InDesign document window. The swatches will be added to the Swatches panel for this document.

  1. Select with the selection tool a text or object frame or with the type tool a text area.

  2. If you don't see the Swatches panel, choose Window> Color> Swatches.

  3. In the Swatches panel, select the Fill or Stroke swatch.

  4. Do one of the following:

    • To apply color to selected text, click the Format Text button.

    • To apply color to a selected object or text frame (such as a frame or table), click the Format Frame or Object button.

  5. Click a color or gradient swatch. The selected color or gradient is applied to selected text or objects and is displayed in the Color panel and in the Fill or Stroke fields of the toolbox.

You can set the default colors for fills and strokes in the same way as other InDesign defaults. Click Edit> Deselect, and make sure that no objects are selected. Then choose a color.

Although the Swatches panel is best for working with color, you can also use the Color panel to mix colors. You can add the current color to the Swatches panel at any time in the Color panel. The Colors panel is especially useful for mixing untitled colors.

If you select an object that is currently assigned a named color swatch and edit that color with the Color panel, only that object's color changes. To edit the color for the entire document, double-click the associated color swatch in the Swatches panel.

Editing surface or outline colors

  1. Select the object or text that you want to change.

  2. If the Color panel isn't open, choose Window> Color.

  3. In the Color panel, select the Fill field or the Stroke field.

    A. "Area" fieldB. "Contour" fieldC. Formatting affects framesD. Formatting affects text

  4. When you have selected a text frame, select the "Frame" field or "text" to change the color of the area or the text inside the frame.
  5. Do one of the following:

    • Set the Hue slider that appears by default when the object uses a swatch in the Swatches panel.
    • Choose the LAB, CMYK, HSB, or RGB color model from the Color panel menu and use the sliders to change the color values. You can also enter numeric values ​​in the text boxes next to the color sliders.
    • Position the pointer over the color bar and click.
    • Double-click the Area or Contour field and choose a color from the color picker. Click OK".
  6. When an out of gamut warning symbol appears and you want to use the CMYK color values ​​that are closest to the color you originally specified, click the color box next to the icon.

  1. In the Color panel, make sure that the active Fill or Stroke box shows the color you want to add.

  2. Choose Add To Swatches from the panel menu.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • In the Color panel, Shift-click the color bar at the bottom of the panel.
    • In the New Color Swatch or Swatch Options dialog box, Shift-click the color swatch.
    • In the New Gradient Box or Gradient Options dialog box, choose a gradient slider, make sure the Slider Color menu is set to RGB, LAB, HSB, or CMYK, then Shift-click the color swatch.

You can extract color themes from selected areas, images, or objects in your InDesign document. You can also choose a color from an image, the entire image, or the entire layout. Basically, you can create color themes from any color in the artwork. Use the Color Palette tool to select a single color or theme, and to add a color palette to the Swatches panel.

Add these colors to the layout and the Swatches panel. You can also save them to your Creative Cloud Libraries.

  1. In the Tools panel, click the color setting. You can use the keyboard shortcut “I” to toggle between the color setting and the eyedropper.

  2. Click any part of the layout to choose a color. You can also use colors from any artwork in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or other files.

    The color is retained once selected with the color setting. After you have picked up colors, the previously recorded subject will be retained when you switch tools to do another operation, such as painting. For example, if you want to draw an object, then select the color setting again. The captured design is retained for reuse unless you press the Esc key to close the window. Pressing the Esc key will delete everything.

  3. Move the mouse to see areas that InDesign automatically highlights for you to create color designs. Click an area and InDesign will create a color theme.

  4. A color design consists of five different colors. Click the panel menu to view the other generated color options.

  5. A. Click to view all color themesB. Add current color theme to swatchesC. Save in current CC library

    A color design consists of five different colors. Click the panel menu (A in picture) to display the other options generated for the same color theme, such as Colorful, Light, Deep, and Muted.

    If you don't want the color theme to be generated, press the Esc key and try again, or press the Alt key to temporarily switch to selection mode and pick up a new theme.

    Shift-click to select a single (precise) color as the base color for the color theme. Color samples are generated based on Adobe Color rules: Analog, Monochromatic, Triad, Complementary, Linked, Shades.

  6. To apply the colors, you can select a single color in the color setting. Move the mouse pointer over the page element. The eyedropper tool is displayed half full. Click to change face or shape.

    When you move the pointer over text, the eyedropper tool changes to text. You can apply colors generated by the color extension to text.

  7. Double-click the color setting. The colors that have been selected and added to the swatches take into account the target medium so that they are automatically converted to the appropriate color space before they are added to the swatches or placed on other objects. Three options are provided to choose from:

    1. Convert according to document priority.
    2. Convert to CMYK.
    3. Convert to RGB.
  8. A. Click to view all color themesB. Add current color theme to swatchesC. Save in the current CC library

    Click B to add these colors to the Swatches panel. The color theme is added as a folder in the Swatches panel.

    Press Alt and click the Add Current Color Theme to Swatches button to add a specific color to the Swatches panel.

  9. Click this button. The design selected in the control panel is then saved in the control panel in the current CC Library in the “CC Libraries” control panel.

  10. You can apply color values ​​using the RGB hexadecimal code in the color picker or in the workflows for new swatches and for editing swatches. You can also apply color values ​​with RGB hexadecimal codes. There are three ways you can apply a hexadecimal color value:

    • Using the color picker in a new swatch: In the Swatches panel, click to expand the panel menu and choose New Swatch. In the New Color Swatch dialog box, under Color Mode, choose RGB.
      Click and hold the screen grabber and click anywhere on the screen to view the hexadecimal color value from other sources. Click Add to add the swatch.
    • Edit color swatch: You can also edit a color swatch and change its hexadecimal color value. Double-click a color swatch and choose RGB from the Color Mode drop-down list.
    • Color proxy: Double-click the color proxy in the Tools panel. You can choose the hexadecimal value here.

With the pipette tool you can add surface and contour attributes, e.g. For example, copy color from any object (including imported graphics) in an InDesign file. By default, all available area and contour attributes of an object are loaded in the Eyedropper tool and the standard area and contour attributes are set for all newly drawn objects. Use the Eyedropper Options dialog box to change the attributes that are copied with the Eyedropper tool. You can also use the Eyedropper tool to copy font and transparency attributes.

Attributes not listed in the Eyedropper Options dialog box cannot be copied using the Eyedropper tool.

Applying colors with the Eyedropper tool

  1. Select the objects whose surface and contour attributes you want to change.

  2. Choose the Eyedropper tool out.

  3. Click on any object whose area and contour attributes you want to copy.A loaded pipette appears and the selected objects are automatically updated based on the area and shape attributes of the object you clicked.

  4. To assign the same attributes to other objects, click on these objects with the loaded eyedropper. If an object is made up of contours rather than surfaces, click its contour.

Adding new attributes when the eyedropper tool is loaded

  1. Press Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) while using the Eyedropper tool is active. The eyedropper tool will now invert and empty displayed, d. that is, new attributes can be added.

  2. Continue to hold down Alt or Option, click an object with the attributes you want to copy, and then release the Alt or Option key to reassign the new attributes to another object.

Change the settings of the Eyedropper tool

  1. Double-click the Eyedropper tool in the toolbox.

  2. In the Area Settings and Contour Settings areas, select the attributes you want to copy with the eyedropper, and then click OK.

To include only the area or outline color of an object and no other attributes, Shift-click the object with the Eyedropper tool. If you apply the color to another object, depending on whether the "Area" or "Contour" field is on top in the toolbox, only the area or contour color is applied.

You can add color to a grayscale image placed in InDesign.

  1. Make sure the image is saved as a grayscale or bitmap image and in PSD, TIFF, BMP, or JPG format.

    In Photoshop, you can choose Image> Mode> Bitmap or Grayscale.

  2. Click the Content Selection Tool or use the Direct Selection Toolto select the picture.

  3. Choose a color from the Swatches panel or the Color panel.

An image in PSD format can contain multiple layers, but the bottom layer must be opaque. You can't apply color to a PSD image with a transparent background in InDesign. In addition, the grayscale image cannot contain any alpha or solid tone channels.

Color groups allow you to better organize your color designs and use commonly used swatches across applications. With color groups you can:

  • Organize swatches.
  • Load color groups from a project into Illustrator.

Adding color groups

  1. Click the color group icon in the Swatches panel to create a color group. Alternatively, you can create color groups using the panel menu or the context menu.

    • Enter the name of the color group.
    • Select the option to create the color group scheme:
      • Selected color fields: Select this option if you want to move the swatches into a color group at creation time. Hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Option (macOS) to select multiple swatches before choosing New Color Group. If no swatches are selected, an empty color group is created.
      • Selected page elements: The color swatches of the selected page elements or artwork are added to the color group created. This option is on by default when artwork is selected.

    To name the color group at creation time, use any option or hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) as you click the New Color Group button.

  2. You can drag multiple swatches from the root directory as well as from other color groups into the created color group.

  3. Right-click a color swatch to try other options. You can switch to the color group view and work intensively with color groups. Click the filter icon at the bottom of the panel and select Show Color Groups. This enables you to work intensively with color groups. Root level swatches and gradients are not displayed in this view.

Various operations for managing color groups

The following operations can be performed to manage color groups.

  • To add a color swatch to a color group: Select the color group. Select a color swatch and drag it onto the color group.
  • Duplicate color group: You can duplicate the color group using the corresponding option in the context menu or in the panel menu. Right-click a color group and select Duplicate Color Group. All color fields within the color group are duplicated along with the color group. Swatches in different color groups are not created with the same names to avoid confusion.
  • Ungroup a color group: You can resolve the color group using the corresponding option in the context menu or in the panel menu. Right-click a color group and select Ungroup Color Group. When ungrouped, all swatches within the group are moved to the root directory outside of the color group.
  • Rename color group: Color groups can be renamed using the “Color group options” option in the context / panel menu. Double-click a group to edit the color group name. You can also edit the color group in the control panel.
  • Delete color groups: Select a color group, right-click and choose Delete Color Group. Alternatively, you can select the color group and choose Delete Color Group from the panel menu.

When you delete a color group, all of the color swatches within the color group are deleted.

You can select page element artwork in the document and create a color set from the color swatches that are present in the page element. You can add swatches from the page elements to the color group.

  1. In the document, select Page Element (s).

  2. Choose New Color Group from the panel menu or the context menu.

  3. Select Selected Page Items in the New Color Group dialog box. If more than one swatch is selected in the Swatches panel, the default choice is Selected Swatches.

  4. Color groups work in all list views (name, name (small)) as well as in the grid views (small color field, large color field). Anything like creating color groups or dragging swatches can be done in the various views within the Swatches panel.

ASE files help import and export swatches through applications such as Adobe Illustrator. You can load ASE files to load color groups into the Swatches panel. Color groups can also be saved as ASE files from the Swatches panel menu. Similarly, color groups can be loaded into InDesign if they have been saved in Illustrator.

  1. Choose Load Swatches from the Swatches panel menu.

  2. Select the saved ASE file. Click on “Open”.

Save swatches

You can save a swatch or group of colors as an ASE file.

  1. Select the color group or swatch.

  2. Choose Save Swatches from the panel menu.

  3. Enter the name of the ASE file. Click on "Save".

You can use the Swatches panel to add designs from the Color panel as color groups in InDesign. The designs are created as a color group under the name of the design.

  1. Choose Window> Color.

  2. Select a design in the Browse window.

    You can export the design to InDesign using one of the following methods:

    • Click the arrow next to a design and choose Add To Swatches panel.
    • Click the Add Selected Design icon to import the design into the Swatches panel.
  3. You can also go to the Create in Color tab, select a rule from Select Rule and click the icon to add the design to the color box.

Support the old behavior

When you open a color group with .idml file information in previous versions, the Swatches panel displays a collapsed list of swatches with no color groups because color groups were not available in previous versions.