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The Color Panel in Adobe CS5 Illustrator

The Color panel in Adobe Creative Suite 5 (Adobe CS5) Illustrator offers an additional method for choosing color. To access the color panel, choose Window→Color. You must custom-pick a color using values on the color ramp. You see as a default only the color ramp — the large color well spanning the panel.

If you don’t see all color options, choose Show Options from the Color panel’s panel menu (click the triangle in the upper-right corner to access the panel menu).

If you ever want to create tints of a CMYK color but aren’t quite sure how to adjust individual color sliders, just hold down the Shift key while adjusting the color slider of any color. Then watch as all colors move to a relative position at the same time!

The panel menu offers many other choices. Even though you may be in RGB or CMYK color mode, you can still choose to build colors in Grayscale, RGB, HSB (Hue, Saturation, Brightness), CMYK, or Web Safe RGB.

Choosing Invert or Complement from the panel menu reverses the color of the selected object or changes it to a complementary color, respectively. You can also choose the Fill and Stroke color boxes in the upper left corner of the Color panel.

Different color models are available in the Color panel.
Different color models are available in the Color panel.

You see the infamous cube-and-exclamation-point in the Color panels in most Adobe software. The cube warns you that the color you’ve selected isn’t one of the 216 nondithering, web-safe colors, and the exclamation point warns you that your color isn’t within the CMYK print gamut.

In other words, if you see the exclamation point in the Color panel, don’t expect the cool electric blue you see onscreen to print correctly — it may print as dark purple!

Click the cube or exclamation point symbols when you see them to select the closet color in the Web safe or CMYK color gamut.

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